EDI – Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
The underlying message of what used to be called PC (Political Correctness) and is now more accurately labelled EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion), is that we must all be careful and aware when we write to communicate in every business and social setting. If our objective is to engage effectively, it is down to us to consider and respect the feelings of others when we post on social media, write emails, reports, speeches or make presentations.
Why is EDI in writing important?
Because when people write to communicate with colleagues, managers, customers and prospects, there is a risk that they will be misunderstood and cause offence, whether they mean to or not. This places the organisation and its reputation at risk.
If you or a member of your team writes or says the wrong thing, in the wrong context, to the wrong person this will lead to reputational damage. Always, when you write to communicate, be considerate, respectful and kind.
Unless you have been living alone in a cave you will know that not all banter is amusing or appropriate. Is that a corporate problem? It could be: tribunal cases that reference ‘workplace banter’ are at a new high, increasing by 44% in 2021. EDI is nothing to do with being ‘woke’. It is about being thoughtful and considering the feelings of others when you communicate. To you it’s just banter; to them it may be fearfully offensive.
Whether you’re of the generation that remembers the name Gerald Ratner* or not, you will be aware of the stream of reported cases where staff and managers have trashed their company’s reputations simply by saying, writing or posting offensive messages internally and externally.
Write to survive
Developed by the Business Writing Academy (BWA), the ‘Write to Survive’ programme is embedded in our multi-module writing and communication course. It helps individuals and their employers to be clear and coherent and think about the consequences their words will have on readers and listeners.
It is the basis of a universal writing and coaching programme for starters, staff and managers right across an organisation founded on the principle that people who write and communicate must be considerate, respectful, kind and empathetic.
BWA’s ‘Write to Survive’ programme is for all companies with HR and training policies and programmes, to steer clear of written communication-caused difficulties. Think of it as an insurance policy. It is important to your business and until you do something about it, the risk will not go away.
EDI coaching, included across each BWA module, will help to focus minds on the consequences of failing to navigate safely through the quicksand of a changing modern language and social landscape.
*Gerald Ratner trashed his company’s reputation by making a speech in which he said: “We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, ‘How can you sell this for such a low price?’, I say, ‘because it’s total crap.’”. Ratner remains a model example of why business leaders and managers should think first and speak second. Following his speech, the value of the Ratner group plummeted by around £500 million and he was sacked.