Diversity and Inclusion Should Be a Part of the Company’s DNA | Employee Benefits Firm

Diversity and inclusion continues to be a main focus for companies even during this time of crisis.  Companies are trying to find ways to continue to support every member of their communities as this crisis continues to impact organizations.  In general, where diversity and inclusion are concerned, there is still so much that needs to be done.

The Current Environment

Take gender parity for instance.  For years – there has been continued attention paid to the gaps between men and women.  There have been countless studies on the topic, but none have painted as stark a picture as the latest report from the World Economic Forum.  The organization says:

“None of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes, and nor likely will many of our children. That’s the sobering finding of the Global Gender Gap Report 2020, which reveals that gender parity will not be attained for 99.5 years.”

What’s sobering about that statistic is the possible reality that most adults living now will not see a time when men and women are completely equal.  Having said that, it’s better than the previous year’s prediction of 108 years.

Believe it or not, HR can help cut that length of time down.

D&I Data

“For an HR professional, the first thing you have to know is the data.  If you don’t know where you are in your own organization, then you’re part of the problem,” Christopher McCormick said.  He’s formerly with HP.  He said HP conducted a D&I survey on gender parity in compensation not too long ago.  When it was completed, they found less than 100 discrepancies.  HR took those to the CEO and they were addressed immediately.

Knowing the data isn’t enough though. HR must also understand that data AND understand people.

“When we understand people and we understand each other, that can help mitigate some problems that come up,” Jackie Hunter said.  She’s the director of diversity and inclusion for Banner Health. “When we assume positive intent and when we understand everyone has a story and how can we be respectful of that story and gain that understanding and collaboration, that’s where diversity and belonging will come into play.”


In terms of collaboration, DeRetta Cole Rhodes agrees.  She’s the Senior Vice President and Head of HR for the Atlanta Braves.

“The most difficult thing to do is to put together a team that is diverse and come up with a decision very quickly,” Cole Rhodes said.  “Typically in a team that is inclusive and you’ve got everybody represented, the solution, although it may have been difficult or much more arduous to get to, it’s the best solution you have.  Why?  Because every individual is a part of that solution.”

There are others ways HR can positively impact diversity and inclusion within the workforce.

One way is through recruitment or development. There are a myriad of ways of doing this.  Some can be through internal or external partnerships. 

Like recruitment, mentoring can be internal or external. For instance, some HR professionals work with schools or local youth groups. This helps with fostering talent early and making sure more diverse individuals are aware of the opportunities that are available.

That highlights meeting people where they are.

“I think, sometimes, talking with leaders in the past with regards to D&I and previous research, sometimes we get frustrated when folks don’t see our point of view.  But we also have to understand it’s not about changing someone’s point of view.  It’s about changing their viewing point,” Hunter said.

The Path Ahead

No matter how it is framed, diversity and inclusion should be a top priority for organizations.  It also presents human resources another opportunity to lead and to demonstrate why HR leaders should have a seat at the C-suite table. With HR in charge of the diversity and inclusion strategy, the company will find itself on a positive trajectory.  Examples include created smarter workplaces and allowing for higher job satisfaction, employee retention and revenue.


By Mason Stevenson
Originally posted on hrexchangenetwork.com

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