Citi. Boeing. Adidas. The list of companies pledging to hire more Black employees in response to the social unrest sparked this summer in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others is long. And the renewed call for greater diversity in leadership across industries appears more forceful than ever. Our communications industry is no exception. In fact, our field has long been disproportionately white. As a firm with a long interest in issues of diversity, it is something that Taft is working hard to change. But it is not without its challenges for a smaller firm, outside a major city, that is competing for talent with some of the larger agencies.
The increased employment opportunities and higher compensation packages for people of color, women, members of the LGBTQ community, and other marginalized employees is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. Our most recent talent searches indicate that increased demand for employees of color seems to have boosted the salaries for candidates at all levels. And that is certainly a positive thing, as it helps to begin to address the financial inequities these individuals have long endured.
But is it enough?
Click to tweet: Adding #diversity cannot be the sole goal for a company. It must be accompanied by true inclusion and equity, which takes work. It takes intention, commitment and communicating to make clear that “DEI” is not just an acronym but a lived value. http://ow.ly/3PsZ50CNdFJ @taftcomms
Employees tend to gravitate to people with a shared history or experience, or other commonalities. That’s human nature. They also want to have their differences not just respected, but appreciated, and everyone wants to be treated fairly and equally and have a clear path for career advancement.
That means adding diversity cannot be the sole goal for any company. It must be accompanied by true inclusion and equity — and that takes work. It takes intention and commitment. It also means using our core skill — communications — to make clear to our teams that “DEI” is not just an acronym but a lived value.
At Taft, we are committed to diversifying our team at all levels AND building on our culture of equity and inclusion. We have stepped up our efforts to ensure that every employee feels like they belong and have a sense of power and influence, regardless of race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or ability.
As we actively seek new talent to join us, we are striving to not just find diverse talent at all levels. Equally important to us, is finding talent that share our values and are committed to do the work that each of us as individuals needs to do to eliminate the injustice, inequity, and discrimination that women, people of color, and other marginalized groups have faced for centuries. We are committed to do that in our workplace and use our skills to advance organizations on the front lines of fighting for racial justice.
Let’s hope all these new hires being integrated into every organization, large and small, especially those new to the workplace, land in a place where the value they bring is recognized, cultivated, and rewarded.
Yes, the expansion of opportunities for Black, Latinx, and other employees of color is a positive step, but ensuring a culture within which all employees can thrive is the only real solution.