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Big Ideas in IDEA

CCDI Consulting's Monthly Newsletter for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility.

November 2023

Welcome to the November issue of Big Ideas in IDEA, CCDI Consulting's monthly newsletter dedicated to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility. At CCDI Consulting, our commitment to fostering a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workforce is more than just words on a page - it's at the heart of our culture and how we assist Canadian organizations on their IDEA journey.

In this edition, you will discover the transformative power of self-directed learning in the IDEA space and how it can equip you to create more inclusive workplaces. Delve into the often-overlooked history of race and colonialism in Canada and explore its profound implications for our society and workplaces. Additionally, you'll gain valuable insights into the significance of inclusive hiring practices and strategies aimed at attracting and retaining a diverse talent pool.

And for those who missed our latest 2023 webinar, don't worry – we've got the recording available, along with the references, resource lists, and podcasts for you to explore.

We also have an IDEA Poll on how you prefer to learn and engage with IDEA topics. Your input matters, so be sure to cast your vote! 

Remember, your journey into IDEA learning is a crucial part of creating a more inclusive world, and we're here to support and inspire you along the way. We hope you find inspiration and enlightenment in this edition as we collectively work towards a more inclusive and equitable Canada.

Lisa Rogers,
Director, Marketing and Sales

The Value Add of IDEA Learning for Individuals

Does your organization roll out Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility training? If so, are you still left with questions or problems you don’t know how to address?

Self-directed learning in the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) space is a powerful tool to help individuals equip themselves on how to address problems and create more inclusive environments in the workplace. With the ever-changing work environment, learning needs to become more and more embedded in your workflow or have the flexibility to adjust to your workload. Ensuring IDEA-focused learning is incorporated into all forms of learning, including self-directed learning, is vital in implementing IDEA values and strategies in business development.  

Self-directed learning is a strategy that allows the learners to take charge of their own learning process. The key to a successful self-directed learning experience is initiative. It requires your commitment and critical self-analysis to diagnose issues, identify goals, select strategies and evaluate themselves in the learning process. This strategy is vital for on-the-job learning for organizations and those navigating the workplace. 

There are many benefits to this style of learning. We are inundated with information today; self-directed learning can help cut out the noise. You can curate the most updated and relevant learning content that fits your needs and interests. Self-directed learning provides more concentrated materials, which makes it easier to find practical tools and strategies to address workplace issues today rather than cutting through the many theories and outdated references to attempt to create your own solutions with little support.  

Here are a few tips to start your journey off to bring value to your organization and take charge of your self-directed learning: 

  1. Find relevant topics that you are interested in or invested in. 
  2. Ensure you know what the problem is before trying to solve it. 
  3. Make your tasks and goals small, or find external structures to support you. 
  4. Establish date markers to keep yourself accountable. 
  5. Find friends with similar goals to brainstorm with and stay accountable to. 
  6. Remember the importance of IDEA learning in your workplace and life. 

Individual learning is essential to IDEA development in organizations; it is an incredible value add that is often underutilized. Between busy workloads, adapting to an ever-changing market and other learning obligations, it is hard for organizations to create adaptable IDEA learning to address all employees' needs and issues. And very few organizations understand the value of IDEA learning to their business goals. This is why individual IDEA learning is essential to create champions within organizations to help drive IDEA embedment in business development. 

Fundamentally, personal learning also feeds into allyship. Through knowledge, we can identify our own biases, learn to utilize our privilege, and learn inclusive strategies. Ultimately, through self-education, you can reduce the burden of the marginalized to educate those around them on their own knowledge gaps. Ensure your journey into Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility dis-illudes the misinformation out there on minority groups, their issues and what true equity is. Use your platform, privilege, and access to this space to inform yourself and those around you.  

It is important to note this learning strategy cannot stand alone; it is a complementary pairing to many traditional work learning strategies, as there are still benefits to more collaborative methods and consistent messaging within organizational learning. You can be a champion of IDEA for your organization, and you can learn and improve within your sphere of influence, but to ensure your organization is moving together towards a better, safer and more inclusive workplace, you need to combine collective learning.  

When searching for individual learning that fits your needs and workstyle, have you considered CCDI Consulting’s DEI for Individuals? We have eLearning modules on specific IDEA topics to expand your awareness and tools so that you can pace your experience for yourself. Or, if you are looking for an external structure with flexibility, consider one of the many Open Enrollment Workshops. You can take a workshop on a specific topic to learn practical tools and strategies or take a tailored learning pathway of workshops to better prepare yourself for IDEA implementation in the workplace and receive a certificate. You can access our eLearning modules at any time, with new topics being released throughout the year or participate in one of our many workshops offered multiple times throughout the year. Furthermore, we have many resources to access for alternative learning opportunities to start off your IDEA learning journey.  

Self-directed learning is a key concept in sustainable lifelong learning. IDEA knowledge is a lifelong learning commitment as the world around us constantly changes, and inclusion becomes more and more vital. If you are interested in learning more about Individual IDEA learning, please ensure you watch our webinar on the topic. This webinar covers navigating research and how to take on self-directed learning effectively. It also covers understanding your role as a learner in your organization, how to act as a change agent, and ultimately acquiring the tools needed to influence change. View the webinar here.

Good luck on your IDEA learning journey. We hope you consider using self-directed learning approaches to support your organizations. Please consider CCDI Consulting as a resource to explore when mapping your learning pathways.  

Navigating the Past: The History of Race and Colonialism in Canada

 As an Afro-Indigenous Angolan immigrant, I embarked on a self-education journey to learn about Canada's history of race and colonialism. Surprisingly, I discovered a history filled with complex narratives, one that many of us have not been exposed to in our academic journeys. I found that this history is not only essential for our personal understanding but also crucial for the workplace. In the spirit of my journey, let's delve into the history of race and colonialism in Canada, highlighting its importance and its profound implications for businesses and individuals in the pursuit of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

Canada's history is often portrayed as a tapestry of diversity and multiculturalism, and it is indeed a place that prides itself on these values. However, beneath the surface, a deeper history of race and colonialism reveals the profound and often uncomfortable truths that have shaped our nation. From the colonization of Indigenous territories to the brutal legacy of the residential school system, Canada's past is marked by the systematic oppression of racial and ethnic groups. 

One of the most glaring chapters in this history is the treatment of Indigenous peoples. European settlers arrived in Canada, claiming land that was already inhabited by a diverse range of Indigenous cultures. The subsequent colonization involved land theft, forced assimilation, and cultural suppression. The horrors of the residential school system, where Indigenous children were forcibly separated from their families and subjected to abuse, are a stain on Canada's history. It is crucial to acknowledge this history, as it has lasting impacts on Indigenous communities and their participation in the workforce.  

Canada's history also includes the experiences of Black Canadians. The transatlantic slave trade brought people of African descent to Canada, where they faced systemic discrimination, segregation, and exclusion from various aspects of society. This history left a legacy of racial inequality that still influences the experiences of Black Canadians today.  

Now, you might be wondering, what does this have to do with the business world? The answer is quite a lot. Understanding the history of race and colonialism is a crucial aspect of fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

Through historical workshops and educational programs, organizations can help uncover the hidden history of Canada's diverse communities, providing a foundation for building more inclusive workplaces. Workshops that are tailored to suit various organizational needs and become a key part of the organization’s strategic priorities can demonstrate an employer’s commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.  

Why is it essential for senior managers and HR/DEI professionals to invest in these programs? The answer lies in creating a more inclusive workplace culture. An understanding of the historical roots of racial and ethnic disparities helps employers recognize the systemic barriers that may still exist within their organizations. This awareness is the first step towards dismantling those barriers and fostering a more inclusive work environment. 

For individual Canadians who are aware of the value of diversity and inclusion, this knowledge is a powerful tool. By investing in your own self-development, you can take the lead in promoting positive change within your organization. You can become a bridge between awareness and action, influencing decision-makers to implement programs that break down the structural inequalities still present in the workplace. 

To begin your journey into the history of race and colonialism in Canada, there are several resources available. The Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) offers a wide range of resources and educational programs designed to equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to address these issues.  

Additionally, organizations like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) provide a wealth of information about Canada's history, particularly about the treatment of Indigenous peoples.  

Now that you understand the importance of the history of race and colonialism in Canada and its implications for the workplace, it's time to act. Whether you're a senior manager, HR/DEI professional, or an individual committed to fostering diversity and inclusion, your journey begins with education.  

My personal journey as an Afro-Indigenous Angolan immigrant in Canada has shown me the transformative power of understanding the history of race and colonialism. It can potentially drive change in our hearts and minds and our workplaces and communities. Embrace this knowledge and take the first step towards a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive Canada.

Contact CCDI Consulting at to explore services which can assist your organization in creating a more inclusive environment. Start the conversation about bringing historical awareness to your workplace and help Canada's history pave the way for a more equitable future.   

Inclusive Hiring Practices: Attracting and Retaining Diverse Talent

In today's rapidly changing and diverse workforce, organizations that prioritize inclusive hiring practices are better positioned to thrive. Attracting and retaining diverse talent is not just a moral imperative but also a strategic advantage. Companies that embrace diversity and inclusion not only reflect the society they serve but also benefit from a wider range of perspectives, increased innovation, and improved employee morale. In this article, we delve into the importance of inclusive hiring practices, the challenges that organizations may face, and actionable strategies for attracting and retaining diverse talent. 

The Business Case for Inclusive Hiring

To understand the significance of inclusive hiring practices, it's essential to grasp the compelling business case behind them. A diverse workforce brings numerous advantages to organizations, including: 

  1. Enhanced Creativity and Innovation: Diverse teams are more likely to generate innovative ideas and solutions. Different perspectives foster creativity and help organizations adapt to changing markets. 
  2. Improved Problem-Solving: Diverse teams offer a broader range of experiences and viewpoints, making them better equipped to tackle complex challenges and make informed decisions. 
  3. Enhanced Reputation: Companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion tend to have a better public image, attracting both customers and employees who share those values. 
  4. Expanded Market Reach: A diverse workforce can better connect with a diverse customer base, improving customer engagement and market penetration. 
  5. Higher Employee Engagement: When employees see that their organizations value diversity and provide opportunities for all, they are more engaged and committed to their work. 

Challenges to Inclusive Hiring

While the benefits of inclusive hiring are clear, organizations often face several challenges when trying to attract and retain diverse talent: 

  1. Unconscious Bias: Unconscious biases can affect decision-making at every stage of the hiring process, from resume screening to interviews. These biases can inadvertently favour certain groups and hinder diversity efforts. 
  2. Lack of Representation: A lack of diversity among existing staff can create an environment that feels unwelcoming to underrepresented groups, making it difficult to attract diverse talent. 
  3. Ineffective Recruitment Strategies: Traditional recruitment methods may not reach a wide range of candidates. If job postings are not inclusive and accessible, qualified individuals from diverse backgrounds may never apply. 
  4. Retention Issues: Attracting diverse talent is only part of the equation. Organizations must also create inclusive workplaces where employees from all backgrounds feel valued and supported. 

Strategies for Inclusive Hiring

  1. Gender-Neutral Job Description: Carefully review job descriptions to eliminate gendered or biased language. Focus on qualifications and skills rather than perceived "cultural fit." 
  2. Blind Hiring: consider implementing blind recruitment processes, where identifying information like names, gender, or age is removed from applications to reduce unconscious bias. 
  3. Diverse Interview Panels: Ensure that interview panels represent a variety of backgrounds. This can help candidates feel more comfortable, reduce the impact of bias and create a more welcoming and representative environment.  
  4. Partnerships and Inclusive Sourcing: establish partnerships with local universities and gender-specific organizations such as Women in Tech to recruit candidates actively. Include sources that target underrepresented groups and attend job fairs and conferences dedicated to diversity and inclusion. 
  5. Gender Diversity Training: provide training to hiring managers and interviewers on unconscious bias and the importance of fostering gender diversity. This training can help teams recognize and address any biases that might influence their decisions.  
  6. Showcase Diversity Initiatives: Highlight your organization's commitment to diversity and inclusion in job postings and on your company website. Share success stories and employee testimonials. 
  7. Internship and Mentorship Programs: Establish internship programs that target underrepresented groups. Mentorship programs can also help groom diverse talent for leadership roles. 

Retaining Diverse Talent

  1. Inclusive Onboarding: Ensure that new hires feel welcome from day one. Provide resources, support, and mentorship to help them integrate into the company culture. 
  2. Professional Development: Offer ongoing training and development opportunities for all employees. Create pathways for advancement and provide coaching to underrepresented groups. 
  3. Inclusive Policies: Engage with an external vendor to review your policies to ensure they are inclusive. This includes flexible work arrangements, parental leave, and accommodations for disabilities.  
  4. Diversity and Inclusion Councils: Establish councils or committees dedicated to diversity and inclusion within the organization. These groups can help shape policies and initiatives. 
  5. Regular Feedback and Surveys: Solicit feedback from employees on their experiences within the organization. Use surveys and focus groups to identify areas for improvement. 

Measuring Success

To gauge the effectiveness of your inclusive hiring practices, it's crucial to establish clear metrics and regularly assess progress. Metrics may include the representation of underrepresented groups in the workforce, groups’ feelings of inclusion, promotion rates, and employee engagement scores. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your strategies based on these metrics can lead to continuous improvement. Make certain that your organization is meeting its DEI goals by understanding the demographics of the workforce. Collecting data on the demographics of your organization via a workforce survey allows you to identify any underrepresented groups within your organization and pinpoint areas where diversity and inclusion efforts may be lacking.  

In conclusion, inclusive hiring practices are not just a feel-good initiative; they are a strategic imperative for organizations looking to thrive in a diverse and rapidly changing world. By recognizing the business case for diversity, addressing unconscious biases, and implementing strategies for attracting and retaining diverse talent, organizations can create a workplace where everyone can succeed and contribute to their fullest potential.  

Big Ideas in IDEA Monthly Poll

How you prefer to learn and engage with inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility topics?

You can vote and access the DEI Poll by scanning the QR code below or by visiting this link:

QRCode for IDEA Monthly Poll_ November & December Edition

DEI Poll Results for October Edition

In the October edition of the DEI poll, we aimed to understand the primary factors our readers consider when choosing a DEI consulting firm. The responses provided valuable insights into their preferences and priorities.

Reputation and Track Record emerged as the most critical factor, with 46.15% of respondents emphasizing the importance of the firm's history and past performance, indicating a strong preference for established firms with a positive reputation in DEI consulting.

Team Expertise and Credentials were also highly regarded, with 38.46% of respondents underlining the importance of the consulting firm's team and their qualifications. Our readers prioritize the expertise and credentials of the individuals working with them.

Industry Expertise received 7.69% of the responses, implying that, while it is a factor for consideration, it is not as crucial as reputation and team expertise. Cost/Price and Client References received no votes, suggesting their lower influence in the decision-making process for our readers.

Additionally, 7.69% of respondents mentioned "Other" factors that are essential to them, specifically, the firm's ability to deliver on promises without excuses and the reliability of meeting delivery commitments. This underscores the significance of trust and reliability for our readers.

DEI Poll - Oct Results

In conclusion, the poll results highlight that reputation, team expertise, and the firm's ability to deliver on commitments are the most crucial factors for our readers when choosing a DEI consulting firm, providing valuable guidance for decision-making in the field of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

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Disclaimer: Our newsletter and blogs feature personal opinions and diverse viewpoints. We aim to create a safe space for our team to share their perspectives on diversity and inclusion. Please note that individual articles may not align with every reader's view or comprehensively cover a topic. We appreciate the diversity of opinions and respect our team's contributions.

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