Driving inclusivity through enhanced employee communications
24 March 2021
As employers continue to place greater emphasis on their diversity, inclusion and wellbeing agendas, we’ve noticed an increased desire from our clients to use their employee communications to help drive culture change and ensure their people feel supported and included.
Why has this happened?
Global workforces are experiencing massive change in the way they function day-to-day. As we all know, employees are working remotely more than ever, so businesses are having to rethink the way they use communications to reach their employees. We’ve also witnessed a renewed focus on wellbeing and mental health as people reassess how their work and home life blend together.
At the same time communications technology has continued to develop at great speed, enabling greater choice in what those communications look like and how they deliver their message.
With all this going on it’s really important you listen to the wider conversations taking place and ensure your communications strategy reflects the changes taking place in society. What you’re saying will then feel more relevant and will be something with which your people can easily connect.
Employees value transparency and they’ll want to know they’re working for a company that feels progressive, supportive and inclusive; a place where they can bring their true selves to work. Doing so will drive trust and loyalty and help you attract and retain the best people from a more diverse and skilled talent pool.
What can you do?
Some things to think about:
- Be authentic – Make sure you reflect your business AND your people in an authentic and realistic way. For example, use real-life photography of your employees in your communications rather than cliched stock imagery that can feel detached from your own culture. Be honest about the way you reflect the essence of your business in how you communicate.
- Back up with the facts. – Use hard facts, illustrations and examples. Sweeping statements can feel hollow if you don’t back up what you’re saying by committing to actions and policies.
- Remain consistent – Maintain a consistent message throughout your communications. This will help to build trust with your people.
- Consider your business culture – Work with the community groups within your company and empower them by giving them a voice in your communications. Ask for their experiences and listen to what they have to say – they know their community better than anyone. Consider a communications campaign that features their stories and experiences to back up what you’re saying. This gives visibility to a wider and more diverse group of your employees and gives greater authenticity to your communications.
- Empower your leaders – Educate your leaders and empower them to be seen as good role models who can inspire your people. Your leaders set the bar for the rest of your organisation so support them through coaching and guidance to help them become better at communicating to ALL their people.
- Apply empathy – Don’t approach inclusion as a checklist of experiences to be ticked off a list. Instead try to connect empathetically with your employees. Think about how the language and imagery you use can impact how your audience absorb your message. Last year our colleagues at Deloitte created a Brand Inclusivity Group to help break down barriers to equity. A dedicated online hub now offers enhancements to their brand experience and expressions through a library of inclusive imagery and appropriate wording, as well as training in the best and most appropriate ways to use the assets.
The road ahead
Ensuring your communications remain inclusive will be a continuous journey which should not be rushed. Take time to:
- Learn – Always challenge yourself to broaden your views;
- Recognise progress – Celebrate the improvements you make to your communications strategies along the way; and
- Start a conversation – Ask your audience how they feel about the communications you send out. Listen to their feedback and use it to inform future improvements.
Talk to us if you’d like to discuss ways to build inclusivity into your communications campaigns and help develop an employee culture where all your people feel respected, valued and included.