Like many industry events this year, the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Inclusion 2020 conference this week was virtual. Covering a wide range of diversity and inclusion topics, the three-day online gathering centered on strategies and actions to make workplace cultures more inclusive.
In an opening session, SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. spoke with the brothers of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by police in May, about their experiences with discrimination and unfair treatment in the workplace, such as getting lesser paying assignments than White workers. Taylor noted the importance of HR managers establishing a respectful and fair workplace, and training and educating supervisors on how their actions can create hostile work environments.
Here are 5 takeaways from #SHRMInclusion:
Conduct listening sessions
Having conversations and listening sessions with employees on race and other uncomfortable topics is one of the practical strategies to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). This includes conversations among board members and senior executives, as well as small groups of employees discussing the challenges they are facing and the organization’s response.
Track and analyze data
Transparency and tracking and analyzing data is one of the keys to achieving more DE&I and driving real change. The CEO of an HR technology company said there’s no substitute for data and analytics when it comes to identifying and rooting out racism, gender and other bias.
Identify microaggressions aka subtle acts of exclusion
Subtle acts of exclusion (SAE) is another term for microaggressions and another acronym to add to the DE&I glossary. A session led by Dr. Michael D Baran, author and consultant, focused on how to understand and identify the different types of microaggressions and how to stop them through uncovering biases, encouraging allyship and speaking up about SAE.
Break down hiring barriers for vets
Attracting, hiring and retaining military veterans is also an important part of creating an inclusive workforce. Putting veterans to work in meaningful ways involves recognizing their unique value and investing in their individual success through training programs on technical and soft skills, establishing an employee resource group (ERG) for veterans and assigning mentors to help vets navigate their personal career growth and the organization’s culture.
Go beyond traditional DE&I practices
According to SHRM research, 25% of Americans don’t feel respected and valued at work; 33% of US workers say their workplace discourages discussions about racial justice issues and 1 in 2 HR professionals say incivility exists in their workplace. Addressing these challenges and creating an authentic culture of inclusion takes bold action, consensus and accountability.
SHRM’s Inclusion 2020 virtual conference addressed critical DE&I issues and cultural shifts spurred by a global pandemic and movements for racial and social justice. Topics such as inclusive hiring and retention, unconscious bias, microaggressions and allyship have moved front and center as organizations grapple with the many challenges of advancing inclusion and belonging. And as someone pointed out, while making progress can seem overwhelming, it’s good to remind ourselves that no one person can do everything, but we all can do something.