SHRM Launches New Initiative to Help Achieve Racial Equity

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek August 3, 2020
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Black woman

​Today, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is launching Together Forward @Work, a new multipronged initiative to eliminate racial inequality from the workplace. The global HR organization also released a new research report, The Journey to Equity and Inclusion, and a television commercial to call attention to social injustice and racism at work.

"Our vision for this is a multifaceted and cross-functional platform that is bold in its accountabilities and leverages resources within and outside of SHRM. We begin with an initial focus on the specific racial injustices for Black Americans in the workplace," said SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP. 

"We have the ability—and the obligation—to use our professional expertise in solving a significant workplace equity crisis in America," Taylor said. "While some workplaces excel in this area, we can all be bold in broadening our commitments; calling for accountabilities; and creating real, measurable and lasting impact. In this substantial way, we demonstrate the power of HR and elevate perceptions of the value we bring to the organizations we serve."

The online platform will include tools such as conversation starters, an episode of "Tune in Tuesdays" on Aug. 11, learning resources and forums for collaboration. SHRM plans to expand existing efforts, such as Workplace Convos & Coffee, to focus on racism at work, Taylor said. And many SHRM members have participated in a new survey about their organizations' most urgent needs for building a more diverse and inclusive workforce. 

Together Forward @Work will be overseen by a Blue Ribbon Commission on Racial Equity charged with developing a measurable, actionable plan that organizations can use to eliminate racial inequality and realize greater diversity, equity and inclusion. SHRM will announce the commission members later this week.

"It will take all of our collective efforts to help drive this agenda," Taylor noted. 

SHRM has, for years, stood with and supported people and groups who continuously experience barriers to safe and meaningful employment opportunities. It previously launched initiatives to help people with disabilities find work through Employing Abilities @Work and boosted employment of people with criminal backgrounds through Getting Talent Back to Work. SHRM also has advocated on behalf of policies on pay equity, a modern workplace immigration system that allows employers access to top global talent while protecting employees, protection for people who identify as LGBTQ and the eradication of sexual harassment.  

SHRM Member-Exclusive Resource Spotlight
Overcoming Workplace Bias


SHRM's new research report looks at:

  • How organizations succeed when building inclusive workplaces.

  • The missteps organizations make when identifying proper inclusion initiatives.

  • The largest obstacle in respondents' workplaces to eliminating injustice and bias.

  • What motivates organizations and their workforces to build meaningful change in the face of racism.

  • How SHRM can facilitate greater workplace diversity and eradicate racial injustice.

The findings "will generate actionable recommendations for driving meaningful change," said Alexander Alonso, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, SHRM's chief knowledge officer. "With this research, we will also help inform policymakers, business leaders and workers in matters of a truly inclusive workplace."


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