If your organization is committed to diversity and inclusion, chances are good you have a D&I committee. You may hold workshops and lunch and learns to encourage awareness and sensitivity. And you celebrate cultural events like Cinco de Mayo and Black History Month.
How has that worked out for you?
Actually, pretty well, says Christina Herrmann, Chief Talent Officer at the Shipman & Goodwin law firm. The upsides are increased diversity representation both in the workforce and in promotional opportunities. These D&I initiatives encouraged conversations about sensitive matters and generally improved understanding of diverse cultures among the workforce.
Now, though, it’s time to move on. Speaking to a DisruptHR audience in Atlanta a few months ago, Herrmann suggests it may even be the time to disband D&I committees. It’s not that anyone should be claiming success; rather, it’s to spread the effort beyond those on the committee to engage the broader workplace community and more fully integrate diversity and inclusion into all parts of the company.
“After decades of having these committees, having these initiatives, we still have not advanced to the point where we should be in terms of having women and minorities in places of leadership and equal representation in the workplace,” she says. Rather than doing the same things, it’s time to try new methods.
What new ideas are these? Herrmann lays out a strategy that starts with an honest assessment of where the organization is on its path to being inclusive. Then set goals; create accountability. It’s not a D&I committee’s job to meet the goals, everyone shares in them.
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You may not choose to disband your committee, but after hearing Herrmann’s talk, you’ll at least want to try some new approaches.
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