Yesterday in San Francisco, I addressed a gathering of more than 750 diversity and inclusion leaders from companies and organizations throughout the country. For decades, these professionals have talked about and demonstrated how differing perspectives in the workplace can improve innovation and problem solving.
But today, some of those differences are setting up opposing camps. Diversity, in the form of differences in thoughts, opinions and beliefs, is now used by some as a way to divide.
This is why our organizations need diversity leaders more than ever before. They are the ones who make our workplaces safe for all kinds of people to contribute toward a common goal. They create an environment where people can ask questions, express themselves, bring their whole selves to work and know that they are valued and being listened to as a contributor. This is how innovation happens.
Yet too many organizations still confine “diversity” to a single program or initiative, when they should be viewing every process and goal of their organizations through a holistic diversity lens. It takes more than checking boxes and targeting ads to create a workplace that thrives on the differences diverse talent brings. It takes motivated individuals across the organization with the vision to be diversity leaders—not just in HR, but throughout management, in the C-suite and in operations.
It is the role of HR to cultivate these diversity leaders throughout the company to identify, develop and advance people from every talent pool. They, and the people they bring on board, will become your organization’s best ambassadors and recruiters, constantly enriching your workforce with talent that may have otherwise been overlooked.
Today’s complex problems demand a variety of viewpoints to be solved, and organizations that do not value an array of perspectives lose growth opportunities and suppress innovation. SHRM is here to help you lead the challenging discussions around difference, providing resources and support as you focus your own diversity lens across your organization.
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