Diversity and PR

It is not difficult to identify the importance of diversity-driven planning in today’s business world. Since 2001, DiversityInc has published an annual list of the Top 50 Companies for Diversity. PRSA Tactics interviewed PR representatives from top-ranking companies Sodexo, Coca-Cola, Xerox, and American Express about their company’s perspectives on diversity. The representatives also share how Public Relations plays a crucial role in developing diversity awareness to achieve their company’s objectives. Below are some highlights from PRSA Tactics’ interviews.

Jaya Bohlman, VP of PR for Sodexo, said that diversity is “primarily a business requirement- without it we couldn’t cater to our client’s needs.” To me, this is important because the job of any good PR professional is to fully understand their client to achieve their client’s overall objectives. Without recognizing diversity, the PR department could not do its job, because they would not fully understand their client’s perspective. Sodexo attains diversity in their workplace by having a Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board. Bohlman describes this as a group of seven members who make sure they are attracting and maintaining widespread diversity in their workforce. PR works closely with this board to report their success in maintaining diversity.

Gorki De Los Santos, Communications Manager for Coca-Cola, said diversity, both in the marketplace and workplace, is critical to the company’s sustainability. According to De Los Santos, diversity is crucial for a business’ survival in today’s competitive market. De Los Santos said Coca-Cola’s PR strategy for attracting and retaining diversity includes diversity training programs and education to maintain an “ongoing dialogue” among their employees, suppliers and customers.

Ernest Hicks, Manager of the Corporate Diversity Office for Xerox said that a commitment to diversity is important because, “It creates more diverse work teams — facilitating diversity of thought and more innovative ideas — and it positions Xerox to attract a wider customer base and to address the needs of diverse customers.” This is a great insight, because it covers the importance of diversity in both the inner-workings of the company and in meeting the needs of the customers. Hicks said PR has a role in the diversity of Xerox, by encouraging minority and female-based businesses as suppliers and by creating different diversity-driven programs.

American Express Chief Diversity Officer Kerrie Peraino said diversity is important because it “creates culture of inclusion” and “drives business success.” Peraino said PR plays a major role in diversity by communicating the company initiatives through guest speakers, programs, and networks, both within and outside of the company.

Diversity inclusion is an important tool for maintaining a successful company. A PR department can help diversity initiatives by communicating both to their employees and to their customer base about how the company values diversity and what programs they have to maintain diversity. PR professionals need to recognize the importance of diversity not only when managing within the company, but also when catering to their clients needs.

To read the full interviews and to find out where these companies ranked in the DiversityInc listing, click here.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Michele Reilley.

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One thought on “Diversity and PR

  1. Business Management Advisors

    Very informative article. In addition, when employees work together, it creates unity, raises productivity and improves the bottom line. In order to achieve these results, organizations need to develop a more diversity-friendly culture. It’s important for employers to provide employees with the tools needed through training to understands, accept, and value differences of their coworkers.

    Reply

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