Leadership Matters
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By Karen Stone, CHRE

I am very grateful (as a proud aunt, HR practitioner and active member of my community) that conversations and actions focused on diversity in the workplace are realized as important contributions to business strategy success.

Today, most of us would be hard-pressed to find a workplace that does not have diversity on its radar and as part of an HR strategy thinking/work for their organization. In fact, the very definition of diversity has evolved and expanded, to include more than gender, race or ethnicity. Diverse workplaces are composed of “employees with varying characteristics including, but not limited to, religious and political beliefs, gender, ethnicity, education, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation and geographic location,” according to Miranda Brookins, writing on HR and workplace diversity.

True diversity is not measured in numbers; it is also about inclusion.

The conversation around diversity has truly evolved over the past decade, and we’ve seen many organizations put significant effort into adopting diversity as a further way to create strong, healthy, creative and productive teams. Even organizations that may not currently score highly on diversity are learning about the importance of this shift – some high-profile companies like GE are even introducing ambitious targets around diversity recruitment practices.

Although we have made some great progress, there is still much opportunity to do more. There are still many organizations that don’t make diversity a strategic priority. There remain organizations that talk about diversity and have yet to walk the walk in this regard. Many organizations have great diversity optics – and in practice, diverse team members may feel far from included.  

True diversity is not measured in numbers; it is also about inclusion. A diverse team can still have members experiencing marginalization or alienation in the workplace – if their important holidays are not respected, key cultural values or traditions are subject to jokes or micro-aggressions or office norms and employee policies are unchangingly heteronormative.

Inclusion is an important key component in the diversity discussion, and you will find this issue of HR Professional chock-full of research and discussion from top thought-leaders and academics on the topic. I hope you enjoy this issue – and I hope that together, one step at a time, we can all help make our organizations inclusive for everyone.  Let’s keep the learning and conversation going. 

Karen Stone, CHRE, is chair of the Human Resources Professionals Association.

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