Diversity and inclusion within companies, business schools and in the media has become a much wider discussion over recent years, and rightly so. More and more people are learning the importance of inclusion, and more action is being taken every day. Whilst there is still a long way to go, every step taken is a step closer to equity. Business schools are no strangers to this, with many schools championing themselves as leaders in diversity and inclusion. This is often seen through their communications efforts, but how exactly is it done and why is it so important?
Diversity is a beautiful thing. Having classrooms filled with people from all walks of life is beneficial to your school’s community. After all, a business education should bring so much more than just a degree. It should bring real life experiences, connections, and understanding. By having a classroom filled with representation from different communities, your school can provide this experience for its students.
There are many different ways that business school communications can promote their diversity and inclusion efforts. One such way is through their PR. It goes without saying that PR really is an incredibly powerful tool. Good PR will give your school the chance to show off all of the work that is being done to benefit society and your students. But promoting your diversity and inclusion efforts is not as simple as just writing an article about what your school is doing.
How to promote your diversity and inclusion efforts
Whilst it is great to show the world what work is being done at your school, it is vital to give a voice to those that it is being done with and for. For example, if your school is working to dismantle barriers that face those with disabilities, don’t just talk about how wonderful the school is. Provide students who this will affect with the power to speak about it. Allow them to speak on their own experiences. It is great to get an insight from everyone involved, just be sure not to speak over the ones who matter most. This goes for all of your communication efforts, make sure that the people you are writing about never feel overshadowed.
When writing blogs and newsletters for your school’s website, remember that open discussions about diversity and inclusion helps to build an inclusive, supportive culture. It will keep students engaged and active in the community. Embracing people’s differences, no matter what they are, will help students and staff alike to feel welcome in their unique spaces. Blogs are a great way to make a space for regular conversation about the school. Here, students can get an idea of what is happening in the background to provide them with more support.
Similarly, newsletters being regularly delivered to the mailboxes of the school community is a really excellent way of celebrating little wins amongst the community, whether it be someone winning an award, a new ramp being put in place, or a new club being set up for different minority groups, newsletters are an amazing way to help everyone feel included, and to update everyone on the wins and efforts being made by their peers to make the school feel more inclusive.
So, why are all of these different communication efforts important?
As stated throughout this blog, promoting diversity and inclusion efforts in your schools’ communications is so important. Doing this will help people in your schools’ community to feel welcome and included. Not only does it positively impact people in your community, it shows potential students from diverse groups that if they choose your school, there will be a space for them there.
Alongside this, diversity and inclusion communications can help to start conversations. Business schools are influential leaders, and they create future leaders. By including everyone in your efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, your school is paving the way for others to do the same. Those conversations are critical in creating a world where everyone can thrive, no matter their background or “ability”.
Teaching people how to work effectively with people who are different to them is also incredibly necessary. If you have a group of people trying to work together, but who all see things solely from their point of view based on their lived experience, it can be extremely difficult for them to come together and agree on anything. By promoting diversity and inclusion in your school, you are also enabling students to learn more about the world around them, and how to adjust their own attitudes. Your communications will help people to learn about topics that they may not have been aware of before.
If your schools champion themselves on their diversity and inclusion efforts, make sure they are walking the walk. Within conversations around diversity and inclusion, there will come new topics and change. Try to grow and change with those conversations. Remember, diversity and inclusion communications have real effects on real people, so never stop encouraging necessary change.
Georgina is a friendly and dedicated PR professional, committed to producing and sharing compelling stories that achieve impactful results for impressive clients such as EHL Hospitality Business School, ESSEC Business School, Asia School of Business, and many more around the globe.