By: Matthew Kaiserman, Junior Account Executive

Building a diverse and inclusive team is no longer an afterthought, but rather crucial to success in the current economic landscape. Public relations, marketing agencies and in-house communication departments alike who embrace diversity and inclusivity have a major leg up as they understand that asserting this climate of forward-thinking culture impacts disruption and innovative in a major way. Diversity is not a buzzword, it is the foundation of successful organizations.

However, organizations shouldn’t go through the motions of creating a diverse and inclusive workspace just for the sake of doing so. Instead, bring a diverse group of people together who each offer a unique perspective and set of skills to the table. Whether writing social media copy or planning a strategic communications campaign, it is key to have a team full of unique voices to bounce and leverage ideas that innovate and disrupt.

It is easy for organizations to harp on the importance of diversity, but few employ a mix of genders, races, ages, backgrounds and experiences to cultivate a truly inclusive environment. I work in a predominantly women-led agency, which is not so common in other industries. Being surrounding by progressive leaders and creative thinkers who are free to express their opinions and ideas makes for an environment that’s never dull yet productive. Whereas in other companies, team members may not be granted such opportunities to express themselves. Inclusivity is making all employees feel welcomed regardless of their race, gender or background.

Here are my five top takeaways of having a diverse and inclusive work environment in the PR and marketing space:

A Variety of Perspectives
Bringing in talent from a diverse set of backgrounds can lend to a more cohesive team environment. Each team member can offer a new perspective based on their past experiences that others may have not previously considered. In return, colleagues can also learn from one another due to the mix of skill sets and perspectives. Diversity is more than just a mix of races and genders. It relates to having a blend of personalities. My agency has a great balance of risk takers and pragmatists, introverts and extroverts. A melting pot of ideas helps spark innovative thinking, especially in the creative process necessary for PR and marketing professionals.

Reflect Your Audience
PR and marketing teams should be a reflection of their target audiences. It is very difficult to connect to a diverse group of people if a company is not diverse itself. Having an inclusive team with employees of all different backgrounds will lead to organizations being able to better understand the nuances of the different audiences they are trying to reach. No two of our team members are alike as we are a group of several different ethnicities and upbringings from many different parts of the globe. Embracing diversity is a great way for brands to disrupt the status quo and stand out from the crowd.

Fueling Innovation and Disruption
A diverse room is much more likely to pose innovative solutions to problems, than a homogenous one.  A unique blend of working styles and ideas allow for more successful brainstorms and insightful feedback. Team members can play off each other’s strengths, and each brings a unique set of skills to the table. Employees should feel free to pull from personal experiences and challenge ideas. As the only male in my agency, I often provide a different perspective when strategizing. I use my experiences and views of the world to offer our team insights into how to best connect to certain audiences. Likewise, I have a strong, diverse team who offer their experiences and perspectives as well. For brands to disrupt their industries they need a wealth of creative and innovative ideas. A diverse and inclusive environment is the best way to achieve this.

Expand Your Talent Network
Supporting a diverse and inclusive work environment directly affects employee recruitment and retainment. Potential and current employees – whether part of an agency or in-house – want to feel welcomed and part of the team at work. Inclusive brands and agencies attract top talent and encourage existing employees to stay and grow with the company. In my job search, I was looking for a collaborative environment where I could feel free to share my ideas, despite my level of experience. I wanted a place where my voice could be heard, and I did not just feel like another cog in the wheel. Media Frenzy Global offered all of the above. The innovators of the future are seeking inclusive brand cultures where they can be themselves. Allowing employees of all ages, backgrounds and experiences to voice their opinions and share their ideas grants them confidence and nurtures loyalty.

Increase Employee Performance
Employees perform the best when they are comfortable and want to be at work, and inclusion is the best way to promote this. Building relationships is crucial in business both internally and externally, so diverse and inclusive work environments can help to foster these relationships. No employee wants to feel left out or isolated in the workplace.  An overall happy team will perform better, and in turn be more confident in their abilities as both an individual and a team.

Embracing diversity and inclusion is crucial in order for marketing and communication teams to truly become innovators and disrupt the industries they are involved in. A blend of perspectives is needed for the creative process, so building diverse environments sets business up for success.