In August, PRSA is celebrating Diversity Month by focusing on the diverse communities, people and practices that comprise public relations. We will also be providing advice and insight on how to build a better PR profession through diversity and inclusion. Here, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and other PR thought leaders offer their insights on the importance of a diverse and inclusive workplace. Join the discussion by following @PRSADiversity and using #PRSADiversity in your social media posts.
There’s a reason beyond the obvious to find value in diversity in our workplaces and professions. As hard as we have tried and as much as we have talked, diversity still remains an issue. Why is the question, when innovation, creativity and growth are just some of the benefits of embracing a diverse workforce. Those elements contribute to a company’s bottom line and ultimate success in the marketplace. Communications, like other industries, is no stranger to the challenges of diversity.
Diverse companies make more money, and if that isn’t enough motivation, I’m not sure what is.
An embracing culture is at the base of all diversity and how it plays out in a company. According to census data, by 2050 there will be no racial or ethnic majority in our country. We know that companies with women and minorities in leadership fare better than organizations that do not have them.
McKinsey & Company reported that of 180 companies in nations around the world, companies with top-team diversity, perform 14 percent better than the least diverse companies. And further, McKinsey research suggests that diverse businesses deliver 35 percent better results than non-diverse businesses. With data like this, embracing diversity shouldn’t be a tough decision. As communicators, we can help share this message and further embrace it among our own departments, agencies and associations.
I believe we must focus on what I call “the point of inspiration.” That’s the place in time when a youth is looking to the future and what it might hold. What should I do when I grow up? How can my talents be used to make a difference? That happens in high school and the early stages of college.
As an industry, we need to be present when students are looking to make career and college choices. If we can affect their choice at the point of inspiration, we’ll begin to see movement in the ranks of our profession and diversity begin to even itself among our practitioners. That takes a commitment — a comprehensive effort by each member of PRSA to embrace opportunities to talk at local high school career fairs, be present on career days and share their career journeys with others to inspire them to choose communications as a profession.
PRSA is working in these areas to leave a lasting impression through PRSSA’s high school visits to the newly implemented HBCU effort to attract greater numbers of ethnically diverse students to the field. If every one of our 21,000-plus members made just one visit a year to a high school or college, think of the impact we could have on the industry!
As we recruit to the profession with intention, we can reap the benefits of diversity. We’ll see better decision making, broader perspectives shared and greater understanding of issues and opportunities. Diversity causes us all to think differently. When you bring together a diverse team, you bring a dynamic exchange of ideas and critical thinking to the table. In the end, that means leadership, and that is where we can have the greatest impact in the companies we work for at whatever level we may be in the career journey.
Jane Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA, is the 2017 PRSA National Chair. As a collaborative leader, she recognizes the value of diversity on many levels within leadership, membership and the industry as a whole. PRSA’s efforts to reach high school students and the new HBCU initiative are paving the way to make dramatic change a reality.