Diversity and Inclusivity: Fundamental Values in Business

· Blog

The issues of equity, diversity, and inclusivity have never been more present in social discourse. Work environments strive to be more representative of the community and to adapt their internal policies, focusing on equality and integration.

It goes hand in hand with a universal awareness fostered by movements condemning inequalities, systemic racism, and discrimination. In all professional spheres, the resulting social transformations require an updated approach.

Far more than a passing trend, equity, diversity, and inclusivity are assets and fundamental values in business.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity in the Workplace

The concept is not new, and in Canada, laws have existed for nearly 30 years. 1996, the Federal Employment Equity Program was created due to the Employment Equity Act, which was suspended in 1995.

In Quebec, the Pay Equity Act was adopted in 1996. In 2000, the provincial government implemented the Act Respecting Equal Access to Employment in Public Bodies.

These notions already had relative importance a decade ago. According to a study conducted by Deloitte in 2014, “nearly half of Canadian businesses have invested in strategic diversity and inclusion practices (beyond compliance) over the past five years, indicating increased interest in this regard and the importance attributed to diversity and inclusion.”1

Similarly, the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion surveyed business managers in 2019. The study indicates “that most senior executives (95%) believe diversity is a business strategy that positively contributes to innovation, creativity, and problem-solving.”2

This trend has intensified in recent years, propelled by social upheavals caused by the pandemic and various advocacy movements.

A group of young professionals sit face to face at a table and represent diversity and inclusivity.

Moreover, younger generations are more inclined to seek out openly diverse, equitable, and inclusive professional environments. A recent Deloitte and Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative report supports this.

The report specifies that millennials born between 1980 and 1995 will represent 75% of the workforce by 2025.3 This group considers inclusivity values in business essential, and it is even a predominant factor in their choice of employers.

Definition of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity

Equity, diversity, and inclusivity (or EDI) constitute a set of strategies and actions leading to creating and maintaining an equitable corporate culture.


Equity means recognizing needs and inequalities and the fair treatment that follows. Starting opportunities and realities differ from one group to another. By making the same opportunities and resources accessible to underrepresented communities, better equality of opportunity is offered to them.


This refers to the recognition and valorization of the plurality of identities and backgrounds of communities, including underrepresented groups.

Diversity can be visible or invisible and applies to genders, racialized groups, Indigenous peoples, LGBTQ2+ community members, and people with disabilities. Age, sexual orientation, language, and other factors may also be considered.


Being inclusive involves making a conscious choice to create and implement strategies that encourage a sense of belonging and values of respect and authenticity so that all members of an organization feel valued and have access to the same opportunities.

The Basis of a Positive Corporate Culture

Equity, diversity, and inclusivity are fundamental to establishing a healthy and positive corporate culture.

While enhancing the sense of belonging, EDI enables better engagement and team commitment and increases the feeling of physical and psychological safety within the company.

A mix of people at work broadens horizons and the variety of talents. Diversity allows for exploring different viewpoints, both an added value and a competitive advantage. The plurality of experiences and identities benefits an organization as it promotes learning, awareness, and a sense of solidarity.

A group of young professionals sit side-by-side across a table, representing diversity and inclusivity.

While reinforcing the integration and fulfillment of underrepresented groups, these valorization efforts yield positive results ranging from performance improvement to talent retention, thereby demonstrating the adaptability and innovation capabilities of the company.

Strategies in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity

In recent years, several companies have developed an EDI strategy. A quick search on the Internet will reveal the actions and commitments of many establishments in this regard.

More and more organizations have even created management or advisory positions specifically dedicated to EDI.

How to proceed with the design and implementation of a strategy?

Get informed! Documentation is the basis of any strategy. But beyond the research necessary for the design of a plan, it is essential to directly involve underrepresented communities and incorporate them into decision-making processes and establish these strategies.

Start with a vision statement and analyze your current practices. A diagnosis will help you better understand staff needs, determine which actions to prioritize and establish objectives.

Depending on the size and type of your business, you can create equal access and integration programs and policies to promote the hiring, retention, and advancement of diverse individuals.

Raise awareness among workers by offering resources, learning and development activities, information sessions, training, and support groups, all to encourage inclusive behaviours and work methods.

A group of young professionals in a meeting, standing and sitting around a table representing diversity and inclusivity.

Advocate for tangible, achievable commitments and provide progress indicators to verify the effectiveness of your interventions.

By promoting a culture of transparency, exchange, and integration at each stage of your approach, you will take another step toward promoting an inclusive work structure.

Diversity and Inclusivity in Public Relations

It is not enough for public relations agencies to be representative of diversity internally. They must also balance the strategies, messages, and images used externally.

Public relations agencies must deal with several challenges in EDI, from supporting some underrepresented communities in their campaigns to adapting communication strategies to gender-neutral writing.

The choice of words is always crucial. More and more organizations are adopting inclusive terminology in their communications, allowing for a more accurate and less discriminatory representation of social diversity.

A more accurate understanding of audiences also allows for delivering messages that align with their values and issues, thus generating better engagement. You may even attract new clients by creating inclusive campaigns free from biases and stereotypes and closer to the realities of diverse groups!

Moreover, training programs, conferences, coaching, and even certifications are now applied to public relations regarding EDI.

Far more than just a trend, EDI is a collective responsibility and a fundamental component in all professional spheres.

Do you have what it takes to become an inspiration to other companies in terms of equity, diversity, and inclusivity?