Research Readout: Accelerating Change for Black Employee Experiences
Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., APR, President & CEO, Institute for Public Relations
Research Readout is a monthly series by the Institute for Public Relations and Ragan's PR Daily spotlighting new and important research that every PR professional should know.

In the past six months, several research studies have benchmarked employee attitudes and recommended how companies can better support diverse employees and eradicate structural racism, both within organizations and society. 

Two companies stand out in this research area: McKinsey and Lean In. The numbers show that significant and focused work is needed to ensure equity and parity for Black employees. As the communication function increasingly becomes a leader in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space within organizations, we must be the champions for change.  

"The insights from the recent McKinsey and Lean In studies are a powerful confirmation of our pervasive equity and inclusion challenges and a blueprint for moving forward for underrepresented groups in the workplace, particularly the Black community and people of color,” says Carmella Glover, president of the Diversity Action Alliance.  

Fandom, Forgiveness, and Future Support: YouTube Apologies as Crisis Communication
Jean Kelso Sandlin, Ed.D., & Monica L. Gracyalny, Ph.D., California Lutheran University
This abstract is provided by the IPR Digital Media Research Center

Dr. Jean Kelso Sandlin and Dr. Monica L. Gracyalny examined how audience characteristics and attitudes relate to their perceptions of apologies by public figures on YouTube, specifically in terms of apology sincerity and forgiveness.

An online survey of 427 adults was conducted. Participants were assigned to view two of four public figure apologies posted on YouTube.

Key findings include:
  • Audience fandom, perceived positive reputation, and attractiveness of the public figure were positively related to the perceptions of sincerity and forgiveness.
  • The two audience attitudes with the strongest relationships to perceptions of sincerity were reputation and fandom.
  • Both males and females were more likely to forgive females.
  • Perceptions of sincerity and forgiveness were also related to the viewers' intentions of supporting the public figure in the future.

The Rise of the Chief Sustainability Officer
Korn Ferry
This report outlines Korn Ferry's "Executive Success Profile," a collection of attributes organizations should seek when hiring a Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO).

Interviews of current CSOs were conducted. They provided insight on the traits and competencies CSOs need, how to make change happen, and how to measure impact:
  • CSOs need grit and persistence to drive meaningful change. Related traits include:
  • Resilience through a long "arc of change"
  • Customer focus and a broad global perspective
  • People should be the primary focus in driving culture change – CSOs should address influencers in the top, middle, and lower levels of the organization.
  • By shifting the focus from "doing less bad" to "doing more good," sustainability is perceived as an enabler or creator of business, rather than a cost or reporting function.
  • Success metrics for sustainability include executive buy-in, organization-wide buy-in, and tangible value like top-line revenue.

The Future of PR Looks Like Us: Leader Perspectives on Diversifying PR
Sarah Heiman, Daisy Johanna Uy, Charmaine Blair & Rebecca Moe, Centennial College
This blog is provided by the IPR Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Contributing writers host a podcast, "The Future of PR Looks Like Us," which explores diverse voices that shape the industry.

Diverse representation is essential within the PR industry. Including people from every walk of life in the industry and profession can “enhance creativity, innovation, problem-solving, productivity, and profits” (Man, 2020). A study of 366 organizations from varying industries in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and Latin America similarly discovered that gender-diverse and ethnically-diverse companies were respectively 15% and 35% more likely “to have financial returns above the national industry median,” making diversity a market differentiator (Hunt et al., 2015). On top of that, developing a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) strategy will meet the expectations of a substantial part of the emerging workforce (Tallo, 2020Kochhar et al., 2016).

The podcast hosts interviewed four Toronto-based communicators to discuss how to build a more diverse PR industry:
●      Fatyma Khan, senior communications lead, Ontario Brain Institute
●      Meaghann Cox, manager or communications, Rogers Sportsnet
●      Jeannette Holder, senior communications specialist, CAAT Pension Plan
●      Mubashira Farooqi, communications fellow, FleishmanHillard HighRoad

These leaders suggested several ways to build up DE&I, including confronting biases, building relationships on trust, and providing safe spaces and support.

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