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The Power of Effective Communications in Reinforcing and Furthering DEIB Efforts Within and Beyond the Workplace

Kanarys Staff

06/30/2023

Since the pandemic, the nature of work has been in transition and in a significant evolution. Organizations find themselves often at odds with employees over staying hybrid vs returning to the office, and DEIB initiatives face increasingly significant political backlash. With the addition of the latest U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision in the cases of Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. (SFFA) v. President and Fellows of Harvard and SFAI v. the University of North Carolina that overturned Affirmative Action, it is critical that companies establish comprehensive strategies that integrate effective communication approaches to DEIB. 

In these times of uncertainty and adversity around DEIB, the role of effective communication has become increasingly significant for organizations. Employees expect transparency and action when issues arise both internally and externally. This can put organizations under a lot of pressure when navigating already challenging situations. Companies must leverage communications and PR effectively in times of adversity, because when managed and implemented strategically, a thoughtful communications plan can build resilience, maintain trust, mitigate reputational risks, and foster positive relationships. By understanding the impact of communication in both internal and external contexts, specifically around the current DEIB backlash, organizations can leverage its power to overcome this challenge and emerge stronger than ever - building and furthering their inclusion and belonging culture.

Internally, effective communication within the workplace can play a pivotal role in ensuring the cohesion and bond of teams around inclusion and belonging. With DEIB initiatives being increasingly viewed in a positive light by the workforce, the political backlash and challenges to DEIB can be jarring and disconcerting. That’s why transparent and timely communication helps employees understand the challenges the organization faces, manage expectations, and align their efforts towards a common goal. Internal communications efforts, such as regular updates, town hall meetings, and channels for open dialogue, can create a supportive environment where employees feel heard, valued, and motivated. Now is the time for companies to reiterate and reinforce their efforts around DEIB. By nurturing a culture of open communication and transparency, organizations are not only enhancing teamwork, adaptability, and resilience, they’re actually embodying the core values around inclusion and belonging.

Even outside of the workplace, effective external communication efforts are essential for mitigating reputational risks and maintaining trust with stakeholders. A misstep in external communications or silence can have unintended effects that can’t always be undone. Organizations must proactively communicate with customers, clients, partners, and the wider community to provide accurate and timely information about the challenges they face and their strategies for overcoming them. Clear and transparent communication helps manage expectations, reduces speculation, and avoids the spread of misinformation. Additionally, demonstrating empathy, authenticity, and a commitment to addressing concerns helps maintain trust and loyalty. An authentic communications strategy plays a crucial role in shaping external narratives, managing media relations, and conveying a consistent message that aligns with the organization's values and actions. By being proactive, responsive, and transparent, organizations can effectively protect their reputation, strengthen stakeholder relationships, and emerge with their brand integrity intact.

In today’s climate with DEIB initiatives under scrutiny, organizations have the opportunity to take an intentional and tactical approach to their communications and PR efforts. Effective crisis communication involves strategic planning, rapid response, and clear messaging to address the situation at hand. Timely and transparent communication helps to minimize confusion, manage public perception, and maintain trust. Core to that is the establishment of communication protocols, the designation of spokespersons, and consistent messaging across all communication channels. By proactively acknowledging challenges, taking responsibility, and providing regular updates, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to inclusion and belonging that includes everyone.

Take Kanarys’ two-minute DEIB Risk Assessment Quiz to see the potential risks your company may encounter on its DEIB journey. 

 


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