An increased focus on inclusion and diversity (I&D) is not new for most businesses, thank goodness. In fact, 96-98% of large companies are investing in diversity initiatives. In addition to just being the right thing to do, study after study has found that diversity – of thought, gender and race – improves business performance by 25, 35 and even 45%. A commitment to I&D brings new perspectives to the table, and a meaningful I&D program also increases employee engagement by instilling enthusiasm and enhancing the perception of the company. In fact, according to a Quantum Workplace Study, employees who believe their company is doing well in the areas of I&D tend to be more engaged than employees who don’t think their companies are doing well. And, from a recruitment standpoint, 67% of job seekers say a diverse workforce is imperative when considering employment offers.

Increasingly, we are talking to more and more companies about I&D communications. They recognize the importance of I&D to their bottom line – as well as its impact on their recruiting and retention efforts, corporate reputation and employee engagement. There’s tremendous opportunity to leverage I&D efforts to increase engagement (and so much more!), but to be truly effective, the walk and the talk MUST align. A commitment to I&D can be a powerful differentiator, but success requires four key elements:

  1. Cultural Alignment: Understand how I&D fits into your current culture. Identify gaps and opportunities to ensure your company is walking the talk, and put programs and initiatives in place to act upon them.
  2. Thoughtful Storytelling: Craft a compelling, consistent story (backed by proof points) to engage employees and stakeholders, and to help showcase the company’s efforts internally and externally. Highlight outcomes, not good intentions.
  3. Transparency: While it’s important to celebrate success, it’s equally important to communicate opportunity. Be honest with your employees about where you have an opportunity to be better, and how you plan to get there.
  4. Integration: Collaborate to ensure the employee value proposition, recruitment brand, and internal and external communications accurately reflect and tell the story of the company’s commitment to I&D.

What’s your organization doing to increase inclusion and diversity, and how are you framing the story to drive engagement, recruitment and your bottom line?

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