There are many lessons to be learnt for communicators and the way to look is forward. But let’s not forget where we’ve invested so many efforts in prior to the pandemic. It might help us better support our stakeholders during this challenging time.
The Covid-19 crisis took most organisations by surprise, but the opportunity to review internal processes and strengthen the role of PR has undeniably been seized.
This initiative should not undermine the importance of placing minorities at the heart of the crisis response.
In times of crisis, minorities are often more impacted than others. The current pandemic is no exception to the rule.
Ethnic minorities and people of colour are disproportionately affected by mortality rates, analysis showed.
In conjunction with this, an Institute of Public Relations (IPR) research recently highlighted that diversity and inclusion issues have been put on the back burner.
Results showed that diversity, equity, and inclusion information was only communicated by 19% of respondents.
Nevertheless, now is the time to safeguard the progress that had been made on those issues.
Now is the time to show support to minorities. Say that they are not forgotten.
Now is the time to instore trust through intentions, promises and actions.
The world will be watching business leaders when their activities are affected. And the promotion of such values should come from the top.
It is those leaders who need to provide guidance on how to do well, from an organisational perspective, by doing good, from a human perspective.
The following questions should then be carefully considered:
- The message: Do you know what to say and how to say it?
- Attention: Will you be heard? How will your message spark interest?
- Trust: Will you be believed?
The response to pursue diversity and inclusion efforts should:
- Resonate with the organisation’s bottom line: it should be an integral part of the business model)
- Be authentic: actions should match the promises made
- Create an emotional connection while being empirical and fact-based
- Provide listening mechanisms and offer opportunities to engage
Understanding how stakeholders are impacted by the crisis is a salient aspect of a response strategy. Previous initiatives to instil a culture of opportunity and equality should help guide those efforts as it will provide leaders with credibility.
Ella Minty in #FuturePRoof, edition 2 wrote: “Understanding the human dynamics at play – across genders, religions and nationalisms – will provide you with an incredible competitive advantage not just with regard to the recognition of your added value to the business but primarily, concerning your level of competency and knowledge.”
Yes, a global pandemic significantly affects organisations at all levels and a response strategy should be proportionate to the impact of the crisis. But those leaders able to understand who exactly is impacted by Covid-19 and to which extent will stand out by providing a testimony of reassurance and authenticity.
Those leaders will have learnt their lesson.