Diversity & Inclusion

New Report Explores the Close Interplay Between Chief Diversity Officers and Chief Communications Officers

As diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs have grown in relevance and resources in recent years, the roles of Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) and Chief Communications Officers (CCOs) have become increasingly intertwined.

Unearthing Key DEI Insights

A recent report by the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) through its Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, sponsored by Omnicom Group, sheds light on this dynamic collaboration. Titled “Collaborators for Change: Research on the Relationship Between Communications and Diversity Executives,” the study delves into how these executives work together to advance DEI initiatives and foster inclusive cultures within their organizations.

The report, which is the culmination of in-depth interviews with 20 CDOs and 20 CCOs was conducted from March to August 2023. It reveals several key insights.

Key Insights

  • Notably, it traces the origins of the CDO role to a time before its formalization became widespread following the societal upheavals of 2020. Since then, DEI has catapulted to a top 10 priority for nearly all organizations surveyed, underscoring the heightened focus on creating equitable workplaces.
  • Despite the challenges—ranging from being overworked and having limited resources to experiencing DEI fatigue—both CDOs and CCOs express cautious optimism about the future of DEI efforts. This optimism is rooted in the belief that through strategic collaboration, significant strides can be made in embedding DEI into the fabric of corporate culture.
  • Another of the report’s critical findings is the consensus that the CDO role should be a standalone executive position, preferably reporting directly to the CEO. This arrangement underscores the importance of DEI initiatives and ensures their results and impact are communicated effectively throughout the organization.

As companies grapple with the shifting sentiments regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion, the collaboration between CDOs and CCOs emerges as a beacon of hope. By working together, these executives can play a pivotal role in steering their organizations towards a more inclusive and equitable future.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.

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