This summary is provided by the IPR Organizational Communication Research Center

Dr. Linjuan Rita Men, Dr. Yufan Sunny Qin, Renee Mitson, and Dr. Patrick Thelen studied how organizational diversity communication efforts and employees’ cultural intelligence contributed to an inclusive organizational climate and enhanced employee engagement. Furthermore, they examined the relationship between employees’ racial minority status and employee engagement.

An organization’s diversity communication was defined as the organization’s efforts in communicating their commitment, advocacy, and initiatives of diversity in the workplace. Employees’ cultural intelligence referred to an employee’s ability to effectively respond to culturally diverse settings. An inclusive climate represented an organization’s commitment to providing fair treatment, consideration, and recognition to all employees regardless of their background and involving them in the organization’s core decision-making processes.

The authors conducted an online survey of 657 full-time employees who worked at various medium and large-sized corporations across 27 industries in the U.S. The survey was implemented in April 2021.

Key Findings
1.) Organizational diversity communication and employees’ cultural intelligence both contributed to a greater perception of an inclusive climate of the organization.
2.) A more inclusive organizational climate contributed to higher employee engagement. Additionally, organizational diversity communication and employees’ cultural intelligence also directly contributed to employee engagement.
3.) The positive impact of an inclusive climate on employee engagement was stronger among racial minority employees than their white counterparts.
4.) Organizations and their leaders should participate in well-researched programs and workshops on diversity communication to improve employee engagement.
— Organizations should also provide cultural intelligence learning opportunities for employees to encourage a more inclusive workplace climate.

Implications for Practice
Organizations should deliver messages that emphasize the organization’s value of inclusiveness and diversity, and more importantly, accompany such messages with internal programming and policy-making efforts. Employees should be encouraged to learn about the diverse cultures represented in the workplace. Concrete strategies such as facilitating dialogue with employees of diverse backgrounds at social events and team-building exercises and ensuring that leaders lead by example in correctly pronouncing the names of all employees will benefit the cultivation of an inclusive climate of the organization.

Click here to learn more about how organizations’ diversity communication and employees’ cultural intelligence can benefit the organization.

Men, L. R., Qin, Y. S., Mitson, R., & Thelen, P. (2023). Engaging employees via an inclusive climate: The role of organizational diversity communication and cultural intelligence. Journal of Public Relations Research. Advance online publication.    

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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