HR’s Diversity Dilemma

HR’s Diversity Dilemma

Breaking Barriers for a Brighter Future

Human Resources, often hailed as the heart of an organisation, is facing a glaring dilemma – a lack of diversity.

Despite being the driving force behind shaping company culture and ensuring fair practices, HR departments worldwide remain largely homogeneous, with women comprising a significant majority, particularly in the UK.

Let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

Women make up a staggering 68% of the HR workforce globally, a trend that spans across various industries and sectors.

While it’s commendable to see women taking charge in this vital function, there’s a catch – the overwhelming majority of HR professionals fall within the 20-40 age range and are predominantly white.

This lack of diversity within HR raises critical concerns about visibility, accessibility, and representation, especially at senior levels.

When the faces leading HR departments do not reflect the diverse makeup of the workforce they serve, it can perpetuate stereotypes, biases, and systemic barriers, particularly for employees from racialised backgrounds.

Picture this scenario

A boardroom meeting where important decisions are being made.

Karen is chairing the meeting. She’s friendly, well-meaning, and fits the mould of the typical HR Director.

But, as the only blackface in the room, you can’t help but wonder if Karen truly understands the nuances of the challenges faced by diverse employees.

During the meeting, Claire and Dave, two senior executives, make biased and micro-aggressive comments.

Yet, Karen either fails to notice or lacks the tools to address these issues effectively.

It’s not that she doesn’t care; it’s that she might not have the perspective or training to navigate such complex situations which highlights a fundamental problem – the need for a more diverse and inclusive HR landscape.

As someone who has experienced discrimination first hand, I understand the frustration of feeling invisible or misunderstood in the workplace.

‘It’s like trying to explain water to a happy fish – some people simply can’t see the biases that others face daily’

4 Ways to Reimagine the Role of HR

Fear not, change is possible, and it starts with reimagining the role of HR in this diversity dilemma to create a more equitable workplace:

  1. Diversify Talent Pipelines: Organisations must actively recruit talent from diverse backgrounds, including historically underrepresented groups. By casting a wider net and tapping into talent pools beyond traditional channels, who can bring fresh perspectives and experiences into HR roles.
  2. Break Role Stereotypes: It’s time to challenge the notion that HR professionals fit a specific mould. HR is not a one-size-fits-all function; it’s a dynamic field that benefits from diversity in thought, background, and expertise. By breaking free from stereotypes, we can create space for individuals from all walks of life to thrive in HR roles.
  3. Develop Structured Career Progression Routes: Too often, employees feel like they’re stuck in a dead-end job with limited growth opportunities. HR departments should prioritise creating clear and accessible career paths for all employees, regardless of their background or identity. This means providing training, mentorship, and support to help employees advance in their careers.
  4. Increase Representation in Senior Roles: Diversity starts at the top. Organisations must actively promote and elevate diverse talent into leadership positions within HR departments. By having leaders who reflect the diversity of the workforce, organisations can better understand and address the needs of all employees.

In conclusion, HR’s diversity dilemma is a pressing issue that requires immediate attention and action. With Kinship, your employees gain access to a supportive community where they can network, celebrate achievements or share experiences, and access valuable resources to thrive in their careers.

If you are a HR or People Leader fostering a culture of support and growth. I would be thrilled to connect with you and share how Kinship could partner with you or your organisationLet’s connect