Updated: Jan 9
Communication is one area where you can make a real difference in how connected and involved everyone in your organisation feels. Our communications, internal and external, are incredibly visible. As a result, they can come to define your organisation’s culture and so must communicate your approach to inclusivity too.
According to research by Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers say a diverse workforce is important when they consider applying for a new role, so how you present yourself through external comms can have an impact on the candidates you attract. Inclusive comms certainly affect business goals too as organisations that showcase diversity as a matter of routine tend to see an increase in customer buy-in too according to research.
If that sounds like a big responsibility, don’t worry. We’ve got five simple ways to make sure your communications are as inclusive as possible.
Confront your own bias.
None of us like to think that we are biased, but the truth is that we all are. However, overcoming it is a process that begins with simply acknowledging and identifying your own hidden bias. This can be achieved with straightforward online tests, but you can also move forward by just accepting that no-one is perfect.
Start by developing your understanding of inclusion within your organisation – make this specific to your business, not the generic explanations you’ll find online. Then move forward in every communication keeping that understanding and awareness in mind.
A picture speaks 1,000 words.
It’s vital to remember that communications are more than words alone and, though your copy team may not like to admit it, it’s often the images you share which will stick in the mind of your internal and external audiences the longest. Therefore, selecting images that represent the full spectrum of employees at your organisation is vital. And that goes beyond race, gender and disability – think age, body type, even tattoos. Does the image you’re using reflect the people you see at work every day? The same goes for any video content you put out there for the world to see.
Always opt for captions.
Captions, subtitles, and transcripts are an absolute must when sending out any visual communications. This is a simple fix but makes a huge difference when talking about inclusivity as without captions or alt text on images, for example, anyone using a screen reader cannot access the information they contain.
To make our communications truly inclusive, it’s vital to consider that every single person communicates, and interacts with communications, differently. Therefore, providing more options allows more people to engage and, considering that up to 92% of video is viewed without sound, taking the time to add subtitles makes your comms significantly more accessible to more people.
Use inclusive language.
You may not notice when you’re using exclusive language, but the people you are excluding will. For example, using the term ‘guys’ to address a mixed-gender group, perhaps unconsciously, excludes anyone who doesn’t identify as male. Or something as simple as only using team acronyms, rather than full names, might exclude new starters who just don’t know the lingo.
Adapt to suit your audience and, if in doubt, use online tools to determine if your language is inclusive or exclusive. The Conscious Style Guide is a great resource if you’ve had feedback from specific groups as it breaks down the exclusive language into categories like age and disability.
Be open and transparent.
Transparency is an asset in communications. Being open with your employees and customers alike is key to building a strong relationship, and that remains true whether you’re communicating good news or being frank about your failings.
It’s also vital to be open-minded about whose voices you choose to elevate within your organisation. Inclusivity means all voices should be heard and, done effectively, which can have a huge impact on business. Though 54% of employees feel they don’t get respect from employers, 48% believe it’s the most important factor in a culture of inclusion. So hear your team out, listen to what they have to say, and respect their voices. What better way to show that than by letting them have a say in your comms?
This article was written by DRPG copywriter Alice Salter. We couldn't say it better and therefore want to share, thank you, Alice.