Human resources has traditionally been viewed as the talent gatekeeper for an organization. HR practitioners therefore play a significant role in developing, nurturing, and communicating a culture of inclusion. Furthermore, most HR professionals appreciate that organizations are no longer composed of a homogeneous workforce. So it was with great interest that this tweet by Tanya Odom regarding Elevate 2015, a virtual HR conference aimed to “inspire HR and other business professionals,” caught my eye.
The Elevate 2015 web site touts a roster of “industry leading experts and visionaries,” famous authors, HR thought leaders, and leading business executives who promise to provide attendees the tools they need to “free themselves and their people to do their best work.” Unfortunately, of the 62 industry leaders and visionaries, only three seem to be people of color. Moreover, in reviewing the event’s agenda, diversity and inclusion doesn’t seem to be considered a “new idea” or “effective trend” within the themes of Growing People, Seismic Shifts in HR, Talent, Leadership, and Culture.
Fifty-six HR topics – not one included the importance of diversity and inclusion.
When Tanya’s tweet began to gain some traction on Twitter, this was HR.com’s reply:
As Tanya noted – a “1990’s” response. Indeed, this organization should know better.
With increased globalization and multicultural workforces, a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion is a core HR responsibility. Professional HR organizations such as HR.com and Elevate 2015 sponsors need to do better, especially since they influence those who are responsible for finding, developing, and retaining corporate talent. If professional HR organizations are truly committed to promoting diversity and inclusion, there needs to be a fundamental paradigm shift regarding diversity from those who lead them.
Perhaps HR.com and the organizers of Elevate 2015 can learn a lesson from Canada’s new Prime Minister?