As you may know, CCDI Consulting is working on a new website with a new domain, www.ccdiconsulting.ca. It is scheduled to go live on February 8, 2022.
Website development is an iterative process. In the first phase, we are trying to make our content more fulsome and easier to find. In the second phase, we will be launching new features and functionality. More about that in the coming months.
This month, we have two articles on very different topics; digital inclusion and
Director of Marketing and Communications
CCDI Consulting Inc.
6 Tips for Digital Inclusion
Improve web accessibility by removing barriers
Think of your website like a building - you want to ensure that it is easy to navigate and accessible to all. To achieve this, consider installing features like automated door openers, removing stairs, or providing alternative entry options. Similarly, ensure that your website is easy to navigate using a keyboard, even without a mouse. This will help all users, including those with disabilities, find the information they need on your website.
Offer alternatives for ease of use
Make it easy for users to interact with your website in a way that works best for them. Just as you might provide a toll-free number and order forms for direct mail marketing, ensure that your website offers multiple options for users to interact with your content. For example, provide clear and concise instructions for navigating your website and offer contact information for users who need additional assistance.
Use inclusive language to reach all audiences
To make your website more accessible, use clear and simple language that is free of jargon and acronyms. This will help all users, regardless of their level of literacy or understanding. Additionally, consider using text-to-speech technology to review your content and ensure that it is easy to understand.
Optimize content structure for ease of use
To make your website more user-friendly, break up large blocks of text into smaller chunks and use headers to organize content. This will make it easier for users to find the information they need quickly and easily.
Use alt-text and descriptive labels for images and tables
Ensure that your website is accessible to users with visual impairments by using alt-text and alt-descriptions for images and graphs. Additionally, use proper column and row headings in tables to make it easier for screen readers to navigate your content.
Provide descriptive labels in online forms
Make it easy for users to complete online forms by providing clear and concise instructions and descriptive labels. This will help users understand the purpose of the form and complete it correctly.
Making the Case for Religious Literacy
As we return to work, fresh from our winter holidays, and set our IDEA goals for the coming year, I’d urge you to consider religious literacy as a key component of your IDEA initiatives.
In the IDEA realm, religious identity is perhaps one of the least talked about identities.
A study by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation found that only 43% of Fortune 500 DEI pages even mention religion in their descriptions, which is much lower than for race (95%), women/gender (87%), sexual orientation (76%), or disability (69%). And yet religion can impact so many facets of our organizational culture - everything from how we recognize holidays to our dress code, to foods at the company picnic or office potluck. As IDEA initiatives mature and we have more nuanced conversations about intersectionality, we can no longer ignore the importance of religious inclusion in the workplace.
Why we don’t talk about religions and why that matters
Historically, our Western society teaches us that religion is private and discourages us from talking openly about religion and spirituality. And despite Canada being one of the most religiously diverse countries in the world, as a society, we are woefully uninformed about the basics of the world’s religions. This makes it a challenge to gracefully navigate religious inclusion in the workplace. More importantly, our reluctance to engage on this topic can send the unintentional message to colleagues that something central to their identity is both unmentionable and unwelcomed.
What the research shows
We know that creating a welcoming organizational culture is crucial to a business's success. Google’s well-cited multiyear study on team effectiveness showed that psychological safety – the feeling that one is accepted and free to voice divergent views – is the single best predictor of successful, effective teams. When members feel safe to voice divergent views, blind spots get highlighted, opportunities identified, and the team’s creative juices flow freely.
Other studies bear this out. Forbes reported that inclusive teams make better decisions 87% of the time. They also make decisions more quickly and generate better outcomes.
McKinsey found that diverse companies generate financial returns that are 35% above industry averages.
And a BCG study found that organizations with above-average diversity in their leadership generated 45% innovation revenue, versus 26% for firms with less diverse leadership teams.
And yet a recent ADP study noted that 39% of religious minorities in Canada are reluctant to speak up at work – that number is even higher than the comparable number for women or racial minorities. In addition, one-third of respondents have
seen incidents of religious bias in their workplaces or have personally experienced them.
If religious minorities don’t feel safe to speak up, we risk losing their contributions and divergent thinking, and if we aren’t careful, we will also lose the ability to nurture potential leaders for our organizations. If we cannot create and sustain a welcoming workplace, our ability to attract, retain, and promote diverse team members will suffer.
What to do next
Educate yourself about the importance of religious literacy
If this isn’t an area you feel confident in, we invite you to start reading. Check out blogs, podcasts and articles on religious inclusion, follow thought leaders on social media and start opening conversations in your own circle. If you need a bit of extra help, Encounter has a variety of resources to help you learn more.
Assess your situation and your capacity
How religiously literate is your leadership team? And do they understand the importance of religious literacy in the workplace?
Ask for help if you need it
Because religion isn’t something we talk about freely, your organization may need some support in opening up these important conversations and learning from one another.
Set your goals
Whether you want to improve results from employee surveys, increase diversity in your leadership ranks, offer religious literacy training for your teams, or put supports in place for a more welcoming culture, it is crucial that you define your goals.
Find your champions
Every successful initiative needs a leader. You probably already have team members who are passionate about inclusion, have lived experience with religious diversity and inclusion, and who are committed to creating a welcoming workplace.
This is a great opportunity to tap into the enthusiasm of future leaders as well.
Keep the conversations going
Consider what you might need to nurture the conversations. Training programs, roundtables, working groups, and community involvement are all ways to increase social connections and literacy – both of which are crucial to creating a welcoming culture.
Brian Carwana is the Executive Director of Encounter World Religions, which provides religious literacy programs to workplaces, schools, and individuals, opening the door to understanding and connection. Encounter supports organizations as they work towards a culture of meaningful inclusion and belonging. Learn more at www.worldreligions.ca.
Encounter is offering CCDI newsletter readers a $50 discount on its upcoming presentation “Making the Case of Religious Literacy” on February 16th, 2022. Learn more about why religious literacy is so important in the workplace and gain the knowledge and confidence you need to begin important conversations about religious inclusion in your organization.
Register here for “Marking the Case for Religious Literacy” and use code CCDI2022 for a discount.