In the first post of this series, I suggested there are four basic approaches to dealing with diversity topics on the corporate and career websites. I’m going to call them:
1. Not a Problem. Say nothing, except by implication.
2. Just the Facts. Post a policy or statement.
3. Effectively Engaged. Expand diversity messaging.
4. Devoted to Diversity. Make diversity a major feature.
Ideally, the strategy selected should fit the company—and realistically, the primary difference between a company that can use strategy 1 and a company that needs strategy 4 is size. The relative diversity reputation of a company may also be a factor (for example, a company trying to make up for poor PR in this area may need to be more aggressive), and some industry sectors may require more diversity initiative than others.
While none of the four strategies is inherently good or bad, each has both virtues and pitfalls. Here’s a quick summary of the pros and cons—based on common sense and my own observations:
|Not a Problem||Suggests the company is confident about diversity.||May suggest company does not care about diversity.|
|Just the Facts||Provides information without overemphasis.||May appear to be merely lip service.|
|Effectively Engaged||Demonstrates a significant commitment.||Message may become fragmented.|
|Devoted to Diversity||Makes it clear diversity is a primary value in the company.||May appear to be patronizing, exploitative or exploitative.|
To find examples, I visited three sites that I already like, on the assumption that they are probably doing the right thing! And one more that’s a diversity leader. So here we go:
Umpqua Bank, with about 1700 employees (9% minorities, 77% women), represents Not a Problem. No specific mention of diversity, just a brief, pleasant message about empowerment.
And although the Diversity portion of their Careers website is low-key in presentation, it is extensive and effective. A badge box revolves a series of diversity awards (they have more than two dozen), and sub-pages profile Sodexo “Champions of Diversity” and describe Employee Network Groups that cover a wide range of affinities. With over 100,000 employees, Sodexo is about half minority and more than half female.
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