- Shreya Rajagopalan
Authentic DEIB and the PR Industry
What do businesses seek, resultant to the people-centric calamities that are being rightfully voiced and brought up all over the world? From the Black Lives Matter movement to the Stop Asian Hate campaign, oppression and discrimination among people are being voiced out. Businesses must do their part in contributing to the positive change that is so being fought for. Businesses, to make an impactful change, must go beyond simply making politically neutral/acceptable statements about these movements and should rather enable systematic incorporation of DEIB in their organizations.
DEIB stands for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belongingness in business.
While industries strive to achieve maximum DEIB incorporation, let’s talk about the central issues faced by organizations in their attempts to include diversity in their work culture, and why the PR industry holds an edge over its counterparts in this aspect
What is the central issue of DEIB incorporation in business?
Inauthenticity and lack of practical diversity is the central issue at hand. There is a gap between the theory and practice of DEIB in the workplace, especially Inclusion and Belongingness among employees. This famed poetic verse saying, “Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink” is an appropriate representation of the state of inclusion programs/policies in organizations today. The above line suggests that despite being surrounded by something, you cannot benefit from it. In our context, ‘water’ refers to the actual, practical presence of inclusivity and equity among people. So then why is the achievement of this goal so close, yet so far?
Despite the presence of a vast and diverse pool of workers, the feeling of equity and belongingness is still lacking. Inclusivity means that everyone in the organization has a voice, and Equity is when all of these voices are heard sans bias. Diversity does not, by default, lead to equity among employees.
Here is where the concept of Practical Diversity comes in. This diversity does not end once you hire a diverse workforce, in fact, it only begins at the hiring stage. The unconscious biases and behaviours resulting from differences in the workplace, which are the cause of lack of belongingness and equity, must be addressed critically to really call oneself a DEIB aware and inclusive workplace. These efforts to address issues that may arise from the recruiting of a diverse workforce should be the real focus of DEIB incorporation.
Companies with above-average diversity yield a 19% higher innovation rate and profit margin, according to research done by Harvard Business Review regarding the six dimensions of diversity (migration, industry, career path, gender, education, age) and how it drives businesses’ financial performance.
Why is the PR industry ideal for DEIB incorporation in business?
In our most recent blog article, The Evolution of Women In PR, We briefly spoke about how PR itself proved to be an ideal ground for women to prove their capabilities and worth in the business world.
People connect with other people based on multiple factors, both conscious and subconscious. Public Relations is a field that depends on good relations and a good impression on the stakeholders of an organization. No impression can be paid for, it can only be induced. Conscious efforts to do so come in the form of learned social skills, communication strategies, gradual personalization of relationships with stakeholders; General maintenance of a good, woven image of the organization is the goal.
Subconscious efforts to induce a good impression, however, revolve around the organization’s work culture and people composition. The foundation of trust is ethics. A diverse and culture-rich workforce is reflective of a healthy, ethical organization. Moreover, PR is a field that deals with clients of a vast variety, unlike the Advertising industry which deals with target groups and communities. Diversity in such situations can help establish a feeling of belongingness among clients and employees and perpetuate deeper, and hence more lasting relationships with stakeholders.
What can we conclude from this?
We can conclude that diversity thrives in the PR industry. It can even be said that DEI&B incorporation transcends beyond being a mere quota requirement in the PR industry due to its proximity with the soul of the industry, that is, People. Diversity and Inclusion of people will help in progressing PR, whose future is the personalization of its functions. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belongingness in businesses have come a long way in PR and will continue to be the component that enables this industry to adapt to its rapid modernization in the present day.