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Illustration by Security Management

Report Outlines DE&I Action Steps

The Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) Blue Ribbon Commission on Racial Equity released a digital report designed to present solutions organizations can use to build more inclusive, equitable, and diverse workplaces.

“It is our hope that the actions outlined in this report will promote crucial conversations in all workplaces—large, medium, and small; rural and urban; and fully remote, onsite, or hybrid,” the commission explained in the report. “Most importantly, these conversations must lead to action. We don’t have the luxury of issue fatigue when we continue to compete for the best talent. We don’t have the luxury of issue fatigue when employees’ expectations and voices have led to unprecedented activism. And we don’t have the luxury of issue fatigue as this country fights to retain its place as a symbol of freedom and opportunity to poor and oppressed people throughout the world.”

The report offers six key actions organizations need to take.

1. Redefine your culture and values. This action must be more than diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) theater. Organizations need to include real, measurable diversity and inclusion goals and calculate the impact value of driving DE&I change.

2. Practice inclusive hiring and promotion like you believe in it. Where an organization is now is the base; a year from now, and two years from now, will show if there is a true DE&I commitment. Organizations that hire and promote inclusively will see change—at every level of the organization from entry positions to senior leadership.

3. Have open dialogues about taboo topics. Organizations can address the issue of racism head-on by giving its employees tools (and permission) to have safe space conversations on the topic.

4. Invest capital in social impact funds and corporate social responsibility programs. “An investment of venture capital in social impact funds… provides the incentive needed to propel real momentum,” the report said.

5. Market to those who have been ignored. Only by purposefully reaching out to audiences that lack opportunity can organizations ensure that their workforces reflect the entire population.

6. Rebuild your enterprise to be a force for good. Organizations that are serious about DE&I will invest in it. This may include changing revenue streams or adding business lines that support social justice.

A Security Management online article, “Fostering the Geniuses in Your Backyard Through DE&I Efforts,” interviewed diversity educator and speaker James Pogue, PhD, who said, “When you talk about inclusion and how it brings value, it's about relevancy. Do you want to exist? Do you want your business to thrive? Do you recognize that by precluding the inclusion of inclusive business practices that you are relegating yourself to a second-tier, third-tier, or fourth-tier set of opportunities?”

The article goes on to outline primary factors for security leaders to consider in their own DE&I endeavors, including recruitment, mentorship, and retention.

According to a new research report from SHRM, The Cost of Racial Injustice (SHRM members only), in the past five years in the United States, 42 percent of Black employees say they have experienced unfair treatment at work based on their race or ethnicity. For other groups, 26 percent of Asian employees report unfair treatment, 21 percent of Hispanic or Latino employees, and 12 percent of White employees.

The report estimated the dollar cost of inequity: absenteeism was estimated at $54 billion in losses in the past year, lost productivity was $59 billion, and employee turnover was estimated as a $172 billion drain across five years.

In “How Managers Can Sustain Diverse and Inclusive Workplaces,” ASIS member Alexander T. Zippel, CPP, discussed what it means to be an inclusive leader. Such a leader embraces individual distinctiveness and works to build an environment where diverse experiences, backgrounds, and approaches blend to form a team that functions at a level unachievable if everyone had similar approaches and experience. The SHRM report begins to outline a blueprint for action to get there, a blueprint echoed in what Zippel wrote:

At the beginning of a value implementation initiative like a diversity program, there is often a tendency to try to quantify the organization’s diversity and then promise to improve it with the creation of a new diversity program. But a focus on a “new program” may be misguided. Some argue that that creating a separate diversity program only works if there are drivers and a dedicated sponsor, and many separate programs do not last long.

Instead, it is usually much better to integrate diversity into all organizational processes, so that an inclusive and diverse environment is created where employees can be their true selves, uniquely integrated into the organization.