SHRM Poll Shows Organizations Have Work to do for Diversity, Inclusion

Oct 24, 2011

SHRM Poll Shows Organizations Have Work to Do for Diversity, Inclusion

Alexandria, Va. – A new poll from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows that only two in 10 organizations have an internal group focused on diversity within the organization.

Regardless of whether organizations do or do not have internal groups — a diversity-focused committee, council, or advisory board — the human resources group plays a significant role in diversity initiatives. When asked, “Who is responsible for implementing diversity initiatives at your organization?” 65 percent of poll respondents cited the human resources group. Another 62 percent said the human resources group is responsible for leading diversity initiatives.

The second most cited group responsible for both implementing and leading diversity initiatives is the president/CEO and his or her office, said 21 percent of respondents polled.

The findings were released today to an audience of human resource and business professionals attending the 2011 SHRM Diversity & Inclusion Conference & Exposition in Washington, D.C.

The conference is designed to address contemporary diversity management challenges and emerging issues impacting workplaces.

“While internal diversity councils aren’t the only way that an organization can move the needle around diversity and inclusion, these results are an indication of how few organizations are responding to the world’s rapidly changing demographics in a proactive and meaningful way,” said Eric Peterson, manager of diversity and inclusion at SHRM. “Clearly, we still have a lot of work to do.”

Additional findings include:

  • In fiscal year 2010, only 16 percent of organizations represented in the poll had a diversity training budget (29 percent of the 16 percent has a separate, stand-alone diversity training budget while 71 percent factored it into the overall training budget);
  • Comparing fiscal year 2011 to 2010, diversity training budgets remained the same in 75 percent of organizations, increased in 14 percent of organizations, and decreased in 10 percent of organizations;
  • More than half55 percentof poll respondents said their organization has a formal, written policy addressing sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. Another 36 percent have no policy, formal or informal. Nine percent rely on an informal policy; and
  • Regarding gender identity and/or gender expression, 21 percent of organizations have a written policy while 79 percent do not.

The SHRM Poll: An Examination of Organizational Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion highlights the responses of 674 randomly selected human resource professionals from SHRM’s membership.

For details, visit the survey section of SHRM Online at Follow SHRM Research on Twitter @SHRM_Research.

MEDIA: To cover the conference or to inquire about the poll, contact and 703-535-6273 or and 703-535-6072.

Follow live reports on the conference at and Facebook. The hashtag is #SHRMdivcon. SHRM also has an online Diversity Resource Page.


About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in more than 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.


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