As future Public Relations practitioners, we all have an ethical obligation to understand how to foster diversity in the workplace in order to enhance the potential of our industry. As you being your career and enter the workplace, having a thorough understanding of the importance and benefits of diversity will strengthen your performance in the field. The first step in understanding diversity is to look at the behaviors that are suppressing it in many workplace environments. The following are four common stereotypes that are present in workplaces that are hindering the potential for a more diverse workforce. Recognizing these before entering the workplace can help you avoid conflict, increase productivity and lead to more efficient communication through developing a passion for diversity.
Family: Oftentimes employees with children are stereotyped as unreliable, unprioritized and unorganized. While finding a balance between family life and work life can be difficult, work ethic should never be discredited based on the desire for a family. Instead co-workers should embrace each others evolving phases of life and encourage one another that being devoted to a successful career and flourishing family is achievable
Gender: The Public relations industry is often categorized as a female-dominated industry, and sexism can play a reverse role compared to other industries. Though, men in the public relations industry need to feel welcomed, integrated and appreciated because they are just as capable to cultivate strong relationships and with their audiences as women. Pushing for a more diverse gender ratio in the PR industry is important to be able to recognize bias and provide a more broad perspective.
Age: Disparity in the workplace can frequently happen because of generational gaps and can unknowingly affect advancement opportunity, workplace moral, and inclusivity. Whether an organization is full of baby boomers or composed of millennials, by no means is ageism an acceptable practice in any business. Experience, dedication and motivation should speak louder than assuming one's strengths and weaknesses based on age. One simple way to become more aware of ageism is to consider the consistency of your tone when interacting with coworkers of different ages.
Cultural Differences American business is often too stubborn to accept a diverse culture in the workforce because we are unwilling to accept new tradition, though we are increasingly eager to expand business globally. Embracing cultural diversity can only continue to strengthen opportunity for global expansion by broadening a businesses cultural lense with a new global perspective and an active understanding of cultural sensitivity. By collaborating with public relations practitioners despite origin, religion, language or values and accepting new tradition we can build the integrity of the industry by developing a new understanding of how to effectively and universally execute Public Relations on a global level.
Learn more about diversity in Public Relations through the Public Relations Society of America Diversity and Inclusion toolkit below.