But you would only be half right.
The pitfalls for organizations multiply when there is a rush to create and fill D&I roles, and these stumbles can derail the entire program. By following a few best practices, companies can make the most of the positive changes brought to us by the otherwise dreary year 2020.
- It’s a disservice to the individuals you’re hiring if you bring them into companies that haven’t fully secured buy-in regarding what that role is intended to accomplish. Take the time to think through how this hire is going to be supported and what likely obstacles can be identified to smooth what could be a difficult path.
- Your employees need to understand and support diversity, equity and inclusion as a company priority. So take time to align your internal communication with your hiring plans and review the impact of these positions by having one on one conversations with the people most impacted by these roles.
- D&I roles can become a catch all for all things multicultural or multi-segment. A successful structure for recruiting, retention and promotion of a diverse workforce—this is only part of that important equation. Your consumer-facing initiatives are also critical. It is important to ask: How will your D&I initiatives impact your marketing—whether that be strategy, media spend or creative asset production. If the answer is “they won’t,” then you probably need to think more broadly about your strategy and motives.
- Don’t rush to hire someone without thinking through each of the implications of this potential hire, both within and outside, your organization. If you don’t have the right people in your management team or board of directors to help craft a good strategy, hire a consultant to help. You will save money in the long run by making sure any hires and practices you put into place now will set you up for long-term success.
- Put your money where your mouth is (and this goes for agencies, too). While it’s nice to see the email signatures and other shows of support for diversity, everyone within your company walls and without, can see through an empty promise. You don’t need to be all things to all people, so choose something behind which you and your colleagues can confidently stand.
- Hold your partners accountable. Your marketing team and the agencies you partner with should reflect the diversity you claim to support. Diverse people will make the agency’s work stronger, more inclusive, more authentic—and yes, more effective.
As the old saying goes, talk is cheap. Let’s not just check the box this year. Let’s take meaningful, forward-thinking action.