No matter where you work or what your position is, you’ve probably heard the terms “diversity, equity, and inclusion”. You might have wondered what the difference in those terms are or you might be a seasoned professional, but no matter what, it’s clear—diversity, equity, and inclusion are vital to every business.
Diversity and inclusion should go hand-in-hand; the term diversity refers to the presence of people with different demographics including race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, status, and more. Inclusion is the active participation of these diverse communities. Verna Myers said, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”
There are multiple benefits, especially from a PR perspective, to actively creating a company culture that is diverse and inclusive:
- People with different backgrounds will offer different solutions. When your company has a problem or you’re looking for a creative approach, team members with diverse backgrounds can offer unique solutions that you might not have imagined.
- Communication becomes more effective. Odds are, your audience consists of a wide variety of perspectives. When your PR team includes a range of backgrounds and demographics, you can more effectively communicate to different audiences.
- PR campaigns generate better results. You might be able to think of a few PR campaigns that have fallen flat over the past year just because it was clear that the team hadn’t considered the different ways their audience might perceive their message. When your PR team is diverse and inclusive, you’ll be more likely to see the different potential reactions and create campaigns that will actually be received well.
- Consumers want to see representation. More and more consumers are actively seeking to support brands that take a stance on issues that matter to them. When your company shows how it prioritizes diversity and inclusion and shares how it will actively promote it, you’re also creating higher loyalty with current and potential consumers.
So now that you know why diversity and inclusion is so important for a company, you can start implementing these strategies:
- Include diversity and inclusion trainings in your company. These trainings can help individuals understand their implicit biases and recognize how each individual can promote a culture of inclusion. These trainings also give you tools to work towards eliminating those biases.
- Consider how you’ll prioritize diversity and inclusion in your hiring process. As you’re hiring for your team or looking for a PR team to represent you, make sure you’re actively using hiring and recruitment practices that are equitable. These practices can include removing names and other identifiers from applications to create a truly blind hiring process and investing in diversity and inclusion programs.
- Before creating PR campaigns, analyze your audience. Oftentimes, companies misstep in their public relations strategies because they go back and try to add representation to a completed campaign rather than starting with a goal of representation. Instead of looking at diversity and inclusion as a check on a box, start campaigns with the goal of understanding your audience and their unique backgrounds.
- Include accountability in your PR strategies. As you work towards diversity and inclusion in your company, set goals and track your progress. Even if diversity and inclusion isn’t “trending” in the future, you still need to prioritize it in your company. By holding yourselves accountable with outside trainings, public statements, or internal reviews, you’ll be more likely to see true progress.
It’s increasingly clear why your company needs to prioritize diversity and inclusion throughout all business processes. Even though implementing these strategies will take work, they are clearly worth it for creating a culture that is welcoming for employees and preferred by clients and audiences. Diversity and inclusion are essential to thriving businesses, and your business choices today can lead to a more inclusive tomorrow.