Media and advocacy

Listening and Learning

6 July 2020, 
Sarah McCann-Bartlett

In June, as more and more #BlackLivesMatter protests were held throughout the US, and around the world, AHRI was one of the many organisations that released an anti-racism statement. It reflected the sincerely-held feelings of AHRI employees as well as the thoughts of our chairman, Peter Wilson, who at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic made a statement condemning racism against Chinese Australians and urging us all to support Chinese businesses.

Our statement received many comments on LinkedIn. Some were suggestions about what we could do next, while others said they felt AHRI was paying lip service: that we should be looking at what we haven’t done ourselves. These interactions were enormous learning opportunities for me and hopefully for some of you who follow us on LinkedIn as well.

I was also touched when some people contacted me to say they had been inspired by our statement and made their own very strong anti-racism statement as a result. As HR professionals, our members play an influential role in guiding organisational cultures. At their best, these cultures allow employees to bring their true selves to the workplace, provide safe spaces to share their concerns, and champion the change needed to create an environment where diversity and inclusion are embraced.

The recent global events have forced us all to reflect on our privilege and the unconscious bias that narrows our decision-making. They compel us to challenge ourselves to learn about inequality, and act on those lessons. In AHRI’s case, we’re putting all the feedback and suggestions we’ve received on the table, and together with our Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Panel, we are looking at short-term actions that can make a difference now, and longer-term measures that will support our anti-racism journey in the future.

As part of our short-term actions, we’re pleased to share the newly-developed AHRI Diversity and Inclusion Maturity Model – a framework to help organisations identify where their organisational diversity stands, how to improve it, and the associated business benefits that come from it. It also includes a presentation for D&I leaders to help them secure leadership and stakeholder buy-in.

As for AHRI, we’ll continue to listen, and to learn: It’s the first step we can take towards a better future.

View and download the AHRI Diversity and Inclusion Maturity Model - available for all organisations. 

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