Health and technology companies are famously lacking in diversity. Over 14% of the U.S. population is Black, but chances are, 14% of your coworkers are not. If you’re anything like us, you want everything to be equitable, but you don’t know how you personally can make a dent. As marketers, we don’t always have a strong presence in the hiring process, so the answer for us many times can’t be to hire more people of color. To that end, we’ve brainstormed a list of action-oriented things we are going to try to do better in our healthcare marketing department, and we wanted to share that list with you. What do you think? Do you have any ideas? We are open to dialogue as well.
1. When you are creating content, look for and choose Black SME’s (Subject Matter Experts) and creators (photographers, videographers, and graphic designers, e.g.).
We say “look for” because we realize that our circles, both personal and professional, tend to resemble ourselves. It may not be easy to find a SME or creator who is Black, but put in the extra effort. Comb through your databases, search the internet, and ask colleagues for recommendations. That bit of extra effort is the action that is needed.
2. Use Black models/actors in advertising visuals.
Representation is important. People tend not to make goals that don’t seem achievable. If you never see anyone who looks like you doing a job, you’re more likely not to consider that job a real possibility. Whether you’re hiring models/actors or searching through stock photography databases, use imagery that depicts Black people--especially as scientists, as doctors, and in positions of leadership. It may not seem like a lot, but if we all commit to being more aware of this, we can change perceptions.
3. Pay your interns. Choose interns who are Black.
Think about it: who can work for free for months at a time? People who are being supported by their parents. And who holds the majority of the wealth in this country? Hint: it’s not racial minorities. By paying your interns, you are increasing the chances that minorities can apply.
4. Order from Black-owned restaurants for events.
A quick Google search for “Black-owned restaurants by me” will yield helpful results. Spending money at Black-owned businesses supports them from a capitalism standpoint.
5. Amplify Black voices on social media.
Share social posts from Black leaders. Share important BLM information on social media channels you manage. Some people feel like this is too “risky” for the brand they manage. It’s not. Keep it professional and tie it into your company’s or client’s messaging. Supporting basic equality is not a controversial stance.
6. Mentor Black youth.
There are educational disparities in the U.S. that leave many Black youth at a disadvantage. It’s not just about the resources a school may be unable to provide; it’s also about access to certain networks and opportunities. Another issue is that people tend to choose mentees who remind them of themselves when they were younger--so it’s often someone of the same gender and race. An organic mentor relationship with a young Black person may not easily present itself and manifest, so make a conscious effort to find a program in your area.
7. Reaffirm your commitment periodically.
Don’t forget about this! The movement will slow, and we all care about a lot of causes, but equal rights for our fellow humans cannot be put on the back burner. At a minimum, reaffirm your commitment and review your chosen actions annually.