Hey HR: We Can’t Do Inclusion Without You!

There’s an opportunity for HR to be more inclusive. Are you looking at your business opportunities and challenges through an inclusion lens? When you look at technology, like HRIS systems, are you taking into account issues like bias? Ultimately, who in HR is responsible for inclusion? Is it a CHRO? Chief Diversity Officer? An HR Business Partner?

“All of us have felt excluded,” says Simone Morris, an inclusion thought leader, trainer, consultant, and public speaker, at DisruptHR Charleston, “So there is a huge opportunity for inclusion.” She argues that more than diversity, encouraging a sense of belonging that comes with inclusion is the fundamental initiative that everyone in HR should be responsible for.

Morris argues there is a lot of baggage that comes with being in HR. From dealing with #MeToo and racial bias and not knowing exactly how to deal with new norms at work, it’s too easy to shirk or hand off responsibility. “Are you like Shaggy, the reggae singer, saying ‘It wasn’t me’?” Morris asks. “Is it like a Rubik’s cube where you’re like ‘I just don’t get this inclusion thing’?”

She implores HR to show up for employees as well. “HR has a stigma of being for the employer,” says Morris, “There is an opportunity to be for the people.”

What are some of Morris’ high-level solutions to be more inclusive?

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  1. Take acceptance. If you turn the TV on or social media, you can’t hide from a story about inclusion going right or wrong. You need to accept that it is an issue that will be around and that you have to address it.
  2. Walk the talk. You can’t have awards like “best places to work” while you aren’t trying to clean up your organization, have no diversity in your leadership, and aren’t serious about inclusion.
  3. Don’t do a one-off compliance training. It has to be a continuous journey in your organization, not just a check the box activity — or worse, something you do after an issue happens in the workplace.

In order for inclusion to work, everyone has to be on board. But Morris cautions that people will falter at inclusion and that the key is to improve and do better next time.

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