Since you are a diversity expert, I’d like you to weigh in on a subject that came up in a discussion last week. It was a reminder of a debate I’ve heard many times and most often it’s associated with diversity efforts. The debate is over whether there should be a separate diversity functional area within an organization.
On the one hand, some argue that a separate diversity group comprised of people who are committed to working solely on diversity programs should exist either within or separate from Human Resources. Since this is work that is unique from the day to day work of HR, this structure is required. And, because diversity isn’t typically something organizations do well without intervention, focused effort is required to affect meaningful change.
Alternatively, some argue that when a separate Diversity group is established, it creates a mindset within the organization that it’s the job of only that group to think about and act on diversity issues and programs. This argument is typically made by people who feel that diversity and inclusion is every one’s job and that it should be treated that way.
How do you come down on this? What is the “right” way to approach diversity and inclusion within an organization?