Internal communications within an organization is an essential element of corporate communications strategies when it comes to ensuring a positive corporate culture, and thus the success of a business.
Communication for promoting diversity within an organization’s culture is a delicate matter that should be approached with sensitivity and understanding. Though employers and HR departments typically make efforts in good faith to promote a culture of diversity and inclusion, it’s often a difficult feat. This is especially true in the tech/finance sectors, traditionally known to be dominated by cisgender men.
Here are a few tips to help companies develop effective internal communication strategies that will help promote a diverse and inclusive work environment. It can be tough to manage multiple outspoken personalities and perspectives within one corporate culture – but taking proactive steps can help ensure you get it right.
- Encourage employees who plan on transitioning from the gender on their birth certificate to the one in which they identify to communicate with HR or a supervisor on their projected timeline and what they need from the company in order to ensure a smooth transition.
Once an employee has shared their plan to transition with the company, ensure you have answers to the right questions. If a company uniform is required, when would they like to begin dressing in accordance with the gender in which they identify? Which restroom do they plan to use? What are their preferred pronouns? Do they plan to go by a different name? Knowing their plans and expectations will ensure you know what they as a valued employee need from the company. It also allows the company time to communicate with supervisors and other employees in advance of the transition in order to prevent the transitioning employee from facing avoidable hurdles which may result if the workforce is uneducated on such matters and the company’s policy on inclusion.
- Make sure you have a plan for addressing employees’ concerns.
What should they do if they feel others within the organization are being insensitive in regards to something like sexual orientation – perhaps through “jokes” or commentary? Again, communication is key. Rather than waiting until an employee lashes out or allowing them to become isolated or feel victimized, the company should have procedures in place that are also incorporated into the company’s internal communications strategy. Unfortunately, many people carry with them unconscious biases, which can lead to unintentional discrimination against those they perceive as “different” from themselves. However, employees should always feel welcome in the workplace.
In order to ensure the right corporate dynamic, employers should encourage employees to bring all such matters to their attention. Ask employees to record any uncomfortable experiences in the workplace relating to their LBGTQ status, and what steps they would like the company to take in order to remedy the situation. By encouraging employees to communicate and work with HR or their supervisor, it will enable the company to rectify the situation before it escalates. Remember that employees may be unaware of the harmful ramifications of their words and actions. Creating an inclusive and welcoming environment requires a strategic approach to internal communications that promotes proactive, two-way communication between the company and its employees.
- When speaking with employees reporting any potential discrimination, employers, managers and HR personnel should be cognizant of their verbal and body language.
The same thing can be said in multiple ways, but carefully selecting your word choice and paying attention to your body language can have a significant impact on how the employee perceives the company’s stance on diversity and inclusion.
Creating an inclusive and welcoming workplace is vital and requires cooperation from both employers and employees. Your internal communications strategy has the power to shape corporate culture and create a welcoming and diverse corporate culture, which will help you recruit and retain top talent.