The Institute for Public Relations Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and The Wakeman Agency launched a report on the current state of diversity-related language in the public relations industry, “The Language of Diversity.”

The first-of-its-kind report examines how nearly 400 communications professionals perceive the current language of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) being used in their organizations and its impact on workplace ecosystems. It also delves into ways the power dynamics in language can reinforce, advance, or impede creating authentic, DEI-infused professional cultures. Based on feedback from industry experts, the report offers suggested standard definitions for commonly-used DEI terms.

The survey asked respondents to provide definitions of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. Across the board, these definitions were inaccurate, inconsistent, and incomplete compared to the body of knowledge and literature on this topic.

Key findings include:
  • 97% of communicators agreed that language or words could influence or reinforce power dynamics in the workplace.
  • 87% said it is important for workplace discussions to focus on how language can evolve to be more equitable or inclusive.
  • However, one-third of respondents said they thought the terms diversity, equity, and inclusion were overused.
  • Two-thirds of communicators agreed that the public relations industry needs to develop standard definitions relating to DEI, and only 13% disagreed.
Institute for Public Relations
IPR is featuring some of the many Native American and Indigenous pioneers and modern-day heroes to celebrate Native American Heritage Month. This post appears courtesy of the New York Historical Society and the National Park Service.

Zitkala-Ša was born on the Yankton Indian Reservation in South Dakota on Feb. 22, 1876. When she was a child, she was forced by federal agents to attend boarding schools, where she was made to assimilate. As a result of her traumatic experiences, Zitkala-Ša became a fierce critic of assimilation.

Zitkala-Ša formed the Society of American Indians to preserve Native culture while working toward full citizenship. She also worked with white suffrage groups and became active in the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1921 which worked to maintain a public voice for the concerns of diverse women. Zitkala-Ša created the Indian Welfare Committee of the Federation in 1924. The same year, she ran a voter registration drive for Native Americans, encouraging them to engage in the democratic process and support legislation that would benefit Native Americans. Zitkala-Ša also co-authored a piece called "Oklahoma’s Poor Rich Indians: An Orgy of Graft and Exploitation of the Five Civilized Tribes – Legalized Robbery" which would later be instrumental in pushing the government to investigate the exploitation of Native Americans for access to oil-rich lands.

In 1926, she and her husband Raymond Bonnin co-founded the intertribal National Council of American Indians (NCAI) which worked to unite the tribes across the United States to gain suffrage for all Native Americans. Zitkala-Ša served as president, fundraiser, and speaker for the NCAI until her death in 1938.

Tim Penning, Ph.D., APR, Grand Valley State, and Mark Bain, President, Upper 90 Consulting
This blog is based on the original journal article in the Public Relations Journal.

How would you answer these fundamental questions:
  • In a rapidly changing world, how can communication teams elevate performance to become more valuable to their organizations?
  • What exactly is a high-performing communication team? What advantages does it have over others – smarter people, bigger budgets, better platforms, and tools?
  • Where should communication teams invest their time and money when both resources are finite?

These questions underpin the perpetual push by communicators to be more valuable and indispensable to their organizations. But they’re difficult questions to answer, partly because communication teams vary widely by role, size, skills, structure, capabilities, tools, and maturity.

A research collaboration between upper 90 consulting, the Institute for Public Relations, and Grand Valley State University’s Advertising/Public Relations program attempted to chip away at these topics. Based on a survey of organizational teams, the research found several key performance drivers:
  • Full Commitment
  • Focus on Results
  • Constructive Conflict
  • Shared Accountability

Gartner examined how executive teams can work to build a remote-friendly culture and provide practical and psychological support to the remote workforce.

Three surveys were conducted: a survey of 421 HR leaders on April 2, 2020; a survey of 4,535 employees in April 2020; and a third survey of 317 finance leaders on March 26, 2020. 

To effectively manage the experience of remote workers, communications leaders should:
  • Create a community that fosters collaboration between remote and on-site workers by enlisting the three key segments of a remote worker's community: leaders, managers, and peers.
  • Invest in the physical and mental well-being of remote workers through resources such as remote-friendly wellness campaigns and peer support services.
  • Encourage leaders at all levels to demonstrate organizational values.
  • Leader role modeling was found to mitigate remote workers' undesirable behaviors and improve employee engagement and performance.

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