To market, or not to market, that is the question.
Hamlet may not have said this exact phrase, but employers across the country are asking themselves this very question, and many have opposite answers…at least when it comes to an inclusive work culture and/or hiring initiatives focused on people with disabilities (PWD) and veterans. Why the debate? Isn’t it a good thing? Of course it is…but let’s take a look at some of the concerns that businesses have when it comes to marketing their efforts and achievements.
We’re not doing as well as we think
I’ve heard HR managers, as well as others in similar positions, verbalize that by showcasing their diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts, someone will notice mistakes. These errors could be omissions of some sort, not using the right language, etc.; but no matter what they may be, the company doesn’t want them to be pointed out.
This is going to invite unwanted attention
Another concern expressed is that it may invite unwanted attention. By whom? Perhaps OFCCP or EEOC, now looking at your company because you’ve put yourself on their radar by advertising your D&I efforts.
This company is not going to take advantage of/capitalize on “these” people
The last consideration often mentioned is “We don’t want to take advantage of ‘these’ people. We’re doing it for the right reasons, not for marketing.” Altruism is a wonderful quality in both people and companies but it can sometimes blur our vision, causing us to lose sight of the bigger picture, as I’ll explain below.
While the aforementioned concerns are valid, and I don’t want to minimize them in any way, I am going to take some time to address them.
You’re doing more than others
There are hundreds of thousands of federal contractors and subcontractors in the U.S. who are required to abide by Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act as well as Section 4212 of VEVRAA….and some of them ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING. This isn’t because they are refusing, or because they don’t want to, but because they don’t know what they’re supposed to do or how to do it. I promise that if your company is making a true effort to increase D&I you are ahead of the game.
You have nothing to hide
As a federal contractor or subcontractor you are subject to audits from OFCCP even if you don’t market or advertise your company’s D&I efforts and/or culture. Feel free to show the public, as well as your employees, that you value diversity and inclusion because it will likely garner positive attention.
An honest representation of your business and employees is a good thing
If your business is inclusive and has a diverse group of employees, it behooves you to showcase that as often as possible. Why? When people see themselves, or their friends and family, reflected in a company’s marketing they see that as:
- A place they can work
- A business they’d like to support
The takeaway? Sometimes you can be too humble! You’re not being “braggadocious” by showcasing the positive attributes of your company. You’re showing that the employees are a reflection of their community, a community that you care about…and that’s always a good thing.