605 Organizational Communication: THE DIVERSITY & INCLUSION FRAMEWORK

Scenario:

The Human Resources Management function of TransAction! Communications usually teams up with the Communications departments to support the company’s business and strategic goals.  The newly-appointed local Human Resources Director, Ms. Rowena Sebastien, wants to reinforce workplace diversity and inclusiveness to support the company’s goals.  She believes that effectively managing workplace diversity and inclusiveness (D&I) will improve productivity, increase employee retention and ultimately, strengthen the value of the organization.

The Opportunity:

When Ms. Rowena joined the company in May 2017, she realized that the company needed to strengthen its diversity and inclusiveness agenda.  One of her first tasks was to initiate the company’s Diversity and Inclusive Executive Board (DIEB). To the public, TransAction! Communications appears to be a well-established, reputable company that is reflective and representative of its clients and employees.  However, when Ms. Rowena joined the HR team, she was appalled by the lack of ethnic, racial, gender diversity and representation in executive leadership, as 98% the leadership in the company are White males and the remaining 2% are White females. Although she can not disclose salary figures, there exists a 20% gender wage gap, with women earning less than men, throughout the company. Just last month, three (3) employees complained of sexual harassment, and one (1) of them, in particular, felt violated by colleagues whom he claimed harassed him consistently because of his sexual orientation and identification as a member of the LGBTQ community.  Two days ago, she conducted an exit interview of an employee who felt that he preferred to work in an environment whose younger bosses did not assume that he was “unintelligible, old-school and incapable of delivering innovative ideas because he was more senior than them.”

As a result of data gathering, Ms. Rowena’s second point of business with the DIEB was to appoint certain communications practitioners, amidst other employees throughout the company’s various offices, to serve on the DIEB. 

The third point of business for Ms. Rowena was to create small task forces within the DIEB that will each develop a draft of the company’s D&I framework.  She particularly values collaborating with communications practitioners at the inception of the framework development process because she believes it will facilitate their ability to effectively roll out the framework’s communications to the company at a future date. 

Ms. Rowena is under a very tight deadline because she needs the DIEB to “sell” this agenda to the company, prior to the end of the next fiscal year.  Hence, after assembling specific teams/ task forces to draft D&I frameworks, Ms. Rowena seeks to identify strong elements and portions from each draft framework and assemble them into one (1) company-wide, master D&I framework.  As a result, all key task forces must develop and present their D&I framework by April 17.

 

Your Challenge:

You are a newly-recruited member of the company’s DIEB’s D&I Task Force. You have been asked to compile and present a D&I framework for your team. You realize that you already face some resistance and challenges in the company regarding this particular assignment. You are aware that some of the executive leaders of the company, including the CEO, Mr. Rigobert “Rigs” Jones and other leaders, have resisted D&I trainings in their past organizations because they have found them to be impractical, too political, and “overly-taxing.”

 

Your Task:

You are to develop a clear, specific Diversity & Inclusive Framework that includes the following components. You will present this information to a colleague for review, and then make your final presentation by April 17 to the rest of the company, including the CEO, Mr. Rigobert “Rigs” Jones and other leaders. 

There are various approaches different companies adopt in developing a company D&I framework.  For the purpose of this assignment, please ensure that your D&I framework and presentation consist of each of the following components and steps in the order below.

 

Kindly present your information effectively, compellingly and with the use of infographics in your presentation, which you will submit on VoiceThread by April 17.

 

Background Information – Company Profile Information:

Company Information and Contact Details

  • Business Name: TransAction! Communications
  • Business Address: 5600 Connecticut Avenue, Washington DC 20039
  • Phone: 202-003-4555
  • Fax: 202-003-5987
  • Total number of Employees: 1,130
  • Number of Employees at Head Office: 120
  • Areas of Expertise: public relations, public affairs, branding and identity, marketing communications, online marketing and digital communications, social marketing

Global Revenue:  $90 million to $150 million; US: $45 million to $85 million

Leadership Team

  • Rigobert “Rigs” Jones, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • Marko Tilla, Chief Financial Officer
  • Thomas Vincent, Group Chief Executive
  • Keith Stalinszki, Group Finance Director
  • Richard Lou, Chief Strategy and Creative Officer
  • Warren Geep, Client Development Director
  • Shirley Temple, Digital Development
  • Frida Lay, Communications Officer
  • Neil Rouge, Chief Human Resources Officer and General Counsel

 TransAction! Communications Company Overview

  • TransAction! Communications is considered one of the smaller, but leading strategic marketing communications, public relations and advertising agencies in North America.  Established in 2006, the company is headquartered in Washington DC with 6 offices globally (including those in India, China, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, France, Brazil).

TransAction! Communications Mission

  • To provide global clients with results-oriented integrated marketing communications services and quality counsel by providing customer-service tailored to clients’ objectives.
  • To provide cutting-edge data-driven innovative solutions of value that will enable our clients to build strong relationships, effectively address the needs of their audiences and drive desired behavior.
  • To build and sustain long-term positive partnerships with each customer as an individual

 TransAction! Communications Awards:

  • 2008 PRDigital Entrepeneur2Entrepreneur Awards – Won the competition for its campaigns and communication works with small startups clients, given that it was a smaller, newly established company.
  • 2011 Coastal Campaign of the Year Awards – Won the Gold Award for developing an innovative campaign on environmental advocacy for some of its clients.

 

THE DIVERSITY & INCLUSION FRAMEWORK INSTRUCTIONS:

Format  15-20 minute VoiceThread presentation, with a minimum of 8 slides and a maximum of 25 slides, including cover slide and references slide.  The presentation should be a minimum of 10 minutes and a maximum of 20 minutes.

 

1). Develop the Business Case:

A critical first step in creating an inclusive organizational culture is to articulate and understand why diversity and inclusion are beneficial for the company, industry and/ or field.  This is a key ingredient in influencing senior leadership to engage with D&I. 

  • In a clear, compelling argument, you are to present research, summarized case studies, statistics that demonstrate how inclusive cultures can lead to benefits, significant positive impacts on a range of factors for individuals and organizations. 

 

Key Tips:  Present each benefit or positive impact as a separate idea, supported by facts, figures, case studies, research that will strengthen your position.  Remember that with every argument for a position, assume an opposing argument that you would effectively address. 

Your research may not effectively spell out the direct link between increased D&I and productivity, so as communications practitioners, ensure that in your presentation, you clearly explain your research and data in a way that illustrates the logic of why that particular impact may ultimately affect X, Y, Z—which in turn may impact the bottom line.   You may also refer to ethical appeals, or other persuasive appeals to support your facts and figures; ultimately, everything must be supported by research.

 

2).  Conceptualize (Define) Inclusion:

What does inclusion mean and what does it mean for TransAction! Communications?  This is a critical step in conceptualizing what an inclusive culture means for an organization.  There are various definitions that have been presented to you by guest lecturers, literature and other sources. 

  • Develop TransAction! Communication’s definition of inclusion that you can communicate to all employees of the company. 
  • Limit your definition to one (1) to two (2) sentences.

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