People and organizations across the world are being called to dismantle systemic and institutional racism. There are also many marginalized groups of people who continue to require the attention of your organization. People experience othering and marginalization in the workplace based on national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, disability, genetic characteristics, a conviction for which a pardon has been granted or a record suspended.
Creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization starts by listening to and understanding the challenges your people currently experience so that you can address them effectively through meaningful actions. Exchanges provide an inclusive and equitable platform to bring people together to create such change.
Things to consider and communicate in your exchange planning:
- You, as a leader, may not get everything “right” when having these critical conversations. Lean into the vulnerability of that and be transparent about the learning journey you are on as a leader, and acknowledge the ways in which your organization needs to improve.
- Do you or can you partner with activists, diversity & inclusion educators and practitioners, and leaders within marginalized groups to provide guidance on the exchange questions, messaging and tone of communications, and to review the thoughts shared?
- What expectations do you have for this conversation, and what are the areas of alignment or gaps in understanding you might encounter in your participants?
- What are you willing and able to take action on in response to what you may learn from these exchanges?
- What are some important perspectives we should consider regarding diversity, equity, and belonging?
- What systems do we need to create to ensure we are a diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization?
- What measures do we need to put in place to ensure everyone feels safe, valued and respected at work?
- Tell us your thoughts, experiences, or observations of prejudice, racial injustice, and discrimination within our schools.
- What are some important resources and supports you need to ensure we are improving as a diverse and inclusive organization?
- What are the most important things we can do individually and collectively to help to build an organizational culture that promotes diversity, inclusion and belonging?
- How can our organization be a stronger ally for our employees and our clients?
Example questions - Education sector-specific:
- (For Staff) What could your school or our District do to help continue to grow a safer learning environment for LGBTQ+ students to succeed and thrive?
- (For Students) What could our school or the District do to help LGBTQ+ students feel safe and succeed at school?
Sample invitation email or exchange introduction:
This article includes examples of email invites to help encourage your community to participate in the exchange.
Key Consideration: Set expectations around respectful, constructive conversation, and that any hateful or identifying thoughts will be removed. Consider including a video introduction to make it more personal.
<Write about the purpose of your exchange from the perspectives of you as a leader, of your organization, and that of your participants. Use “we” language to set the tone of an inclusive leadership approach.>
We will be using your thoughts to <DESCRIBE PLANNED INITIATIVES/NEXT STEPS>.
Please add as many thoughts/questions as you like and then consider and rate 20-30 thoughts based on how much you agree. 5 = strongly agree. 1 = strongly disagree. Finally, please keep thoughts respectful and constructive. Any hateful comments will be removed.
This exchange will be open until <DATE>.
- This exchange is confidential. Your thoughts will be shared, but not your identity.
- If you see a thought that is rude, hurtful or identifies a person or group, you can report it by clicking in the upper right corner of the thought.
- You do not need to rate all thoughts in this exchange. It is appreciated and recommended to rate around 30 over the time the exchange is open.
Sample survey questions (optional)
When creating your exchange consider why you would like to ask a survey question and how you will use the information. Asking survey questions that might feel identifying could impact the quality of experience for the participant.
- How diverse do you feel we are as an organization? 1=Not at all diverse, 5=Very diverse
- How inclusive do you feel we are as an organization? 1=Not at all inclusive, 5=Very inclusive
- How equitable do you feel we are as an organization? 1=Not at all equitable, 5=Very equitable
- How much have you experienced a sense of belonging at our organization? 1=Rarely, 5=Most always
- How much have you experienced othering, exclusion, microaggressions or other discrimination at work? 1=Rarely, 5=Most always
- To what extent do you feel safe, valued and supported at our organization? 1=Rarely, 5=Most always
- To what extent do you feel your voice and perspective matters at our organization? 1=Rarely, 5=Most always
- What ethnic or cultural origin of your ancestors do you most identify with? (Canada)
- Aboriginal (Inuit, Métis, North American Indian)
- Arab/West Asian (e.g., Armenian, Egyptian, Iranian, Lebanese, Moroccan)
- Black (e.g., African, Haitian, Jamaican, Somali)
- Latin American
- South Asian
- South East Asian
- White (Caucasian)
- What race or origin do you most identify with? (U.S.A.)
- Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin
- Black or African American
- American Indian or Alaska Native
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
- Some other race or origin
- Consider who needs to be involved in reviewing questionable thoughts and what your process will be to handle inappropriate thoughts.
- We invite you to connect with one of our CSMs to discuss how to balance keeping conversations safe and respectful vs. accidentally censoring.
- Machine moderation is imperfect and might flag thoughts that should be in the conversation.
- Leaders are notified by email when a thought is flagged by machine moderation or a participant <unless their email notification settings are set to Off. The default settings are ‘quiet’>.
Machine Moderation On - Leave Thoughts In:
Our recommendation is to have machine moderation on, leave thoughts in. This means that reported thoughts would remain visible until they are reviewed in order to create the most transparency.
- Please consider if leaders have the capacity to monitor flagged thoughts to remove them if they deem them to be rude/hurtful.
- The leader can choose to start this way and if there is hurtful speech in the conversation, they may choose to hide thoughts until reviewed to create safety for participants.
Machine Moderation On - Hide Thoughts:
By having machine moderation, hide thoughts on - you are allowing the machine to temporarily hide thoughts that potentially should remain in the conversation.
- Please consider if leaders have the capacity to monitor and approve flagged thoughts to increase transparency and avoid the potential sense of censorship.