The impact of the recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning affirmative action in academic admissions will take time to be fully assessed. The media and other important stakeholders, after the July 4th holiday weekend, may reach out for what is certain to be the next round of stories. What might this ruling mean in other industry sectors and how should communicators prepare?
1. The short-term questions
Consider how you might respond to these, or other, questions from a reporter, from your colleagues or from your board:
- What impact will the Supreme Court’s ruling have on your organization?
- What is your stated position on affirmative action and diversity and inclusion initiatives?
- How is your organization performing today in its DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) efforts? Can you provide examples?
- What changes now for your company?
Be ready with succinct and crisp answers. Choose the right messenger to deliver them (CEO, CFO, COO, Chief Human Resources Officer, other). Make sure the questions are answered consistently across your organization.
2. Consider a proactive statement
Reiterate a continued commitment to and investment in affirmative action and DEI initiatives. As our colleague Karen Bells shared in a recent blog post, “Let authenticity, action and accountability drive your corporate messaging.” Alternatively, this is likely not the right moment to introduce a new position or announce a new effort.
3. Reassess and refresh
Last week’s decision could appropriately reignite conversations about DEI in your workplace. Again, be ready.
Gather your team and ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to your organization’s culture, values and DEI-specific work. Prepare for when it is time to join the conversation by working through the following questions:
- When it comes to DEI, are the messages we put forth consistent with the actions inside our company?
- How do we guide the conversation internally?
- What information does our team need to understand what this ruling means for them and the organization?
- What objective, research-driven sources can we use to educate stakeholders about our commitment to DEI in the first place?
- How do we use this ruling to affirm our commitment and redouble our efforts toward fulfilling our mission?
4. Lean on who you are
Historic and, for many, challenging moments like this one are opportunities to leverage stakeholder trust and lead by example. Remember, authenticity is at the core of the promise that is your brand. Lean on it.