Voices are only impactful based on the relevancy of their messages. PR practitioners are charged with crafting messages that drive impact within organizations. It is communications professionals who can ensure that messages are anchored on a voice from a diverse perspective, ensuring the message is relevant and considers insights from the intended audience. D&I needs to go beyond ensuring that the workforce is representative of different cultures and perspectives by addressing how an organization is communicating relevant messages to those audiences. PR has the power to drive the biggest impact to an organizations’ D&I efforts.
Companies need to be on a competitive edge in a nation where the new majority is increasingly diverse . For this reason, it is imperative that those crafting messages are representative of that diversity. According to McKinsey & Company’s “Diversity Matters”, diverse companies are 35% more likely to financially outperform the market, if that diversity is driven by inclusion. Increasingly and aside from managing employees’ benefits, HR departments ensure that the organization is first and foremost protected from any actions impacting employees and advocating on behalf of the employer. By this being their focus, ensuring that communication is deliberately relevant and resonates with its audience should be the responsibility of communications professionals.
As the president of the Hispanic Public Relations Association, I can attest to numerous occasions when messages are simply not empathetic to diverse audiences and this is mainly due to the lack of diversity within communications departments and/or PR agencies who do not understand cultural competencies.
While I am advocating for public relations to play a larger role in driving the effectiveness of diversity and inclusion, I also recognize that ensuring a proper implementation of these strategies is and should be the responsibility across departmental teams, including the individual employee. Public Relations drives a greater value for D&I efforts if we ensure our industry is representative of the values we are advocating for. Similarly, an organization’s message should be rooted within insights and human truths versus only research learned through third-party narratives. We must ensure that our voices drive impact and arguably more important, that they resonate and connect with our audiences in a way that is uniquely relevant to them.
Diversity & Inclusion must go beyond checking a box and achieving a percentage point of an employee demographic. It must be woven within the fabric and ethos of an organization and stand for everything the organization values.
Andy Checo is the president of the Hispanic Public Relations Association and associate vice president at Hispanic PR Agency, Havas FORMULATIN. He is based in New York City.