Sarah Cordivano
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Sarah Cordivano

How to communicate internally about D&I with authenticity

Photo by Arash Asghari on Unsplash.

This blog explores some best practices for communicating internally about D&I at your company. D&I is a topic that many employees feel very passionate about and they want to know what your company is doing or how to get involved. Making resources and key information readily accessible, up to date and useful is very valuable. The advice in this blog is mainly geared towards a D&I team, HR team or communication team who are creating their first internal D&I page on their intranet. Here’s how to get started:

Core Content

As you are planning what content to share to your D&I page, think about what would be most helpful to your employees. Think about what type of questions you get regularly and make sure you cover those on your page. I’d suggest the following core content:

Main Navigation:

  • What does D&I (or I&D, IDB, etc) mean at your company?
    Include: definitions you use, statements or videos defining your vision and values.
  • Who is involved in D&I?
    Highlight your key contacts: this can include your D&I council or advisory board and showcase the team(s) driving D&I.
  • OKRs or Active Projects
    Include: any goals you’ve set or a list of active projects with their key contacts. Provide regular progress updates.

Resources & Links

  • Essential Reading
    Blogs or articles that explain core D&I concepts like allyship, intersectionality, microaggressions, privilege, etc)
  • Training or workshops
    Include links to training you offer on: unconscious bias, anti-harassment, anti-racism, inclusive language, etc.
  • Links to important resources
    Include links to your Speak Up (whistle blowing) system or salary transparency reporting
  • FAQs

Employee Resource Group / Employee Network Program

Blogs

In addition to static content on your page, you can create a schedule of topical posts to publish on an ongoing basis. Consult international calendars of relevant dates (including such dates as Black History Month, Autism Awareness Month, Trans Visibility Day, etc) and create blogs that highlight and celebrate these. It’s even better to invite your Employee Resource Group members to contribute to this content to make sure it is authentic and centers their voices.

You can also create blogs that recap events, list books to read, or highlight: podcasts, youtube videos, webinar recordings or article summaries. The important thing to remember is you do not have to create all the content from scratch, there is so much good stuff out there, you can focus on curating the best and making it easily available. Be sure to also invite your colleagues to submit their favorites.

How to Launch?

Launching your page for the first time can require a lot of preparation. But it’s also a big milestone. Make sure you have all (or at least most) of your core content prepared. Pre-publish a few blog posts as well to show some activity on your page. Be sure to feature your ERGs and give them a lot of visibility on your page.

When you launch you want to make sure you attract attention to your page. If you can, auto-subscribe all employees to receive an announcement or ongoing updates regarding your page! When you launch, also ask your exec team (CEO, leaders) to share within their networks to give more visibility. And if you have weekly newsletters or messages from your exec team sent internally, make sure your launch (and important blogs) are highlighted there. It’s important for company culture that D&I is not seen as just an isolated HR or Branding topic. Engaging your execs in showcasing and communicating your D&I work is just one important way to embed it into your company culture as an essential and strategic business topic.

Ongoing Engagement from your Exec Team

As you create new blog posts, invite your executive team to get involved. They can post blogs directly from their account to give them more visibility or simply comment or share posts onto their pages. Also, as new ERGs launch, ask your executive team to show support for the new groups by commenting and endorsing the initiative.

How to maintain your content and keep it fresh.

To maintain fresh content overtime and keep your audience engaged:

  • Provide regular updates on your main projects and goals (with metrics)
  • Make sure people know how to get involved or how to start their own ERG
  • Follow a blog posting schedule to develop regular, topical content for your page (perhaps 1–2 times per month)
  • Share and highlight blogs, events and announcements by your ERGs
  • Revisit your core content (such as definitions, essential reading, key contacts) twice per year to make sure it is till relevant. If not, update it or add to it!

And a few final notes on tone and impact:

Authenticity

For D&I communication especially, it’s important that the content feels authentic and not too corporate. People want to hear honesty from their organization, not empty promises. I think it’s actually quite powerful to admit to a failure or that something that needs to be improved and then make an honest commitment to invest in a solution. If you are worried that your content does not have the right tone of authenticity, there’s a simple fix for this: ask organizers of your Employee Resource Groups what they think of the tone of the content and take their feedback to heart.

As mentioned above a few times, it’s also important to give the stage to your Employee Resource Groups whenever you can. For example, if it’s March and you were planning on writing a blog about International Women’s Day, invite your Women’s Network to write the post or share the content they are creating into your blog feed. This really helps give authenticity to your posts and highlight the expertise and perspectives of your ERG members.

Good luck!

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This publication explores practical diversity, equity and inclusion guidance for driving change in a global working environment. Header photo credit: @aznbokchoy on Unsplash.

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Sarah Cordivano

Sarah Cordivano

Community Building, Equity, Inclusion and Maps. Former Philadelphian, Current Berliner. Twitter @mapadelphia & LinkedIn.

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