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What Role Should HR Play in DEI?

Today’s human resources departments are busier than ever. They are responsible for hiring new team members, overseeing the employee lifec…

Today’s human resources departments are busier than ever. They are responsible for hiring new team members, overseeing the employee lifecycle, administering benefits, compensation forecasting, disciplinary action and labor law compliance. So how does diversity, equity and inclusion fit into the role of the busy HR professional?

This long-term DEI educator and practitioner strongly believes that DEI must be a core business strategy, not solely an HR function. DEI must be something that is embedded in every function of the organization, including HR. If the important work of DEI is placed in the human resources department, it may lose its effectiveness because it may not be fully integrated into the overall culture of the organization. Yes, HR is a critical component to the DEI work taking place in your organization, but the department cannot effectively manage this alone.

Understanding the business case for DEI is critical to ensuring there is a robust, productive, innovative and welcoming culture at the organization. When done right, DEI can impact the organization’s overall bottom line, while addressing discrimination, systemic and institutional racism. Whenever possible, DEI must be a standalone department, reporting directly to the CEO or board of directors, including having a seat at the C- suite executive table.

Every member of the HR team must be part of the DEI strategy planning, take part in ongoing diversity trainings; review the current policies and procedures; and have a strong understanding of how biases, stereotypes and microaggressions impact the hiring and firing decisions.

Additionally, HR professionals must be champions of equity and inclusion, ensuring there is fairness, equality and opportunities available to everyone throughout the entire organization.

HR professionals need to recognize that their work goes beyond simply onboarding a new team member They must ensure that every individual in the organization is fully welcomed, confirmed and has a strong sense of belonging.

Implementing effective DEI strategies into everyday HR functions can provide a great opportunity to foster and build an inclusive and equitable environment for everyone. The team at The Professionals Forum can assist your organization with creating, enhancing and implementing a strong and impactful DEI plan. Learn more at theprosforum.com.

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