Take a look at PRSA Orlando’s May Newsletter.
By Alyssa Badalamenti, PRSA Orlando Diversity and Inclusion Chair
When you don’t respond to something within a crisis, your silence makes it seem like you don’t care.
We know this specifically as public relations professionals because this is PR Crisis 101.
When a large mistake is made within your company and it affects people negatively, people expect a company response to show you care.
When a tragedy happens within the public, people expect (or at least appreciate) a company response to show you care.
If you don’t publicly recognize that you do care about diversity and inclusion, your silence will make it seem like you don’t care.
What would reasonable people appropriately expect a responsible organization to do in this situation?
Big brands responding to a lack of diversity and inclusion in recent years has created a shift and an expectation for all companies to step up. Each of your stakeholders in the case of diversity expects you to publicly address it as part of your company values.
Will silence be seen as indifference?
Calling out that you’re supportive of actionable policies and positive changes made to address diversity and inclusion is the expectation. If you’re not part of this message, it could be perceived that your company is indifferent to it.
Will those who matter to us expect us to do or say something?
It’s become equally as important to the public as it is to employees and stakeholder groups that you are using good workplace practices and taking steps to make everyone feel included and recognized.
And minority group or not, your most loyal and active audience expects you to be on top of diversity and inclusion. With appropriate diversity and inclusion messaging, even a latent public can become closer to your brand, which is good for business too.
If we wait to respond, do we lose the ability to influence the outcome?
You know the saying, “Now is already too late.” And chances are you’re already behind on this effort.
But in this case, it’s never too late to take a stance publicly because your audience expects your efforts to constantly evolve.
This isn’t a “set it and forget it” message. Diversity and inclusion messaging should continue as long as you expect your company to thrive.
Give diversity and inclusion the time it’s worth by making company efforts more dynamic, then communicate the message that you do care loudly and often. Your audience expects it.
Not a member of PRSA yet or considering rejoining?
In April, new and reinstated members pay no initiation fee and receive one year of Section membership for free. That’s a savings of up to $130!
Use code “APRIL19” on sign-up and don’t forget to select PRSA Orlando Regional as your local chapter.
Take a look at PRSA Orlando’s April Newsletter.
April is APR Month — but APR Month has nothing to do with Annual Percentage Rates. A second, less recognized, definition for APR is Accreditation in Public Relations.
In the world of communication professionals, Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) is a credential earned by public relations practitioners who commit to the profession through ethical practices and sound judgment, strategic perspectives, knowledge of best practices and the use of the research planning-implementation-evaluation (RPIE) process.
Unlike other professions (e.g., physicians and attorneys), the field of public relations does not require licensure or certification to practice the craft. But it does require expertise, knowledge and training to be a successful and strategic public relations professional and counselor. The decision to pursue the APR is both personal and professional.
So why should a company or organization care if its public relations employees have earned their APR?
Accreditation is a mark of distinction. The APR is earned through a rigorous process. Practitioners are required to present their knowledge to Accredited peers for review. This is followed by a comprehensive examination that tests candidates’ knowledge of the field. Perhaps most importantly, the credential signifies an understanding and commitment to a Code of Ethics, and ability to think and plan at the strategic level.
In today’s business climate, it is critical that an organization’s public relations function adheres to ethics. The complexities associated with technology, societal change and instantaneous news make ethics more important than ever as the profession matures.
As evidenced in a recent study completed by faculty at Baylor University*, Accredited public relations practitioners possess more confidence in providing ethical counsel to senior leadership than their non-Accredited peers. In today’s business climate, a solid understanding of ethics is critical to an organization’s success.
The public relations field has moved far beyond the stereotype of spin doctors and press agents of the 20th century. Today’s PR practitioners play a vital role in reputation management, crisis communications and issues management. A seasoned public relations pro operates at the strategic level, focusing on target audiences and measurable results, not just flashy media coverage and publicity tactics.
But how do companies and organizations know they are hiring the right person? The APR credential signifies that a professional possesses the competence necessary to operate at a strategic and ethical level in an increasingly complex communications world. Hiring managers and clients who choose Accredited public relations professionals know that they have chosen competent individuals committed to providing strategic and insightful advice and counsel.
2019 marks the 55th anniversary of Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) — and our Orlando chapter has a lot to celebrate. Join us at the April program for a special recognition of our 60+ APRs in Central Florida.
Take a look at PRSA Orlando’s March Newsletter.
Authored by Mimi Flatley, APR, Co-VP of Accreditation
A few years ago, a colleague and I spoke during a university communications class about how we started in our respective careers. We began by asking the soon-to-be grads where they hoped to work after college: For a sports team, at a large health care organization, in the hospitality industry, for a leading tech company, and so on. I wasn’t surprised that not one answer was the industry I’ve spent the past decade working in—the industry that builds the stadiums, hospitals, theme parks and offices these students hoped to work in—construction.
Communications in the construction industry was not on my radar after college. But there is no place I’d rather be. While the numbers aren’t that impressive – women make up less than 9 percent of the construction workforce according to the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) – the women I work with truly shine.
Companies who “get it” address the gaps and offer ways to support diverse groups. At Turner Construction, for example, our Women Impacting Turner (WIT) employee resource group serves as a support system in the company to foster awareness, respect and inclusion. Turner Orlando’s WIT group includes a roster of more than 50 employees with a mission to work as a diverse team to build knowledge of business and leadership skills, and empower each other to develop and maintain work environments that recognize and cultivate a culture of diversity.
Each year during NAWIC’s Women in Construction Week, the group organizes professional development, community outreach, and networking events to highlight women in our industry. This helps empower women in construction. Just this past week, the group attended jobsite tours hosted by female project managers, attended safety classes, and highlighted the success of tradeswomen, an even smaller percentage of the construction workforce (3 percent).
As a communications professional, I’m glad the numbers don’t scare me. In my role today, I’m surrounded by engineers, safety managers, superintendents, and project managers – women – who are building the future. When women support each other, our numbers do not decrease our impact.
Take a look at PRSA Orlando’s February Newsletter.
Authored by Alyssa Badalamenti, Diversity & Inclusion Chair for the PRSA Orlando chapter
The PRSA Orlando chapter recently selected 12 members of diverse backgrounds to participate in an open discussion on diversity and inclusion. During the first-time experimental event, Dinner, Diversity, and Dialogue provided an opportunity for sharing personal experiences followed by a focused brainstorm on ways to support PRSA members at their organizations and extend the chapter’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.
The participants ranged from a diverse demographic makeup of varied genders, races, religions, orientations, ages, experience levels and industries. We also engaged a facilitator, Bill Hertan, to guide our conversation. He brought with him 30 years of experience in leadership and organizational development. He has lead diversity and inclusion efforts at several Fortune 500 companies and runs his own consultancy.
We immediately heard comments such as, “I’ve been waiting for something like this,” and, “I’m so glad PRSA Orlando is stepping up to the plate to directly address diversity.”
We learned that diversity and inclusion guidelines could help members when they face challenges within their own organizations, and members could use support from PRSA by creating its own best practices.
But what does a diversity and inclusion model look like?
One idea was to mimic the PRSA Code of Ethics model and co-produce guidelines with other associations, specifically with human resource management groups. PRSA National has also created a Diversity and Inclusion toolkit for chapters to use to increase diversity and inclusion within their membership. This toolkit could serve as a starting point for organizations to create their own diversity and inclusion model.
While there are not yet structured diversity and inclusion policies for communications professionals like there are for ethics, diversity and inclusion starts with intentional workplace practices. There are common themes and insights that can be used to benchmark progress. For example, we learned that simply acknowledging how our chapter embraces diversity and how we aspire to improve our efforts resulted in positive feedback and discussion. Companies that endeavor to address the issue will also experience deepened morale.
Below are some key takeaways from our discussion at supper:
- Talk about it, talk about it, TALK ABOUT IT.
- Never stop talking about ways to advance diversity and inclusion.
- “When I walk into a room, there’s nobody that looks like me.”
- Look around the table. Representation matters.
- It’s not just a box to check.
- It’s important to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
FROM THEN TO NOW
- BACK THEN: Leave yourself outside of the door when you go to work.
- “I remember being told, ‘Don’t tell anyone in business because you’ll never work the same way again.’”
- TODAY: Bring your full self to work.
- “I came out at work by simply putting a photo of my family at my desk.”
HOW DOES DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION AFFECT OUR COMMUNICATION?
- Experiences define our world view.
- Our unique experiences shape how we communicate.
- Lead by example.
- We tend to look toward large organizations to lead the way in how we communicate to diverse audiences. Calling out prejudice is important, even if the company is not directly involved.
- Learn from mistakes.
- We also learn from other companies’ mistakes regarding diversity. Inaction can be perceived just as negatively as being tone-deaf.
- Executive involvement is important.
- Your level at the company typically affects your comfort level of addressing bias.
IT STARTS AT THE HR LEVEL
- Hire leaders who “get it.”
- Hire leaders who promote an environment of “being yourself.”
- Write it in the job description.
- Emphasize the importance of diversity and inclusion in job descriptions.
- Set the tone.
- Highlight the business case for expanding diversity and inclusion goals.
- Is it apparent in the company culture?
- Embed diversity and inclusion in the company culture in specific ways.
- Measure against goals.
- Could accountable actions as part of the employee review process help advance diversity and inclusion?
WHAT COMPANIES CAN DO FROM THE GET-GO:
- Acknowledge: Acknowledging that you want to improve diversity and inclusion in your organization speaks loudly.
- Communicate: Proper communication is the cornerstone of addressing diversity head-on.
- Represent: Provide visual representation of diversity in photos that convey a message of inclusion.
- Guide: Provide solid tools and guidelines of diversity and inclusion within your branding and strategy.
THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF EQUALITY
- Intent is not equal to development.
- The recent example of Starbucks holding an employee diversity training day to address racial bias seemed like a “quick fix” attempt instead of providing a deeper development of its company culture.
- Not everyone feels comfortable talking about it.
- It’s wise to incorporate anonymous surveys to make sure everyone has a voice.
- AND, it doesn’t always need to be talked about.
- Making comments about differences, over-correcting, or including someone just to “check the box” can actually make that person feel less included or singled out.
- It takes more than one person.
- Just having a “Diversity and Inclusion Leader” is not enough. One person cannot represent an entire group.
At the very least, the consensus was that the public relations profession can promote the importance of diversity and inclusion within agencies, corporations and with clients through strategic counsel, communications and recruiting.
Companies should start by implementing or revamping diversity and inclusion policies. It’s equally important to hire diverse talent that reflects their audiences to better understand unique cultural perspectives.
By embedding diversity and inclusion within company culture, incorporating good workplace practices, and having a team that represents diverse individuals, companies can better relate to their audiences, avoid tone-deaf mistakes, and enhance their business.
We look forward to hearing more from you about how PRSA can help communications professionals address diversity and inclusion in the profession and at large. We welcome suggestions from all of our members. Please reach out to PRSA Orlando’s Diversity and Inclusion Chair, Alyssa Badalamenti, to continue the discussion and provide feedback.
Take a look at PRSA Orlando’s January Newsletter.