Silence is not golden when there is an expectation of caring

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.

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