Companies Use Storytelling to Communicate Progress: 5 Reasons to Commit to Diversity and Inclusion

Companies Use Storytelling to Communicate Progress: 5 Reasons to Commit to Diversity and Inclusion

By Karla Santiago, Marketing & PR Specialist at 3BL Media
Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 8:45am

CONTENT: Article

Facebook has figured out how to make an application so appealing that 1.13 billion people log in at least once every day. And Intel is credited with spawning the $300-billion semiconductor market, which touches every aspect of people’s lives daily.

These two highly successful technology businesses don’t have a shortage of smart people, or the cash to get things accomplished. But neither has been able to recruit and retain enough women and underrepresented minority employees. 

Facebook figures from July show that 4 percent of its U.S. employees are Hispanic and 2 percent are black, the same ratio as the past two years. Women make up 33 percent of its global workforce, up from 31 percent in 2014. 

At Intel, which earmarked $300 million for diversity and inclusion efforts in 2015, 24.8 percent of its employees are women, while African-Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics constitute just 12.4 percent of the company’s employees.

The tech sector is not alone in its struggle to make the workforce mirror communities that consume products and services. Corporate boards and CEOs have prioritized diversity and inclusion across nearly every sector — and are leaning heavily on communications teams to foster buy-in from current and prospective employees.

Making CSR a priority

Among the many organizations that have made diversity and inclusion a pillar in their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability efforts, these five companies are focusing on storytelling to communicate progress with stakeholders on a continuous basis. Rather than solely publishing an annual CSR report, this ongoing dialogue encourages engagement and demonstrates transparency and authenticity.

  • At DuPont, the company’s code of conduct has emphasized “Respect for People” since its inception in 1802. Videos and blog posts show recruiting efforts in Spain and celebrate being recognized as a top employer for women and those with disabilities.
  • Astellas, which earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index, created an externally focused campaign around diversity and inclusion. The pharmaceutical company describes its culture this way: “We offer a business atmosphere that promotes teamwork, empowers employees and thrives on openness to effect positive change.” One area of focus is the LGBTQ community. Through their active LGBTQ employee resource group (ERG), known as TAO (Together as One), the company partnered with the Trevor Project to help advance the shared mission of ending suicide among LGBTQ youth. Following the landmark Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015, Astellas showed its support on social media and celebrated with over a million people in downtown Chicago during the LGBTQ Pride Parade. Their consistent support has earned them a number of recognitions for achieving diversity goals every year.
  • AT&T uses its “Connect to Good” blog to communicate a diversity and inclusion commitment. “When I walk through the halls of AT&T offices, I see faces representing the globe. That always makes me proud to share our story — a story of a company that truly embraces diversity,” wrote Cynt Marshall, AT&T’s senior vice president of human resources and chief diversity officer. Promoting diversity and inclusion across their offices brings their blog to life and it stands as a constant opportunity to get a glimpse into a day at an AT&T office.
  • Two companies, Sanofi and Qualcomm, have crowdsourced content from employees across the globe to showcase talent of many colors, ethnicities and orientations. Sanofi has branded its short-form video series “Good Morning Sanofi.” Qualcomm’s “How I Became a Techie” posts feature high-resolution photographs alongside profiles of a diverse collection of employees. Sanofi’s video content provides a different option for people to share and learn more by putting a name with a face. This familiarity is also at the core of Qualcomm’s posts, which contain detailed insight into an employee’s role, career path and more.

Embedding diversity in the culture

There are common elements in the frequency and methodology that these five companies — DuPont, Astellas, AT&T, Sanofi and Qualcomm — employ to communicate about diversity and inclusion. Rather than relying on formal press releases or annual CSR reports, these organizations create a steady stream of stories and multimedia content that involves all employees, not just senior executives.

Apart from the success these companies have achieved, here are five reasons that they continue to embed diversity and inclusion in their culture:

  1. It fosters an innovative and collaborative work environment that helps people become successful.
  2. It promotes teamwork, empowers employees and thrives on openness to effect positive change.
  3. It helps accelerate business growth by creating a vibrant and inclusive environment.
  4. It enables the organization to effectively compete in the global marketplace.
  5. It brings a sense of globalization to the workplace.