Communication’s Role in DEI

If you’re sitting in an in-house communication position at an organization that is committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), you are a crucial component to the success of the program.

Organizations in all industries and sectors are working to be more inclusive. Many around the country have committed to increased DEI efforts. Organizations that already had policies or programs already in place and others that had given the topic little to no prior attention realized during the civil unrest in 2020 they needed to re-evaluate their efforts or start working on inclusivity.

If your organization has made the commitment to either launch or enhance a focused DEI effort, effective communication around the initiative is vital to ensuring it’s a true long-term commitment and not just a “check the box” talking point.

Here are a few recommendations specific to in-house communicators when developing a communications program around DEI:

  1. Survey key internal stakeholder from the C-suite, Board, and employees to find the baseline, discover gaps in inclusion, and identify opportunities.
  2. Make sure your organization’s DEI objectives are clear and measurable. Saying that an organization is “committed to diversity,” is nice, but means nothing. Instead, state what you’re committing to and if possible, actions the company will take. For example:
    1. 20% of our board will include diverse members by 2024
    2. 50% of our interns will be diverse individuals
    3. We look to partner with other organizations who are inclusive
  3. Communicate who was involved in developing the DEI strategy, and make sure that the group of individuals is themselves diverse.
  4. Integrate messaging around your DEI efforts into all communication channels, from the website to social media, to marketing collateral.
  5. Ensure employees are included in n the organizations’ efforts so that they are comfortable communicating about it as well as acting as advocates to help reach the established goals.
  6. Allow for flexibility knowing that this is a dynamic topic. How companies talk about DEI today might not be the same next year. Acknowledge that and commit to frequent adjustments to company messaging to ensure it’s still relevant.

The important role that communications play in the success of a company’s DEI initiatives should not be underestimated. Strategic thinking, planning and flexibility, and honesty are the keys to success.


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