During the first weekend of February, Harvard Business School’s African American Student Union organized the 44th Annual H. Naylor Fitzhugh Conference. Attendees discussed many ways for organizations to spur important conversations by engaging employees in diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace. Here are three identified best practices:
- Recruit: Set data-driven diversity goals to promote transparency in hiring
It’s imperative that companies be transparent about where they are and where they’re hoping to go in terms of recruiting a diverse staff. Management (not just the D&I team) should sit down and scrutinize the numbers just as it would any other business opportunity. Once the targets are determined, providing progress updates will demonstrate to interested parties that this is a real business priority and give everyone accountability in seeing the goals accomplished.
- Retain: Establish employee groups to foster camaraderie
Employee resource groups provide a setting for employees to convene with people who are passionate about elements of minority identity. Having these affinity groups accessible and active is significant for retaining diverse talent. In order to reap the full benefits of the groups, management should invest in the establishment of signature events and regular programming to bring multiple employee groups together as well as to engage the larger employee population.
- Recognize: Invest in high-performers to prove commitment to diversity
In order to help diverse talent thrive, organizations should coordinate workshops or retreats to engage with minority employees and seek their perspectives and candid feedback. In addition to being a tangible investment in high-performing employees, these gatherings bring diverse talent into the conversation about the company’s future success.
Leaders in corporate America have a great opportunity to promote inclusive cultures by engaging employees in efforts to ensure organizational diversity. With employee enthusiasm and involvement, these best practices can help them do so.
Natalie is one of the leaders of Powell Tate’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Perspectives. Her previous post on racial discourse can be found here: “Pushing for Progress on Racial Discourse during #BlackHistoryMonth.”
When working with clients to shape sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting efforts, our team makes a point to speak about “reporting” instead of “the report”. It may seem like a matter of semantics, but it’s an important distinction.
In our experience, by viewing the release of an annual report as one important pulse point within a broader year-round engagement strategy, companies are able to position the report as part of an ongoing conversation. The distinction has broad implications for organizations that are embracing transparency as a means of informing stakeholders about their environmental, social and governance (ESG) endeavors.
In our work, we often talk with clients about the need to be “always-on” in order to break through in today’s crowded communications landscape. In the context of ever-increasing means of sharing messages and opinions – and ever-increasing voices participating in the sharing – it’s more important than ever to earn people’s attention and trust with timely, relevant and honest content, particularly around corporate ESG issues.
Our client Michael Meehan, Chief Executive of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), underscores the importance of ongoing reporting the second installment of our Innovation Trends Report, Always-On Transparency. He has a front row seat to the shift to Always-On Transparency, as the head of an international independent organization that helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate the impact of business on critical sustainability issues. Michael says:
“It is becoming increasingly evident that transparently reporting impact is a valuable investment. Companies that embrace transparency, for example, are increasingly more attractive to investors, as they signal less risk. Other benefits include improved reputation, increased employee and consumer loyalty, and more savings due to better management of resources. Perhaps the most profound benefit of reporting is the process itself, which is a powerful catalyst for continuous change and improvement.”
In the future, the need to drive transparency through ongoing communications will become increasingly important as stakeholders demand it, reporting standards adopt always-on expectations and companies recognize and embrace the benefits of more open and ongoing engagement through reporting.
I hope you’ll explore this trend more in our new Always-On Transparency report and encourage you to share your thoughts and best practices.
And, stay tuned for subsequent reports in the series, which will explore additional trends – such as purpose-drive data, conscious crowdsourcing and inclusive global economies – that are transforming how people, organizations and systems connect to drive positive change.
The recent United Nations General Assembly convened 193 member states and took an important step in approving new Global Goals for Sustainable Development, focused on critical areas: people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership.
This ambitious agenda for the next 15 years recognizes that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with efforts to build economic growth and address a range of social needs, including tackling climate change.
It’s an agenda that Weber Shandwick is energized to support – and has been supporting – in partnership with our clients. Weber Shandwick is proud to be supporting more than 150 client assignments focused on the 17 new Global Goals, spanning creative campaigns focused on poverty, hunger, gender equality, economic growth and more – some of which are featured in the short video below.
In meeting these new goals, there is a powerful opportunity for leadership from the private sector – to bring financial resources, human capital and innovation to bear on complex social issues. We look forward to continuing to support organizations that will have a major impact on the success of the Global Goals in the decades to come.
Weber Shandwick is the global agency partner for the BSR Conference 2015: Resilient Business, Resilient World. Our Social Impact team will be sharing insights from the conference on this blog.
This week, members of our Social Impact team are in San Francisco attending the annual BSR Conference. This year's conference focuses on resilience and will explore how through innovation collaboration, businesses can position themselves to not only survive, but thrive, through fundamental change.
How to Follow Along
Check Out the Storify: We’ll be weaving together the best tweets from the week so you can check out what’s happening at the conference in one stop. Check it out below or follow along here.
Tune in to the Livestream: BSR will broadcast much of the conference, including plenary and I3 speakers and the Take10 and Collaboration in Action sessions. Visit the conference homepage to learn more.
We're proud to be a sponsor again this year, and to partner with BSR on its strategic communications work. We'll be sharing insights throughout the week, and if you are at #BSR15 be sure to look for Paul, Kate, Katy and Emily.