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| 2 minutes read

SHRM '24: Insights on DEI Communication, AI in TA Tech, and Change Management

This week's SHRM (Society for Human Resource Professionals) '24 conference in Chicago buzzed with the energy of over 25,000 HR professionals eager to share best practices and future-proof their workplaces.  The atmosphere in the world’s largest HR conference was vibrant with lively discussions and the camaraderie of colleagues, both new and familiar. In this dynamic environment, the AMS team led with three informative presentations, leveraging our experience supporting global clients.

My presentation, "Transform your DEI Playbook: Inclusive Internal Communication Strategy," aimed to equip HR and Internal Comms professionals with the tools to cultivate a thriving, engaged environment through strategic DEI communication. The topic drew a large and active audience, highlighting the interest and importance of the subject in today’s landscape. Drawing on insights from client collaborations, I explored strategies to help you avoid common pitfalls. Here are key takeaways:

The Evolving Landscape of Workplace Communication

The modern HR landscape is undergoing rapid transformation driven by demographic shifts in the US and globally, alongside evolving political and social landscapes. These factors, coupled with the growing expectation for corporate voices to be more authentic, necessitate a corresponding evolution in communication strategies. Effective communication in today's workplace demands recognition of the unique experiences within a richly diverse workforce and the fostering of belonging, safety, and open dialogue. 

Building a Foundation for Success

My presentation underscored the importance of securing leadership buy-in as a foundational step. Effectively sharing insights with leadership helps them anticipate challenges and commit to necessary actions. When leadership supports the fundamental principles driving DEI initiatives, it empowers the entire organization to move forward cohesively. Listening to employees through focus groups, surveys, and open discussions with Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), underrepresented groups, and business unit heads is equally crucial. This collaborative approach ensures that leadership is well-prepared to align strategies with employee expectations, fostering a more inclusive and responsive workplace culture.

Crafting Resonant Messages

Inclusivity should be the cornerstone of any successful DEI communication strategy.  Moving beyond a standardized approach, it's essential to celebrate the full spectrum of diversity within your messaging.  Authentic employee stories can be a powerful tool, fostering content that resonates on a personal level with your workforce.

Navigating Communication Challenges

Effective communication is an ongoing pursuit, and missteps can occur.  We explored real-world examples of communication approaches that fell short, such as communicating advancements before demonstrable progress exists, sending mixed messages internally and externally, or placing undue emphasis on metrics that don't paint the whole picture of your strategy.  The session also addressed the significance of cultural sensitivity and ensuring digital accessibility for all employees, with a particular focus on those with disabilities. Beyond fostering a positive and inclusive work environment, effective DEI communication can translate into tangible business benefits.  Studies indicate a correlation between organizations championing disability inclusion and increased revenue and higher net income.

The AMS Advantage: A Collaborative Approach

The learning extended beyond my own presentation.  Esteemed AMS colleagues from Tech Advisory and Client Services, Annie Hammer and Christina Coyle, also delivered insightful sessions on building a future-proof talent strategy with effective Change Management and navigating the ever-changing Talent Acquisition technology landscape due to AI.  

The SHRM conference provided a platform for a dynamic exchange of knowledge, and the size and engagement of the audience in each presentation was impressive.  Many attendees actively participated, dissecting the communication examples we explored and posing thoughtful questions about taking steps in their DEI communication journeys.  While fostering complete homogeneity of thought is neither realistic nor desirable, it is crucial to create a space where open dialogue and respectful exchange can occur.  Getting DEI communication right isn't just about optics – it's about building a foundation for a truly inclusive workplace where employees feel valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their best.  

Effective DEI communication isn't a monologue – it's a conversation that starts with listening to understand the needs and experiences of your diverse employee groups.


diversity equity inclusion, employee enagagement, hr tech