Asset: Three Ways to Step Up Your Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Blog Post | January 19, 2021

Three Ways to Step Up Your Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
See the asset Share the page
  • blog_posts
Add a tag
Social Media

Download Image

Diversity, inclusion and equity are more important than ever. Brands are under pressure from employees and consumers to respond to the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others, as well as to the demands for equality and access on the part of people of color. As companies take a hard look at their D&I initiatives and scramble to improve, it’s tempting to put on a Band-Aid instead of doing the long work.

On the first day of NRF’s 2021 Chapter One conference, Ronda Carnegie, chief innovation officer for The Female Quotient, led a panel that included Rebecca Allen, founder and CEO of footwear brand Rebecca Allen, Inc.; Chana Ginelle Ewing, founder and CEO of beauty marketplace GEENIE; and Christiane Pendarvis, co-president and chief merchandising and design officer for Savage x Fenty, Rihanna’s lingerie line. 

These retail experts were clear: Change starts inside the company, and internal communication must drive an organization’s diversity goals and initiatives.

Here are three ways retailers can make sure their messages about diversity and inclusion are delivered—and heard:

Avoid the barbell

Allen noted that there’s frequently an awareness barbell within a company, where senior executives know it’s important to show leadership on inclusion and lower-level employees both understand the need and themselves reflect diversity.

“But in the middle-level folks, that’s not necessarily brought in. That is a disconnect that ruins everything,” Allen said. 

If you’re not looking inward about how the message is carried throughout the organization, she said, “The message will fall flat.”

A robust communications plan that reaches all levels of the organization should include not only goals but also the plan for achieving them and how you’ll measure progress.

Pull up or shut up

Said Ewing, “During the George Floyd protests, we saw a lot of beauty brands called to the mat.” 

For example, the Pull Up or Shut Up campaign launched by Sharon Chuter of UOMA urged brands to release the number of black employees at their companies and the levels at which they worked.

“A lot of that was driven by employees not feeling the message was internalized,” Ewing said. “They were seeing a disconnect between what companies were saying on outside and on the inside.”

As consumers call on brands to respond to demands for political and social change, retailers feel urgency in crafting public messages and social posts. It’s a lot easier to post to Twitter and Instagram than to actually change. 

It’s so tempting to send out some tweets or black out your Instagram. But a quick public response that isn’t backed up by real action is dangerous, Allen pointed out. 

She said, “It’s okay for people to still be listening and learning. It’s okay if you’re still figuring out your strategy.”

More important than responding to consumer pressure is to lay the groundwork for meaningful transformation.

Added Carnegie, “If we’re just checking a box, we’re not coming to work with authenticity. We all have to do the work.” 

Understand equity as a business problem

For any business, Pendarvis said, equity is not only about doing what’s morally right. 

‘The reality is, it’s a business problem. You have to tackle it in the same way as any other,” she said.

And like any business problem, gathering data is the first step. Pendarvis said you should analyze your representation at all levels of the company. Then, focus on representation in critical positions and in positions that lead to leadership roles. Examine your plans for succession and for employee retention. 

“Unless you’re willing to look objectively at your situation, both externally and internally, you’ll never be able to do this in an authentic way,” Pendarvis warned. “Because your employee base is your foundation.”

To drive D&I at every level, communication is key

When it comes to communicating your D&I plan, traditional email, static intranets, and even messaging apps aren’t built to deploy the level of communication needed to guarantee a successful company-wide rollout. You need to do more than just post your policy on an online message board and pray that store teams read it. Worse yet, sending a message from the C-suite directly to your frontlines leapfrogs critical middle-management stakeholders, resulting in that dreaded “barbell effect.” When you’re ensuring that every single employee feels heard and represented, there’s too much at stake.

The solution? An all-in-one communications ecosystem that not only conveys your brand messaging in an authentic, visually appealing way, but also ensures organizational alignment up and down the complex retail hierarchy. Zipline was built to solve the unique challenges of communication in retail organizations. Please reach out to learn more about how we help leading brands execute major initiatives, including D&I, across the fleet.

Fill out the form to generate your link

What is a UTM and what does this form do?

A UTM is a set of parameters added to a link that tells Google Analytics how that visitor got to our site. And this form helps you make one!

Don't forget, whatever you fill in here will be seen by whoever you share the link with, so be sure not put anything in here that wouldn't necessarily be obvious or worse, could be insulting; ex. don't make the 'campaign' tier-3-prospects.

Please be sure to use all lower case, and dashes-instead-of-spaces.

If there is a gated version (behind a form fill), you will be able to select the gated or ungated (direct to the content) link.

Most common Zipline sources are:

  • linkedin
  • salesloft
  • paid
  • sales
  • qr-code
  • newsletter

The 'Source' is where the traffic is coming from, or the referrer.

Most common Zipline medium are:

  • social
  • email
  • banner
  • sem
  • event

Medium describe 'how' the traffic is coming to the site. So for example, clicks from LinkedIn or Twitter are coming through social media, so we simply call it 'social'. Another example is for email newsletter or direct sales email, the medium would be 'email'.

Current campaigns include:

  • zipline360
  • retail-talent
  • nrf
  • abm
  • holiday-comms

The campaign is an internal description of whichever campaign the link is a part of. Are you promoting an event like NRF? use 'nrf'. Maybe it's part of a new marketing campaign, then use the name of that campaign!

Term is optional, but can be used if there is a keyword associated with where you're sharing the link. This parameter is generally used to identify the search term used to find a paid ad for example.

Content is a good parameter to use when you are sharing multiple links from the same source/medium. If you have the same link in two different LinkedIn posts, you could use 'content' to differentiate based on the thumbnail used, or time of day. For example, 'Content' could be 'wed-afternoon' and 'thurs-morning' to describe when it was posted, or 'platform-thumbnail' or 'man-holding-clipboard' to describe the image associated with the link.

Your UTM link will display here after filling out the form