For organizations to truly succeed in attracting and retaining diverse workers they must have workplaces that are welcoming and inclusive to all.  They need to be equipped with an understanding of how to effectively connect and attract members of diversity groups. 

Leadership is key to transforming an organization to a truly welcoming and inclusive work environment. The leader’s actions encourage employees to support and practice the new types of behavior.  There is no substitute for leaders rolling up their sleeves, getting personally involved and modeling the desired attitudes and behaviours. 

The actions that a leader can take to chart the course to success are:  

1) State the issue and identify the benefits

Ask: Why is this is the right time for becoming a more diverse and welcoming workplace? What risks does your company face by not taking action? What you could gain from taking action? Build a case for diversity that fits your company. Use it to give insight into the issues, the solutions, the risks, and how change will benefit the company. Use the Building a Business Case for Diversity Template provided in this toolkit to build your business case.

Some of the benefits you’ll likely identify are:

  • To become the employer of choice in your community
  • To attract employees with new talent and experience
  • To build a more creative company
  • To support your company’s values
  • To relate better with customers
  • To gain access to new markets and diverse clients
  • To meet legal responsibilities

2) Take the pulse of your organization

By understanding where your organization currently is in terms of inclusion, you’ll be better able to set clear and concise goals about what you want to achieve. It is important to look at where you are, where you want to go, and how you’ll know when you’ve arrived. 

Use the Diversity Assessment Tool to help you identify the elements that you need to concentrate on, and where to find the resources you need, on the road to becoming a truly welcoming and inclusive workplace. Work your way through this tool until you can answer yes to all the questions. 

Use an employee survey to gather thoughts and feedback from your employees.  You’ll find more on this in the Employees Pillar.

3) Make becoming a welcoming and inclusive workplace meaningful

People go to extraordinary lengths for causes they believe in.  Creating a powerful story for the transformation and letting people know how it will affect the company and themselves will help them believe in the effort and build buy-in.  Develop a diversity statement and include diversity in your strategic goals.

4) Use the diverse knowledge, thinking, and talent of employees to achieve the organization’s goals 
Involve employees, assign someone to spearhead the initiative, provide the necessary information and resources, give people the authority to act and celebrate successes. 

Information, tools and resources to help engage employees in becoming a truly welcoming and inclusive work environment are provided in the Employees Pillar.

5) Remove discriminatory or less than inclusive hiring practices
This is critical to building diverse and inclusive workplaces.  Reviewing your company’s HR policies and practices with a diversity lens will help identify those recruitment and selection practices that inadvertently create barriers to diversity.   Areas most often in need of attention include broadening recruitment efforts and reducing bias in the selection process

Information and resources to ensure fair and inclusive hiring practices are provided in the Hiring Practices Pillar.

6) Access resources and supports
For organizations to succeed in building a diverse workplace that is truly welcoming and inclusive they must be equipped with an understanding of how to connect with and support traditionally undervalued groups. 

The many community groups, organizations and programs that are available to help your organization connect and attract members of diversity groups can be found in the Partnership Pillar.




Value Statement

Strategic Goals

Company Practices


Relevant Laws