Have a rant: HR – white, middle class, diversity champions – don’t make me laugh

Am I the only person who finds it ironic that HR is entrusted with the diversity agenda?

I can accept that, in theory, HR is the right function to lead on diversity, since it generally manages an organisation’s recruitment. And that, by its very nature, is itself a discriminatory process.

But HR giving the rest of its organisation advice on how to attract and manage a diverse workforce? Who are they trying to kid?

The majority of HR professionals are white, middle class, middle-aged, Daily Mail-reading women. A less diverse bunch of people you could not hope to meet on a Caribbean cruise ship.

If HR departments could get their own house in order and better reflect the ethnic, sex and age profiles of the organisations they serve, then perhaps business leaders would take their worthy exhortations on the subject more seriously. For a start, HR could recruit a few more men.

Otherwise, the HR profession runs the serious risk of appearing to promote the message: ‘Do as I say, and not as I do’. And diversity will be seen to be about preachiness, compliance and ticking the right boxes, rather than a state of mind.

If HR really believes that a diverse workforce can produce benefits including increased skills, creativity, innovation and customer service, then it should prove it by ‘living the diversity dream’, and demonstrating improved performance as a direct result.

In the meantime, the HR profession has got a few stones to pick up and some windows to replace in its big glass house.

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