Is HR at a crossroads when it comes to diversity & inclusion?

Earlier this month, in an extended discussion about diversity and inclusion (D&I) solutions that each required some form of cultural change before they could be executed, one person expressed a sentiment that resonated with all 40 talent acquisition leaders in the room:

I’m. Just. Tired. Of. Waiting.

Every month there are HR transformational discussions occurring in every major firm covering 21st-century challenges that their employers face. Conversations around mobility, D&I, gender parity, engagement, succession, buy versus build, and improving candidate, customer & employee experiences. There are more curated blogs, articles and conferences highlighting these subjects than in the entire 20th century. Practitioners, experts and vendors offer their thoughts, research, observations and silver bullets about what to do in hundreds of webinars each week. All shining examples to those in the trenches… all waiting for the right time. Most, if not all, of these examples, are still pilot experiments too often trying to offer a long-term rationale for change… again.

It’s time to take the driver’s seat on diversity & inclusion

Connecting how solutions augment or detract from business goals was the 20th century’s challenge. The evidence in these first two decades of the 21st century clearly demonstrates which management & HR principles build community, generate engagement, and align with business goals. The evidence is real and, more importantly, we know that when HR leaders step up to drive their colleagues to commit to understanding and delivering on legitimate needs of the growing communities of employees, candidates and customers as equal partners they drive new levels of their respective business’ performance.

HR should be in the driver’s seat and leave those merely sitting at that damn table far behind.

If these agile-movement, design-thinking discussions occurring in thousands of firms are consistently surfacing viable solutions to their respective businesses…then the one thing truly holding us all back is time. Time for our employees to ‘adjust’ to the idea. Time to gain C-level ‘support.’ Time for our society (customers) to ‘accept’ change. Time has been the obstacle in search of change, it seems, forever. Maybe time is the new obstacle.


Change is a given, so how can HR affect change?

According to the World Economic Forum, it will take 217 years for women to achieve parity in the workplace. Really?

According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, it will take women nearly 100 years to achieve parity in Government in the US. Really?

Every management challenge noted so far has similar default timelines. (We’ve just no time to list them all.) Our failure to act on the real challenges in front of us and instead focus on technology, generational and geographic differences, etc are distractions. What if we did act? What does that look like?

What if HR was less a set of silos ignoring each other and more collaboration to build a diversity and inclusion strategy that didn’t wait? A strategy that represents the groups for whose success we are tasked to be the steward.

What if we truly represent the human at work and even establish standards for non-human processes (and entities) that touch humans?

What if we exercise our collective power to execute on solutions people seeking and working at jobs and careers are demanding?

What if Talent Acquisition and Talent Management leaders who…

  • are Fearless and willing to step up (now)…
  • are Passionate about their professional ability to uncover solutions…
  • are Compelled to improve…
  • are Critical thinking…
  • can Challenge one another constructively…
  • are willing to Share unconditionally…

all came together in small groups as peers and colleagues as a community of interest to affect change?

Our aspiration at CXR is to contribute in some small way to the vision that a community of peers and colleagues who exhibit these attitudes and behaviors and commit to each other’s success can make a difference.

With our new partners, Lars Schmidt from Amplify Talent and China Gorman, helping to extend our Talent Acquisition community to Talent Management, we hope to change the nature of time or at least nurture the concept that the time to change is now.


Picture of Gerry Crispin

Gerry Crispin

Gerry co-authored eight books on the evolution of staffing and has written 100s of articles and whitepapers on similar topics during a career in Human Resources that spans more than 40 years from HR leadership positions at Johnson and Johnson; to boutique Executive Search firms; a Career Services Director at the University where he received his Engineering and 2 advanced degrees in Organizational/Industrial Behavior; and, GM of a major recruitment advertising firm even as he launched CareerXroads 25 years ago.

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