Diversity, inclusion and bias are critical topics that have generated important conversations in recent months. On Dec. 10, the Security Industry Association (SIA) and ASIS International joined together to host Global DE&I Strategy: Policy and Practices That Produce Positive Business Outcomes, a virtual event highlighting strategic approaches to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). This sold-out webinar – featuring presentations from Dr. James Pogue, CEO of James Pogue Enterprises; Elaine Palome, director of human resources, Americas at Axis Communications; and Joe M. Olivarez Jr., vice president, Operational Center of Excellence at Jacobs – shared how a DE&I program can strengthen and deepen organizational hiring practices by growing candidate pools while growing the retention and engagement of team members and customers.
In the opening session, Pogue explored key language and concepts in DE&I, including definitions for diversity (the full range of human differences) and inclusion (an environment of involvement, respect and connection where the full range of human differences are harnessed to create value). Pogue also discussed the difference between conscious and unconscious bias and how to leverage the Diversity, Inclusion and Bias (DIBS) assessment model to determine how your business is doing with DE&I. The DIBS model includes five stages at which an organization can be on the path to DE&I: hesitant, discomfort, investigating, experimenting and engaging. Pogue called attendees to explore where they and their organizations were on the scale and also where the security industry as a whole is with DE&I.
Pogue closed his session with advice for organizations seeking to improve their DE&I strategy and policy, recommending that they move past “blind hiring” processes to focus on people, maximize word-of-mouth referrals and establish organization-wide clarity. Additionally, he encouraged organizations to facilitate dialogue by building and rebuilding trust, enlisting help and being patient.
“We have to have our best players on the field in order to make a difference in this space,” said Pogue. “If everyone has to grab an oar and row, let’s make sure everyone has an oar.”
Olivarez followed Pogue’s presentation with remarks emphasizing the importance of living the culture of DE&I and innovating to solve for unique challenges.
“We should work to create an environment where everyone feels included, heard and respected,” said Olivarez.
Palome then discussed what SIA is doing to grow DE&I in the security industry, including engaging students and young professionals early on to get them interested in security careers and advocating for a more inclusive and diversified industry through the SIA Women in Security Forum.
“Studies show that diverse organizations are more creative and innovative,” said Palome. “Our customers and our partners and end users want to work with people that look like and represent them.”
Attendees were then split into breakout sessions to discuss three current pain points facing security industry professionals: hiring policies and practices to create and retain diverse candidate pools, best practices for facilitating difficult dialogue and how to create a diversity program in your organization. These small-group sessions were designed to facilitate deeper conversations and action plans.