A diversity officer's main responsibility is to promote diversity and inclusion and increase cultural diversity within an organization. Although efforts to increase diversity are plausible, the question lies in the efficacy of diversity officers in maintaining and creating a diverse environment within an agency.
For companies without a diversity officer, the following are effective steps to achieve the goals of a multicultural inclusive agency.
1. Partnerships: A good way to recruit multicultural talent is by partnering with organizations such as BPRS, HPRA, and others, or with diverse universities such as the University of Texas, Austin, or the California State University system, which has the most diverse student population in the country.
2. Development: Developing an internship, scholarship, or mentorship program specifically targeting prospective multicultural employees. Developing skills is also as important as recruiting the diverse PR talents. Companies should ensure employees' awareness of the possibility of growth and promotion to influential roles. Another way to retain talent is to create visibility of executives of color to show employees the possibility of attaining a position of influence.
3. Recognize differences: Demonstrate that your company is culturally knowledgeable and respectful of employees' cultural customs. An easy way to do so is by recognizing legal holidays celebrated by ethnic minorities such as Black History Month (February) and Hispanic Heritage Month (September/October).
By becoming highly involved in the hiring process, PR agencies gain a competitive advantage over their less involved counterparts. By taking multicultural employment into their own hands, agencies have the ability to find the most committed and talented candidate for a position.
Kim Hunter, president/CEO, Lagrant Communications