Using Social Media To Support Diversity & Inclusion in The Workplace

January 5th, 2019

There are now more than 3 billion active social media users around the world. A staggering number, especially when you consider the Earth's population is 7.5 billion.

But it should be no surprise that almost half of the world's population is on social. Living in the hyper-connected age privileges us to speak to anyone in the world instantly, witness first-hand how people in other cultures live and, due to the sheer amount of data and attention social networks receive on a daily basis, address important societal and professional problems.

Speak to any of the great leaders and CEO’s, and they will tell you diversity of culture and team were critical to their success. Gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers. Ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same. Yet while the diversity and inclusion question is constantly debated, it is still one many organisations are nowhere near answering.

As we all know, diversity and inclusion is not just about hitting a percentage. Fostering it means looking beyond quotas to more meaningful and multidimensional solutions.

To effect real change, D&I initiatives need to transcend the traditional boundaries between internal and external communications. This means raising awareness and holding conversations within and between both spheres, simultaneously. Where better to do so than on platforms designed for mass social connectivity?

The faster organisations adopt social networks for this purpose, the faster they will achieve a truly representative workforce that is diverse and inclusive at all levels. Let me show you how this works:

Refine D&I policy faster: Use communities to gather feedback at scale

The road to true diversity and inclusion is typically thought of as being long and painful. Big companies with complex organisational structures take time to transform; policy roll-outs and revamps can go on for years.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Because it can be utilised to generate feedback on the initiatives relevant communities would like to see, social media enables rapid iteration and refining of D&I policy.

Twitter can be used to create polls, Facebook to share feedback forms, and mass conversations can take place on subreddits, to name a few of the possibilities. Why spend years on something that could take you months? Also: inclusion means including all people in your decision-making processes. By utilising all members of the communities that are already there, you are living and breathing your D&I commitment.

Fight ‘Employer Blanding’: Communicate directly to minority demographics

Social media helps employers cut through the spin, acronyms and corporate jargon that put many well-suited individuals off applying.

From Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to Snapchat, Whatsapp, Reddit and Slack, social platforms can be co-opted to open up direct communication channels between demographics: an Afro-Caribbean candidate can speak freely, openly and without oversight to a member of the employer’s internal network of Afro-Caribbean employees; a candidate with disability can ask an employee with disability about workplace accessibility; a headhunted female executive can message a present female executive to discuss boardroom culture.

In an age when people are bombarded by advertising on an almost minute-by-minute basis, people are drowning in information – and thirsting for knowledge. So quit with the traditional blanketed employer brand campaigns. When communicating D&I employer value propositions to candidates from minority backgrounds, it is direct, personalised and authentic conversation that works best.

Measure Your Culture: Use data to track your progress

One of the most transformational benefits of social media is analytics: real-time access to data that tells you about your communities and the ways in which they interact with your employer brand.

For the employer that scales their brand on social media, these analytics tools are an excellent gauge of the diversity and inclusivity of their community of workers and potential workers. Social media datapoints can be used to set diversity benchmarks, track progress and revise strategy.

Social channels are a reflection of both an organisation and its culture. If your channels have diverse communities interacting with content that speaks to them, their cultural background, their life-situation and all of the other things that make a person unique – well, you’ll have made a pretty good case as being one of the most diverse and inclusive employers on the planet.

Recruitd Social is an employer branding and recruitment marketing agency that specialises in activating EVPs via social media. Learn more here.