Elevating Black Talent Year-Round

April 20, 2022
Woman smiles with her chin in her hand while working at her desk.

DCI’s public relations team recently secured several top-tier stories in the Atlanta Black Star and Travel Noire, to name a few, featuring multiple client communities that are accelerating inclusive career opportunities, celebrating Black culture, and prioritizing the attraction and retention of Black and diverse talent.

These pitch efforts, and subsequent story successes, are not limited to Black History Month. They reflect a year-round focus for DCI publicists and clients who are committed to elevating Black and diverse voices and telling stories important to multicultural communities, and who also recognize that in the fight for talent the winners are those who embrace diversity and inclusivity.

Symeria Palmer, DCI’s lead livability publicist, discusses why this is a strategic focus of DCI’s PR efforts and an essential ingredient to any successful talent attraction campaign, as well as the importance of making it a priority 365 days a year.

1. What formula was used to identify communities that are intentionally elevating and attracting Black talent?

We wanted to focus on places that historically may not have been on the radars of many Black Americans. Due to our nation’s history, 56 percent of the Black population lives in the South, and for those that migrated, it was usually to large metros with progressive values such as Chicago, New York or Washington, D.C. However, in present day, as the Black population grows and the country overall becomes more diverse, we wanted to shine a light on communities that are embracing this change, welcoming an influx of new, diverse talent and taking positive steps to advance inclusive growth, reduce barriers to resources and increase access to good jobs and careers, while also offering a strong quality of life.

2. Our nation is evolving in how we honor diverse communities – no longer limiting celebrations and recognitions to one specific month. Why is this so important? 

This is a huge deal to see the history and culture of Black Americans, as well as Americans of all races and ethnicities, become more integrated into American culture year-round. It’s not only a more accurate reflection of our country’s diverse population, but also a fundamental part of the nation’s identity and therefore just as worthy of honoring and celebrating. This year-round thinking is at the heart of all successful talent attraction campaigns, and further underscores why it’s so important to approach talent efforts through a strong DE&I lens.

3. How can communities authentically recognize and celebrate diverse communities year-round and incorporate this focus as part of their talent attraction efforts?

Here are three quick tips on how to recognize diverse communities year-round:

  • Embed inclusivity into the foundation of your talent campaign or media strategy, so that it’s a core focus of every tactic and activation starting on day one.
  • Understand that each racial or ethnic group that you’re trying to reach has unique needs and ways of communicating so although you may deploy an overarching DE&I talent campaign, niche marketing will lead to more impactful and successful results.
  • Step away from the computer and get on the ground in your local community to build genuine relationships with the various cultural groups that define your community. This is where you can find out about events and happenings that are taking place throughout the year which can be highlighted in your talent campaign and media strategy year-round. It’s also how you spark meaningful dialogues and establish authentic partnerships that will yield invaluable insights on how your organization can continue to improve and refine both its talent attraction and retention efforts.

4. How is DCI counseling clients on how to build healthy and genuine relationships with Black communities?

In addition to the three tips listed above, I cannot stress enough the importance of getting to genuinely know your community. It all starts on a local level and from there regional and national awareness can be generated to attract Black talent. We work with many clients to develop local perception surveys to better understand how locals feel about their community, and uncover what’s working and what’s not. This serves as a key starting point on the road map of talent attraction. We also counsel clients to identify community leaders who can serve as important partners in learning more about what’s happening in the Black community, challenges faced and what are successful wins for the community so these factors can be reflected in economic development efforts. Through these relationships, clients can then begin to build a genuine network of local allies and partners who share their passion for building a better, brighter future for their communities and all the residents who call it home.

5. What change do you hope to see in the next 3-5 years?

We hope to see DE&I organically integrated into PR and marketing efforts for talent attraction and economic development, so that’s it’s a fundamental part of the whole strategy and not just a tactic deployed at certain points during the year. We understand that no two places are alike and that every community is on a different part of this journey, which is why DCI is committed to counseling and supporting clients as they continue to navigate this path forward and embrace a more equitable and inclusive focus with their economic development and talent attraction strategies.