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Inclusivity Must Extend Beyond Black History Month, Says HR Advisory Firm

The benefits of diversity can only be realized by embedding inclusion into work practices, behaviors and values.

Buffy Naylor

February 9, 2023

3 Min Read
Black History Month
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In recent years, diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) has become a strategic priority for organizations. The positive impacts of workforce diversity initiatives have been especially important in a challenging and competitive labor market in which candidates are considering more than the standard priorities of compensation and vacation time.

Leading HR research and advisory firm McLean & Company has observed that HR teams are encountering job applicants who are increasingly evaluating an organization’s commitment to social, ethical, and equitable practices. During Black History Month, organizations are reminded even more strongly that their intention behind DE&I policies and initiatives is in the spotlight. But it’s not enough just to have a diverse organization and claim to have a well-rounded approach to DE&I, cautions the firm.

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McLean & Company’s Jennifer Rozon

Diversity on its own will not create a culture of inclusion,” says Jennifer Rozon, president of McLean & Company. For both employees and employers to enjoy the benefits of a truly diverse organization, inclusion must be an intentional and steadfast priority throughout the entire year, every year. It’s important to envision a future state that is reflective of your organization’s needs by looking inward rather than outward.”

Not a One-and-Done Exercise

The complexity of the overall concept of DEI can make it a daunting undertaking, especially because creating inclusion is not a one-and-done exercise. McLean & Company recommends that rather than relying solely on the presence of diversity within the organization, HR and leadership must intentionally work to embed inclusion in the workplace culture itself. This requires the ongoing commitment of employees at all levels to drive a cultural shift, but it must begin with leadership implementing inclusive practices and policies into the foundational philosophy of the organization.

According to a recent article in HR magazine, DE&I teams in the tech industry are taking an especially hard hit in the current wave of layoffs. This is due in large part to a failure by senior executives to champion diversity. Because they lack understanding pf the importance of DE&I, they fail to adequately support it with proper funding and their own buy-in.

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Reboot Global’s Sheryl Miller

“The way to counter this is to double down on the business case,” Sheryl Miller told HR magazine. Miller is founder of workplace consultancy Reboot Global.

“Why did they start it in the first place? What benefits has it delivered so far?

“The DEI team, with the leadership team, need to stand back and see whether the initiatives are inclusive and are having a measurable effect on engagement wellbeing, progression, promotion or pay equity.”

 

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Buffy Naylor or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

Buffy Naylor

Managing Editor, Channel Futures

Buffy Naylor is managing editor of Channel Futures. Prior to joining Informa (then VIRGO) in 2008, she was an award-winning copywriter and editor, then senior manager of corporate communications for an international leisure travel corporation and, before that, in charge of creative development and copywriting for a boutique marketing and public relations agency.

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