Diversity function role debate

I’ve been amazed by how impassioned the response has been to our news story on the proposed new diversity association, and the suggestion that diversity should be taken away from HR (Personnel Today, 21 August).


The barometer poll on Personneltoday.com reveals that 59% of people who voted want diversity to stay within HR. Diversity practitioners say skills are more important than location, and believe that spreading the word and ingraining new attitudes is more important than which department they belong to.


The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), as you might expect, is opposed to the launch of a new diversity association, and argues its case in our head-to-head debate. The CIPD’s point that any new association needs substantial resources to do its job is borne out by our front-page story, which highlights concerns about the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights having sufficient funds to achieve its aims.


But not all agree with the CIPD view that HR professionals are the ones best placed to drive the diversity agenda, and that it would be pointless segregating diversity as a function.


Roffey Park’s James Traeger argues that keeping diversity within HR is the equivalent of ‘boxing it in’ as an issue, and diversity instead should be built into organisational development and strategy rather than being ‘ghettoised’.


Whichever side of the debate you’re on (see letters), for diversity to become mainstream in an organisation, there will have to be less focus on the ‘who’ or the ‘where’ and more on the ‘how’.


Best Places to Work in HR shortlist


This week we reveal the shortlist in our inaugural Best Places to Work in HR awards, in association with Courtenay HR. Thousands of HR professionals completed the online survey in a bid to prove their department is the most appealing in the UK. Well done to the shortlisted teams. We will announce the winners on 17 October.

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