There are many reasons why organizations only talk about offering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) sessions for their employees but don’t actually do so. Delivering all-day workshops or even one-hour seminars on a regular basis is imperative now more than ever before because diversity is now a fact in many workplaces, especially in major Canadian cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
Increased cultural understanding and awareness can help employees better appreciate different cultures, contexts, and perspectives. Here are several reasons why many businesses are reluctant to offer Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion sessions.
- Lack of buy-in from the top decision-makers: If the upper management does not view DEI as an investment, then it can be very difficult to attain sufficient resources and support required to provide DEI sessions.
- Limited resources: Providing DEI workshops or seminars requires capital, time, and resources. Some companies may not have the efficient budget, or the support required to provide regular DEI sessions.
- Lack of understanding: A large number of organizations may not be aware of the importance of DEI or the many benefits that can arise from regular training.
- Uncertainty about where to start: For businesses that are just beginning to initiate DEI, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin or how to design, or even whom to hire as a trainer.
- Lack of expertise: An effective session on diversity, equity, and inclusion requires specialized knowledge and expertise. Many organizations may not have the internal expertise to develop and deliver high-quality DEI sessions.
- Anxiety of discomfort or push-back: A large number of organizations may be reluctant to provide regular DEI sessions out of concern that some employees may become uncomfortable or totally resist the message being presented.
- Limited accountability: Organizations may not have an accountability mechanism to ensure that DEI sessions are being provided and are effective.
- Not necessary: Some decision-makers think that each employee of their company seems to get along well, therefore, this is not important right now.
Given that the average workforce in North America is becoming more culturally diverse, excuses of any type may not be compelling. The implementation of DEI must be seen as an investment that can help organizations create a more inclusive and equitable work environment. As well, as foster a more inclusive workplace culture, improve team collaboration, attract and retain diverse talent, and ultimately improve organizational performance.