To successfully meet your diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals, you have to ensure candidates are well-aware of your commitment to inclusivity long before the first interview. In fact, from the moment a prospective applicant first engages with your brand, there should be no question about your company’s values and dedication to ensuring all employees feel welcomed and represented.
But building an inclusive brand identity that mirrors your pledge to diversity (and doesn’t feel performative or inauthentic) can seem challenging. How can you ensure your brand and the messages you share foster a genuine connection with diverse job seekers?
Today, we’re walking through the importance of developing an inclusive brand identity and five things you can do now to achieve one.
Why an Inclusive Brand Identity Matters
As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. When a prospective applicant is evaluating potential employers, there’s a good chance they’re going to peruse your website, social media accounts, and presence on third-party sites like Glassdoor and Indeed. What they discover in those first few minutes will leave an indelible impression of your organization and determine whether they apply or proceed further in the hiring process.
That’s why it’s critical you make sure you have an inclusive brand identity that sends the right message. If a diverse candidate doesn’t see themselves reflected in your values, employee experiences, and imagery, or if the digital experience or job posting details make them feel uncomfortable, there’s a good chance they won’t move forward with your organization.
On the other hand, if job seekers feel your brand aligns with their values, they see diversity reflected in your imagery and employees’ reviews and testimonials, you provide an accessible user experience across your digital real estate, and your job postings use inclusive language, you’re more likely to earn more applications.
In short, an inclusive brand identity helps communicate your values and establishes an emotional connection with diverse candidates.
5 Ways to Communicate an Inclusive Brand Identity
If you’re committed to DEI but you’re not sure how to ensure you’re reflecting those efforts in your brand identity and brand messaging, here are five things you can do:
- Include a dedicated DEI page
Every brand needs to develop a page on its website that communicates what the organization is doing to achieve DEI. This page should include an easy-to-understand equal employment opportunity (EEO) statement, a diversity statement, and examples of your commitments. For example, you might share specific data points to illustrate your progress toward DEI goals and stories from real employees.
- Make equitable hiring practices transparent
Be open about exactly what you’re doing to ensure a more equitable hiring process for your candidates. You might share your hiring goals and what you’re doing to meet those goals. For example, an organization might acknowledge how educational requirements negatively impact opportunities for underrepresented communities and opt to do away with those requirements.
- Share testimonials from your team members
Of course, no matter how well you articulate your DEI efforts, nothing you share will be as powerful as your employees’ experiences in their own words. Share quotes, written testimonials, and videos where team members can share their stories and outline how your organization’s commitments have impacted their careers.
- Ensure imagery represents diversity
It’s vital you show diversity in the images on your website. When choosing photos, consider race, ethnicity, gender, age, body type, and disabilities to ensure people from a broad range of diverse backgrounds can see themselves in your organization. But be careful with stock photos as some images can reinforce harmful stereotypes.
Whenever possible, use pictures of employees at your organization and select natural-looking photos that feel authentic rather than posed and contrived.
- Make sure your website is accessible
Remember, some may have different needs when accessing and viewing your website. When developing and designing your site’s UX, it’s crucial you consider blindness and low vision, colorblindness, deafness and hearing impairments, and physical disabilities that impact how people use the internet.
Examples of Inclusive Brand Identities
To inspire your inclusive brand identity, here are three organizations doing it well:
The Accenture DEI page is filled with links to resources outlining the company’s commitment to all forms of diversity and inclusion. The organization also breaks down how it supports diversity across its workforce of nearly 700,000 people and its presence in more than 120 countries. Rather than illustrating inclusion as an obstacle to overcome, the company highlights its diverse workforce as one of its greatest strengths.
The 23andMe website features a DEI page that begins with a conversation between the CEO and Director of DEI and carefully breaks down the organization’s many efforts to achieve improved DEI. The page also offers plenty of data about its workforce and links its inclusivity efforts to its company mission of helping people understand their genetics and family history.
Mastercard’s comprehensive DEI page includes the organization’s inclusion report featuring hard data, DEI approach and commitment, information about its business resource groups, how the organization is ensuring pay equity, recruitment practices, and more. The company’s inclusive brand identity is also reflected in its social media accounts, where you’ll find photos and stories from real employees.
Creating an inclusive brand identity can seem difficult if you’re just getting started, but so long as you approach your efforts with authenticity and a genuine commitment to DEI, you’re sure to drive progress.
Learn more about how Mathison can help you accelerate your DEI journey. Book a demo today.