A 2018 Gallup report defines diversity as “the full spectrum of human differences,” including age, gender, disability, and ethnic background, as well as the “invisible” traits like socioeconomic status, marital status, and sexual orientation.
It’s no secret that diversity and inclusion are a must for any organization to grow and thrive. Not only is it simply the right thing to do (even before last year’s paradigm-shifting movement towards racial equality), a 2017 McKinsey study found that diversity overall is correlated with both profitability and value creation.
Remember: the goal of diversity and inclusion within your organization is to make every employee feel safe, valued, and welcomed. So where do internal communications come in? Let’s explore three ways you can use your internal comms to promote diversity and inclusion on your intranet.
According to a recent survey by Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers say a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers. Furthermore, millennials—a demographic that will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025—are far more likely to feel engaged if they feel their workplace fosters an inclusive culture and environment.
When it comes to diversity and inclusion within an organization, capturing and listening to the “voice of the employee” is key. Use your intranet to survey your employees and learn how your organization can make them feel better represented. You can also use this space for employees to share their own insights, stories, and more to further the conversation on diversity and inclusion. Not only does this allow your team to connect on a more human level, but it’s also an excellent way to build a sense of community and of a safe space.
When sharing marketing collateral or corporate materials (such as blog posts, social media content, brochures, etc.), invite your employees to review and share feedback to ensure all your content is inclusive and accessible to all. When you solicit a diversity of opinions before going public with your campaigns, you’re much more likely to catch and solve problematic languages, images, etc.
Related reading: three ways to engage with your millennial workforce
It’s one thing for leaders and management to talk about diversity and inclusion via staff emails and employee newsletters, but it’s another for them to truly demonstrate their commitment to making it an integral part of their organization. Make sure you actually “walk the talk” and model the behaviour you wish to see.
When sharing corporate announcements (or any other communication, for that matter) via your intranet, remove as many obstacles as you can to ensure accessibility. For example, those who are hard of hearing or digitally inexperienced may struggle with videoconferencing. Know your internal audience, and don’t make assumptions about their needs.
If you’re in leadership, be actively curious and eager to learn. Allow space on your intranet for “think tanks” (virtual or in-person), where members of your team can share insights and training on key subjects, should they choose.
Also, when you’ve implemented a new inclusive policy or framework within your organization, highlight this news front and centre on your intranet.
Highlighting your organization’s diversity through your internal comms is the most straightforward way to incorporate inclusion. However, it’s easy to fall into “tokenism”, or making symbolic, surface-level gestures instead of real, tangible change.
Thankfully, one of the ways to avoiding tokenism is simply to integrate diversity and inclusion on an ongoing basis, instead of through sporadic, one-off campaigns or comms. Think outside the box on how you can make diverse groups within your organization feel like your company has truly put in the effort.
For example, if you currently use your intranet to recognize religious festivals and days of significance across different communities, take it one step further by educating staff on the importance of these events or inviting diverse employees to do so themselves if they wish.
Related reading: our guide to improving your intranet user experience
Mallory Whitfield, the keynote speaker at last year’s IABC conference, said it best: “When a company truly listens to everyone’s perspective, it can be the spark that leads to innovation. Companies that are inclusive and diverse are more innovative, more profitable, and have improved employee retention rates”.
Studies have shown that diversity and inclusion boosts profits and business performance, improves employee engagement, and reduces turnover. Your intranet is an excellent place to demonstrate your commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace!
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