Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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DEI Best Practices

Some best practices o defining and communications a "diversity, equality and inclusion" (DEI) message as a part of the overarching corporate purpose related to messaging and communication include clear communication of goals and outcomes, and custom D&I messages. Another best practices include developing the "tone of internal messaging."

Clear Communication of Goals and Outcomes

  • A DBP Research Request on diversity best practices published by Diversity Best Practices web reveal that clear communication of "goals and outcomes" is the best practice for DEI communications to reflect overarching corporate purpose.
  • A sustainable brand resource on how to communicate diversity and inclusion while a company isn't quite there reveals the benefit of clear communication of goals. Celebrating the DEI accomplishments, owning up to weaknesses, and clearly communicating challenges, while presenting "a plan for improvement" is very important. This style of communication makes an audience appreciate the honesty of a brand. It also demonstrates that the brand is taking its "goals and commitments seriously."
  • Companies that "clearly communicate" their DEI messages by stating challenges and presenting a plan for improvement (stating DEI goals) are considered to be transparent.
  • In 2015, Salesforce conducted an internal audit and found a "pay disparity between men and women." This disparity is a common problem among Silicon Valley tech giants. Instead of covering its findings up, CEO Marc Benioff saw this as an opportunity to drive the industry forward.
  • Salesforce spent $3 million on paycheck adjustments by the end of 2015, and also launched an equality website to publicly publish its entire diversity statistics. By doing this, Sustainablebrands web suggests that transparency now holds Salesforce accountable for progress.
  • Intel has strategies in place to clearly communicate organizational D&I goals and also provide oversight and direction to its seven leadership councils. Intel's employee resource group (ERG) has 129 chapters in the United States and 39 globally. The intersection between Intel's global D&I office, leadership councils as well as ERGs align "on-the-ground diversity" initiatives (goals) to Intel's overarching D&I goals.
  • Intel is an American manufacturer of semiconductor devices and computer circuits.

Content and Custom D&I Messages

  • A DBP Research Request on diversity best practices published by Diversity Best Practices web reveal that having a customized diversity and inclusion (D&I) message content is the best practice.
  • Brands should create content and custom D&I messages which help communications teams deliver relate with leadership, middle managers, as well as the general employee population.
  • Organizations are advised to define what diversity means to them. Customization of content and messaging is essential, and "copying and pasting generic statements or policies" should be avoided.
  • Organizations should ensure that diversity and inclusion are embedded in their recruitment and onboarding communications. The recruitment process is usually one of the hottest areas to implement a D&I strategy. A significant quantity of "non-verbal" communication, which occurs during the hiring and staff onboarding, should be reviewed to ensure it reflects the right content.
  • Organizations should also evaluate their entire recruitment as well as the onboarding process for written communication to ensure it aligns with their D&I strategy. This communication should include commitment statements, in an inclusive language which matches with the positioning of an organization.
  • Eagle's Flight provides diversity and inclusion training programs in North America. Its programs help companies to customize their unique needs and ensure their content "resonates with the realities" of their workplaces.
  • Eagles Flight helps companies to design/build a "custom solution" for their unique needs. The company helps corporations add an inclusion message to their company events in an experiential way.
  • Coca-cola customizes its communications to reflect its care for "the particular values of the community."

Internal Messaging Tone

  • A DBP Research Request on diversity best practices published by Diversity Best Practices web reveals that developing a tone for internal messaging is the best practice when defining and communicating a DEI message to overarch the purpose of corporations.
  • A study on requirements for a diverse and inclusive culture in the workplace states that diversity and inclusion improvement plans need to reflect the "tone and values set at the" top-level (this refers to messaging tone and values defined/designed by management).
  • When "designing a diversity and inclusion (D&I)" messaging/communications strategy, it is the best practice to define the tone/standards for inclusive language in every communication. The use of phrases or tones that portray prejudice, stereotype, or discriminatory ideas/views of specific people or groups should be avoided.
  • Help Scout has "set the tone" for its company values and practices reflecting the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The company has an intentional tone for its new hire onboarding process and has added a separate presentation related to diversity and inclusion.
  • Help Scout recently audited its public-facing content to ensure inclusivity. This audit verified the language across the Help Scout website to ensure that it is welcoming to everyone as much as possible.
  • Over 10,000 businesses trust Help Scout in about 140 countries, including the United States. Some companies that trust Help Scout include GrubHub, Trello, Slack, HubSpot, Salesforce, Shopify, and so on.
  • Coca-cola maintains a tone which reflects that relays the messaging that it "cares about the particular values of the community" diverse hires through culturally-based publications, events as well as websites. The tone used by coca-cola does not impose the view of a broader majority on people who "don't share the same beliefs or customs."

Research Strategy

The research investigated best practices around defining and communications of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) message as a part of the overarching corporate purpose. This process reviewed several resources on communications of diversity, equity, and inclusion, such as a recent DBP research request publication. This article discussed diversity best practices implemented by various diversity and inclusion councils related to DEI messaging. Some of these messaging reflected the overarching D&I goals of companies such as Intel. The research has verified that these best practices appear across a plethora of resources, and some D&I councils/organizations are implementing them.
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DEI Case Studies

Johnson & Johnson and Cisco are two giant manufacturing companies that have implemented successful diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies. Both companies include D&I in their corporate strategy to boost innovation and business performance. Their strategy involves employee resource groups, communication campaigns, as well as employing C-level executives to supervise its implementation.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J)

  • The company is implementing its vision for diversity and inclusion (D&I) through employee resource groups, mentoring programs, as well as a dynamic website nicknamed "Diversity University". The aim of this website is to assist employees in understanding how working as an inclusive team can be beneficial.
  • J&J has 12 employee resource groups, representing a variety of identities from Asians to Afro-Americans, as well as Hispanics and other groups. These are led by volunteers from the organization, and their mission is to provide the company with key insights on how to use shared affinities and experiences between different cultures and groups into initiatives that benefit all of the company and its employees.
  • The company has highlighted the importance of diversity and inclusion by employing a Chief Diversity Officer, who reports directly to the CEO and Chairman of the company.
  • The company has won a multitude of awards and featured in a variety of top diversity rankings for its efforts, such as Working Mother 100 Best list and U.S. Veterans Magazine Best of the Best.
  • J&J has a clear vision for D&I which is to harness all positive aspects of it to push for superior business performance and a sustained competitive edge.
  • The multinational giant clearly outlines that its mission is to include D&I into its way of conducting business.

How J&J Communicates the Strategy

  • J&J has set up a global D&I strategy built around three pillars to address the issues related to facing these challenges.
  • The three pillars include the promotion of a culture of inclusion and diversity within the company, the importance of having a diverse workforce to meet the needs of diverse clients, and the necessity of a diverse workforce to drive innovation and growth.
  • Thanks to its efforts in promoting D&I throughout the years, J&J has managed to feature in top rankings for diversity and inclusion for the last 28 years.
  • As part of its efforts in promoting D&I in its ranks, J&J has launched awards to reward the best initiatives aimed at improving D&I and business in 2018.
  • J&J has also used an internal communication campaign entitled "You Belong" to help boost D&I in the workplace. This specific campaign was aimed at helping employees be themselves at work, by creating a safe inclusive space for everyone. Its main target was employees with less confidence in themselves.


  • Cisco uses the power of inclusion in diversity to boost innovation, meet business challenges, and make the most of the opportunities on offer.
  • The company has many D&I initiatives, including Pay Parity for All, Cisco UK Gender Pay Gap Report, Take a Stand for Social Justice, Connected Health and Education, and Cisco LifeChanger.
  • It has launched a Global Inclusion and Diversity Council in 2007.
  • Its mission was to elaborate a D&I vision, strategy and implementation plan, create new employee resource groups, define metrics to measure the impact of increased diversity in the workforce, and promote policies that encourage the development of an inclusive work environment.
  • Cisco claims that its executive team is one of the most diverse in the tech industry, with around 40% of women.
  • In its U.S. workforce, only 53% of its employees are from a white Caucasian background.
  • The company has a Chief People Officer whose role is to make sure that employees have the best environment to perform, including in terms of inclusion and diversity.

How Cisco Communicates the Strategy

  • Cisco achieved this diversity by using technology to better map the talent market, create job advertisements that can appeal to a variety of candidates from different cultural backgrounds, and introduce diversity in interview panels.
  • Cisco's drive for D&I is in line with its corporate globalization objectives, as the company has to appeal to a worldwide audience. The company also believes that increased diversity would allow it to compete better, and to innovate more than its competitors.