Before Posting the Job, Consider This.

Katie Zink
7 min readNov 23, 2020

We’ve been seeing light bulbs go off in all kinds of industries this year.

From the outdoor industry, restaurant industry, tech industry, finance industry, social work, to now law enforcement, there’s no question that the work we do and how we do it has been up for some major scrutiny.

As a result, it’s allowed us to take some good, hard looks at the impact our industries have on society. So, what’s the realization?

To put it simply, we need to be better. There’s been a shift from the “do no harm” attitude to the actively anti-harm approach. It’s become increasingly clear that we can no longer rest on allyship alone. We need to demonstrate our actions as accomplices, advocates, and co-conspirators in the way we live and work.

In this article, I examine various trends across industries that have made some incredible advancements. Though, all the while, let’s ask ourselves, does this industry actually operate in a way where all can thrive?

I’ll share how you can advocate for real-world issues where you work, ways to spark some creative problem solving, and what can happen when we look under the hood of status quo.

How We Market

Modern marketers have taken to trends like centering diverse representation in images and ads, leveraging micro-influencers to reach new and diverse demographics, and shifting the overall narrative. Because of this, we’re definitely starting to see a lot less bs out there.

When it comes to being sold stuff, consumers are starting to see through those old and limiting narratives. We no longer need to subscribe to the status quo in order to be happy. In fact, we’re encouraged to reject it.

Now, we’re seeing expansive, accessible, and real versions of success and happiness out there.

How We Recruit

When it comes to looking for work, technology is our friend. Modern recruiting platforms like Handshake focus on diversity and help college students connect with prospective employers.

All sorts of modern strategies are influencing the approach of our recruiters and hiring teams.

We’re establishing more realistic job requirements, combing for convoluted or misleading language in job descriptions, and being more proactive about building candidate relationships before the urgency to fill a role arises.

Ultimately, how we approach our diverse talent communities matters greatly.

How We Serve

In the hospitality industry, frontline workers are no longer tolerating abusive, sexist, or racist behavior from customers or between co-workers.

Social media continues to influence where our attention goes and the local establishments we choose to frequent. In cities all over the country, Instagram accounts like the86List have become a place to anonymously share stories of racism and abuse in the service industry.

These ever-present injustices no longer simply remain in the back of the house and are largely informing whether or not patrons choose to continue supporting the establishments.

Grocery stores, bars, and coffee shops now proudly display Black Lives Matter signs and are intentionally diversifying their teams.

When it comes to running a business that serves your local community and neighborhoods, your clientele care about how your employees are treated.

How We Innovate

In the tech industry, CEOs are releasing statements about their stances on BLM and figuring out how to allow political discussions in the workplace. People are meeting during their lunch hour to discuss equity topics. Companies are creating Chief Diversity Officer positions and DEI Program Managers left and right.

Technology brands now have a conscience and realize their consumers need to see it.

The movement toward accessibility has become a more widely acknowledged factor in developing and iterating on our products.

Ultimately, who we’re helping with our products matters greatly and when it comes to running tech companies, and users care about what your company stands for.

Employees need to feel like they belong and can bring their whole selves to work, everyday. It’s not your PR strategy, but the lived experience of being part of your team, that needs to be center.

How We Educate

In the education industry, educators are shifting to incorporate social justice topics into their curriculum. They’re empowering more students to develop an interest in computer science and teaching their students about our actual US History, to name a few ways our core subject areas are evolving.

We’re also integrating restorative justice strategies into our schools and relying less on having police on our campuses.

It’s become undeniable that the erasure and misinformation students have been subjected to for generations has to stop. Educators are dutifully taking on this role of appropriately shaping young minds so that our students grow into the professionals we need to take us forward.

All sorts of modern strategies are influencing the instructional approach educators are taking.

PD tools like DebiasVR are emerging from developers like Clorama Dorvilias.

As early as 3rd grade, after school programs like Girls Inc. are teaching students about allyship.

In an article I recently published with Learning.com’s digital magazine, I share more strategies for inclusive 21st-century education in computer science.

How We Buy and Who We Follow

Finally, consumers are getting creative about which businesses, financial institutions, and thought leaders they want to support. Our public figures are realizing that their opinions and values matter to their followings and scramble to get their message (or PR nightmares) under control.

These are amazing advancements in the way we do business, work, learn, and buy.

Though, are these in-good-faith-efforts enough? Does this behavior help these industries truly become more hospitable to professionals of color?

Is your industry a place where people of color can thrive?

In a recent panel discussion I was apart of with AMA PDX, we discussed how DEI Strategy impacts Marketing and Business. The resounding sentiment was we cannot celebrate the fact that we’re finally now taking these steps. However, we are on the right track.

Ultimately, how we communicate out to shape our world matters greatly.

Whether you’re a marketer, recruiter, educator, or business owner, consider how you target your audiences. Always ask yourself,

What assumptions are being made about the populations I’m working with?

Which populations are missing from our outreach?

What can we do to support equitable experiences for all?

Meggie Abendschein, CEO of Moxie Mouth and agency I admire says,

Move away from business strategies that rely on savior complexes, poverty porn, us v. them narratives and other power dichotomies. When organizations center their work and narratives around the people and issues they are working for, the true social impact follows.

How can you advocate for real-world issues where you work and spark some creative problem-solving?

It’s a myth that Human Resources is solely responsible for launching, maintaining, and growing your culture and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion initiatives.

HR may have ownership over some of the practices, procedures, and processes that impact the culture, but without the internal work and momentum across the organization, there’s no vehicle to move those HR components into a position of authenticity and actual effectiveness.

Visionary leaders know the importance of applying an equity lens to everything the business does and is, which ultimately results in a true representation of today’s talent wanting to come work with you and a safer environment for all.

Try this:

  • Start tracking diversity data in collaboration with your Equity Team and cross-reference with the current census data for where you live. Don’t have an Equity Team? Let’s start there. I can help you do this.
  • Encourage your Equity Team to utilize focus groups or beta testers. Never work in silos.
  • Add a cultural competency field to include this identifier in your CRM, campaigns, or product roadmaps.
  • Continue including and centering the points of view of BIPOC whenever possible.
  • Continue working to diversify your teams.

Most importantly, think about how your industry may have historically enabled oppression in ways you wouldn’t have expected.

What are we seeing when we take a deeper look?

As a present-day example, social work has emerged as a more appropriate strategy for crisis response than relying on law enforcement. However, when you look at the roots of the profession in America, there is much to see.

Nicole Cardoza, creator of the Anti Racism Daily writes,

Because they are unarmed and trained in de-escalation and crisis management, social workers can seem like the perfect solution.

In theory, this makes sense, but propping up social workers as the solution to systemic racism ignores the past and present role of social workers as the implementers of racist policies in America ( National Association of Social Workers).

Social work students, professors, and practitioners create and perpetuate environments that overlook blatant racism every day.

Learning this surprised me. Have you ever thought about how unsuspecting forms of policing show up in different professions and industries?

If I’ve learned one thing as I analyze our way of life and path forward, it’s to expect non-closure. Though, if we take a deep enough look and immerse ourselves in these very real problems, we will start to see why asking these questions and thinking about the path forward is more important than ever, and it’s possible. Let’s remain hopeful of that.

Ready to analyze your industry and create a plan for change? Contact me here and let’s design your custom strategy.

Originally published at https://katiezink.co on November 23, 2020.

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Katie Zink

DEI Strategist | Facilitator | Writer | Believes we’re all capable of our own revolution. Learn more about my signature consulting program at katiezink.co