I predict 2018 will see diversity increases in the ranks of the creative industries as organizations try to adjust to the new realities unfolding in these changing times, but only if leaders and staff both want it to happen.

Company leaders must continue to value and prioritize diversity in hiring, mentorship, leadership and recognition programs. Published in 2015, McKinsey’s Diversity Matters report offered evidence that companies with the highest percentages of gender, race and ethnic diversity in their workforce achieved higher financial returns than their national industry medians. It only makes sense that the teams responsible for creating unique, unexpected and relevant campaigns and content to motivate or move citizens and consumers reflect those same people.

To agree that diversity is a key performance indicator comes naturally to some. And to those it doesn’t, the next level of leaders must be brave enough to ask, offer or insist that this investment be made. Given the fundamental changes in communications we all are experiencing, it’s time to ask: Who are we promoting and who are we attracting? What training opportunities are we creating? Where do we place our outreach efforts? Do we take any real risks in creating a more diverse workforce? It’s easy to rationalize our answers and hard to critically analyze them. But through thoughtful analysis and decision making, this type of leadership will set the example and generate incredible benefits to individuals and businesses that will last a lifetime.

Diversity is not the only challenge to communicators as we enter 2018. Given a world where fundamental change seems to be the norm, professionals of all ages need to champion their own value in the workplace and promote their efforts and successes in appropriate yet effective ways. It’s easy to hope your boss or company will recognize the value you offer, but hope is not a plan. If this action does not come naturally, find a mentor to help you overcome your hesitations. Provide your boss the evidence he or she needs to acknowledge your value-proposition to your organization.  It need not be formal, but it must be accurate. And by making it routine, you can build better relationships with that senior leader, which should help build your reputation and increase your value in 2018 and beyond. And ask for the raise and the promotion you deserve. That too, is on you!

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