Diversity and inclusion. Those two words are a trending topic in the world today, and for good reason. Without diversity of thought, your organization will be consistently outperformed by more innovative companies in your industry. Without true inclusion, all that diversity will go to waste, resulting in a loss of profit, lower engagement scores and a negative impact on the mental health of your employees. Fostering a diverse workforce and an inclusive organizational culture is undoubtedly important, but it can also feel daunting to broach as a communicator, leader or executive.
As the lead communicator on an award-winning diversity and inclusion campaign for a company that is spread across the Canadian province of Alberta with over 5,000 employees, Ive had many communicators ask how they, too, can successfully engage their leaders on this topic. While no one campaign should be simply copied and pasted to another organization, there are a number of transferable themes that any communicator can apply to navigate this important and sometimes tricky topic.
Start with the data
In order to identify the gaps in diversity in your organization and then convey those gaps to employees at all levels, you need to lean on the numbers that outline the demographics of your employee base. If you dont have those, find a way to collect them. Theres no sense in working off of assumptions, and youll need to do much less convincing if you let the numbers speak for themselves.
Executives may be reluctant to be transparent about less than desirable numbers for fear of causing a negative impact on engagement, but if youre willing to openly communicate that you have room to improve and explain what your organization is doing to tackle the issues, it can be an engaging and unifying call to action. Additionally, leaning heavily on inclusion in your messaging demonstrates a positive intent that most people will be eager to rally behind.