We’ve always known that a diverse workforce makes us better. Hiring people who look, talk, and think the exact way we do doesn’t advance our organization or our client work forward.
Hoffman Agency began our formalized DEI committee in June 2020 to focus in on how we could:
- Develop a more diverse talent pool to increase the hiring of people representing the BIPOC community.
- Bring a greater understanding to our employee base of what it means to be a diverse and inclusive company.
You can read exactly what we have committed to on our Agency blog, but it boils down to intentionally fostering a diverse workforce, actively developing an inclusive culture, and promoting diversity and inclusion more broadly in order to contribute to a more equitable world.
When we asked our employees to give us an honest, anonymous grade on how we’ve done in terms of our D&I efforts in the past year in our annual 2021 survey, over 67% gave us a 4 or 5.
However, diversity, equity, and inclusion are about a lot more than just words, intentions, and surveys. It’s about action. Read more to find out what our DEI committee has accomplished.
Diversifying the PR Talent Pool
Let’s face it, public relations isn’t the most diverse field (to say the least). According to Zippia, 73.2% of PR pros are white.
That’s why we’ve made a concentrated effort to hire more diverse candidates, setting a goal of 25% of new hires being people of color in the U.S. which we have more than exceeded in the past year. In fact, we can demonstrate diversity in all of our regions.
Speaking of leaders, we’ve made a point to make sure that each Hoffman region is run by local leaders who deeply understand and reflect the community/region they are in, rather than expats as is the case with many global PR consultancies.
Diversifying our own company is a small way we can begin to help diversify the communications field. That means hiring those with diverse backgrounds in ethnicity, gender, disability, and orientation.
The Hoffman Agency has begun to forge relationships with colleges that have more diverse populations to feed into our intern program rather than relying on the same few schools for talent. Hand in hand with this initiative, we also donated $3,000 to the PRSA Silicon Valley Diversity and Multicultural Scholarship.
This scholarship assists and recognizes students for outstanding academic achievement and commitment to the practice of public relations with the goal of increasing the diversity of the profession to reflect a more representative community of Bay Area public relations and communications professionals.
Defining What It Means to Be a Diverse and Inclusive Company
Beyond taking steps to making our workplace more diverse, we also have committed to make sure our organization is as welcoming and inclusive as possible for every new hire.
We consider ourselves lifelong learners; this means that as well as learning the latest communications strategies and tools, we want to learn not only about various populations’ diverse experiences and obstacles, but also how we can implement DEI tools and trainings in our everyday lives. Over the past several years we’ve held a variety of different trainings for our staff and participated in several external sessions as well.
In fact, 70% of our annual training budget goes toward DEI trainings covering topics such as the very basics of diversity and inclusion, the impact of microaggressions in the workplace, unconscious bias, an introduction to pronouns, LGBTQ+ Workplace Ally training, whiteness at work, and many more. Additionally, our U.S. office holds optional quarterly discussions around DEI-centric books, documentaries and podcasts and has reworked our employee handbook with a focus on diversity.
Beyond trainings, we’ve taken several actions in terms of benefits and external communications to promote diversity and inclusion at Hoffman.
In the U.S., we now also honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid holiday for all employees as well as provide time off and wellness support for BIPOC employees during the most pivotal moments of the BLM movement and protests.
We also show our public support surrounding DEI topics across our social channels, making sure to actively celebrate occasions/educate others on initiatives such as Black History Month, Trans Day of Visibility, Mental Health Awareness Month, PRIDE Month, Juneteenth, and Stop Asian Hate.
While posting on Twitter is a small act of solidarity, we also want to make sure that we are showing up for these communities in the places our physical offices reside.
Using our talents in communications to amplify the already fantastic work local organizations are doing seemed like the most natural way to make a difference in our communities. That’s why our U.S. team has been working pro-bono for Dress for Success Oregon since the end of 2020.
As soon as we heard their mission, “supporting women and all women-identifying individuals, helping them find and retain work, support their families, and achieve personal and economic independence,” we were sold.
Through our work with them, we support traditional media relations efforts, audit their social media channels, help with various social campaigns, and provide ongoing counsel.
Besides offering our services at no cost to organizations we believe in, we also make it a point to regularly volunteer in our communities.
We have supported a variety of organizations including Project Lemonade, Sacred Heart, Children’s Book Bank, Letters to Strangers, and One Warm Coat (even throughout COVID-19 when we had to get creative with limited in-person volunteering activities available).
We also make sure we are bringing what we’ve learned throughout our DEI training sessions, pro-bono accounts, and volunteering efforts to work with us every day.
For example, we challenge our clients to consider whether their own DEI efforts are performative or truly impactful (we even created this nifty flow chart to help our own team and clients ensure that all performative measures are cut out).
While there’s always more work to be done, we hope you join us in our continued DEI journey.