A human-centric workplace: 3 ways to prioritize diversity in a digital age

April 8, 2024

Authored by Austin Wolcott, a seasoned Senior Account Executive and featured in ⁠Diversity Journal, this article explores the imperative of fostering a human-centric workplace in the digital age, focusing on prioritizing diversity. In a world increasingly reliant on automation and technology, the unique perspectives stemming from individual identities, such as those within the LGBTQ+ community, remain crucial. The article outlines practical strategies to embed diversity in every aspect of the workplace—from team dynamics to client relations and media outreach.

A Human-Centric Workplace: 3 Ways to Prioritize Diversity in a Digital Age

As I was recently researching a breaking news topic in the pharma­ceutical world, I had a tangential thought. I identify as a gay man, and I was understanding the unwritten but clear implications that this event would have for the LGBTQ+ community – particularly those with lower income – but I began wondering if an automated system who could also be reading this would have the same reaction.

While neither I, nor even the best experts, can fully answer that question at this time, what I do know is that my personal viewpoint is both inherently and deeply tied to my identity. With technology and automation continuing to permeate daily operations in the workplace – taking over tasks ranging from client relations to media outreach – the value of a human perspective is unquantifiable.

With that in mind, there are several ways in which one can take the initiative to ensure that your workplace is built on diversity and wide-ranging lived experiences. As we all work to balance the desire to integrate the world’s leading technology with our current society, we must never forget the importance of constructing a human-first institution.


Diversity of ideas and viewpoints in the workplace, and public relations as a whole, does not just “happen,” it must be prioritized. As you maintain your current business, and work to build out your operations, the following steps can be taken to ensure that your team continues to put forward bold ideas and support unique viewpoints:

1.) Support diverse viewpoints within your team, and then pursue them with your clients.

When it comes to your workplace, diversity starts with your leadership’s ethos. Wheth­er it be ensuring each team member feels welcome to explore their own ideas, or elevating diverse colleagues to more prom­inent roles, a respectful strategy stems from your company’s priorities. As you approach your daily operations, you must keep the focus on encouraging all team members to incorporate their unique perspectives into their work.

Beyond the theoretical approach, this can also mean having a person with empathetic tendencies and a trained understanding of certain values and com­munity ideals embedded in the finalization of each project and campaign. No matter how powerful the draw is to implement a digital-first approach, the value of having human input on a range of operations, from client relations to building relationships with reporters, cannot be overstated – and it’s up to you to maintain this focus.

The client relations portion of this may be a trickier step at times. When it comes to working with a client, it is important that as an expert in your area, you present them with new, boundary-pushing ideas. Wheth­er it be placing a focus on heritage months, offering up a news peg that may have been missed by leadership, or asking to promote a new member of the company – keeping your mind open is essential. As you elevate diverse ideas from your team, they will naturally flow to your clients – which in turn will promulgate and fortify the impor­tance of including these unique ideas in your approach to your work.

2.) Ensure that all audiences are being reached – and highlighted.

When pitching the media, always keep in mind new, or expanded, audiences that you could reach out to. For example, if your story is important to the LGBTQ+ community, what if you recommend to the client that you pitch a prominent LGBTQ+ publication? Or, given a range of similar reporters, what if you ensure that you include an array of backgrounds in your outreach?

In addition to this, while technology may be able to automate various aspects of preparing for media outreach – conduct­ing tasks such as rapidly building out media lists that incorporate the most relevant and important reporters – having a real person involved with its review is crucial. A team member who understands the nuanced connections and existing relationships that automation may potentially pass over or miss will always add immense value to your efforts.

Finally, in places where your company highlights successful campaigns or work projects, another area of focus could be ensuring that various diverse viewpoints and targets are displayed. This not only provides an actionable demonstration of your commitment to diversity to your clients, but it shows your team that you value the importance of this as well.

3.) Educate and promote a focus on respecting identity and paying keen attention to it.

While all DEI and workplace educational programs teach a focus on respect, there are several ways to do this specific to the world of public relations and client-care.

For example, not only ensuring that team members list their preferred pronouns in all communications, but that they con­tinually look to see if reporters or client contacts also list theirs. This is a necessary means of ensuring that another’s identity is respected – and it highlights the fact that while we don’t yet know the full extent of an automated system’s ability to comprehend and appreciate the concept of identity, you can guarantee that your colleagues do.

This focus on respecting identity can also go beyond aspects such as pronouns, and could entail making sure that a name is spelled correctly as well. Respecting someone’s identity can take on a range of practices, but it’s up to each individual, and the company as a whole, to make sure that there is an internal and external appreciation for a healthy, respectful and human-centric workplace.


In our current age of automation, these types of conversations will only increase in frequency. It is essential that we all work to support diverse team members, highlight a range of ideas, and prioritize reaching new, and wide-ranging, audiences.

Following the above steps is a great start, but placing them at the center of your workplace ethos, client relations and media outreach will not be the end point – it will be one step along a continually evolving road. The focus is on building a diverse, respectful environment, and that is a never-ending pursuit.


Reprinted with permission from the April 3 issue of The Profiles of Diversity Journal. © 2024 Profiles in Diversity Journal. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.  All rights reserved.

How can we help?

Get in touch with us or find an office close to you