As an expert in inclusive communication, I’ve often sat at a table with HR managers, marketing officers and even CEO’s, who totally agree that diversity is important and an inclusive work culture is essential for the future of every company. Then I ask them if they’ve ever communicated about it. Mostly, this question is replied with either one of these three answers:
→ “No, but I think everyone knows that we find it very important.”
If your reply is not the third one, it’s the wrong one. Communicating about diversity and inclusion is just as important as taking action. More than often, the higher management is completely on board with the whole “the future is diverse”-idea, but the people working for them have no clue what that even means. And if your answer was the second one: every branding expert will tell you how important it is to communicate about your values, whatever they are. You can’t assume that your employees will just have a gut feeling about what your company stands for, if you’ve never communicated about it.
Now, how do you start sharing your vision on diversity and inclusion? You start on the inside. A big part of creating an inclusive work culture, is having the conversations with your employees about what that exactly means. Create a safe space where they can share their ideas and concerns. Do they feel like your company is inclusive? What challenges are they facing? And most importantly, do they share the vision and the values that your brand wants to uphold in the future? Never – I repeat, never – launch a campaign to promote the diversity in your company if you haven’t set up conversations to make sure that it is indeed a positive and inclusive culture in reality too. The importance of creating support from your team and building allyship can not be underestimated.
And if you’ve done your work on the inside, it’s perfectly OK to share your vision on diversity and inclusion with the outside world as well. Communicating about diversity can bring you lots of benefits. It shows that you’re not oblivious or careless to the diverse society of today, that you acknowledge the differences between people and perceive them as assets. Both for the societal value of your company as for your employer branding, inclusive communication can be an added value. So dare to speak up and let people know that your company is one with a vision and an inclusive future in mind.