5 ways PR leaders can increase diversity for millennials

Young communicators thrive on inclusion efforts, but many employers and leaders who think that they are offering programs miss the mark. Here’s what to consider.

PR students learning in classrooms today are the future leaders of our industry.

As the PR industry continues to evolve, so should the practices being used to attract, retain and develop talent.

Millennials consider more than just great benefits and a lucrative salary when starting a PR career. They look for PR organizations that foster inclusion, uphold diversity and create a sense of belonging for all employees.

The importance of diversity in PR is bigger than ever among millennial PR pros because diversity and inclusion are more than just buzzwords or boxes to check. Millennials believe they are essential to businesses’ success.

For employers and PR leaders to maintain diversity in their organizations, engage millennial workers and drive the industry forward, they should consider the following:

1. Create a mentorship program for entry-level millennial PR pros to engage and build relationships with mid-senior level communicators.

Not everyone wants to mentor (nor do they have to), but not offering a mentorship program in general can prevent those who want to mentor from taking action.

Though some employees will rise to the occasion, others will wait for their employer to act. Now is the time to make strides toward increasing diversity in the industry.

RELATED : Learn to find your leader’s real voice at the 2016 Leadership and Executive Communications Conference.

2. Develop a review system for millennial communicators to rate their PR organizations and provide honest input on inclusion efforts.

This will help bridge the gap between what PR employers believe is working and what millennial PR pros believe must improve. Employee feedback is essential for employers to improve their diversity and inclusion efforts.

According to a PRSA Foundation survey, early eight in 10 (79 percent) PR employers see their efforts to retain a diverse workforce as being successful, yet only two-thirds (67 percent) of young PR pros agree with employees on their retention programs.

3. Foster an open-office culture where millennial communicators believe that their voices will be heard, acknowledged and valued.

One-third of young PR pros say that the industry is not effectual at retaining a diverse workforce, compared with one-fifth of employers.

4. Demonstrate diversity and inclusion in all efforts.

From the top down, display a company culture where young communicators believe that PR employers are authentic in their efforts instead of viewing diversity as another “box to check.” Emulate the culture you want your employees to project and treat everyone with respect.

5. Present career opportunities and advancements to all employees. Do not assume some millennial PR professionals won’t “be a fit” or do not “meet the mold,” you’re looking to cast. Take time to get to know their passions, interests and career goals. Give all employees the opportunity to shine and don’t be a barrier to their success. Empower your employees to do their best.

What else would you add to the list, PR Daily readers? Join us in our Twitter #RaganChat on Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 3 p.m. Eastern time to share your insights. Sabrina Browne, PR pro, member of PRSA New Pros and scholarship committee member for the PRSA Foundation, will be our guest host.

Connect with Sabrina Browne on Twitter or on LinkedIn. A version of this article originally appeared on PRSA’s blog, New Voices of Public Relations.

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