I am one of few people of colour in my company. My director has requested that I spearhead our company’s EDI initiative which involves hiring and managing an EDI consultant. I understand why they’ve asked me to do this work, but I feel uncomfortable being put in this position. Plus, I’ve already got a full plate and I’m not getting any additional compensation for the work. How should I approach my director about this?
THE ANSWER FROM CARINE LACROIX:
I understand where you’re coming from and assume the intent of your director to be genuine. Your lack of comfort might simply be the result of confusion and/or misunderstanding about EDI that exist today.
These things impact how we view and define diversity, how we explain the ‘lack’ of diversity in an organization and how we optimize inclusion for all workers in the workplace.
Therefore, depending on our world view about EDI, we can either:
– Be empowered or disempowered when asked to spearhead an EDI initiative.
– ‘Do good’ or ‘do harm’ when implementing the program.
– Have an increase in employee engagement or an increase in employee disengagement by the end of the initiative.
A good and lawful EDI program helps people flourish, increases employee engagement and embodies the Common Law principles of ‘Do no harm to others’ and ‘Take responsibility.’
During this challenging era, it’s more important than ever to see strong leadership in organizations so everyone realizes how diverse we all are and how everyone matters for an organization to thrive.
Here is what I suggest: embrace the opportunity and work with a consultant who will focus on bringing people together, as opposed to dividing them. Also, know that this isn’t something to do in your spare time; hence, ask your employer to free you from other tasks and/or pay you extra.
Finally, see this as an opportunity to implement the right EDI initiative in your organization – one that empowers, unifies, and inspires everyone.