The corporate security profession has historically lacked diversity within its professional and executive levels. Fortunately, the issue is beginning to be more assertively addressed through a variety of initiatives.
There are significant advantages to diversification within the profession. Security managers who prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in their hiring practices take a positive step forward in bringing their team into better alignment with their company. It also offers the benefit of better results within accountabilities.
Organizations that are purposeful in their recruiting efforts at all levels are taking a positive step forward. A broadly represented candidate pool should be a top priority; however, there also needs to be a fundamental shift to address and correct any root causes of the historical inequity.
This is where there is an opportunity to have influence and promote change through how we, as security professionals, function in our professional capacities.
Successful security managers know that behavior can impact both reputation and personal brand. This is especially applicable when addressing DEI in the workplace. Thoughtful consideration must be given to what we are willing to subtly endorse or accept. A security leader’s decisions and actions can send a powerful message.
Questions security leaders should consider when evaluating whether their actions are in step with DEI include:
- Many professional membership organizations and associations offer participation that is completely voluntary. Prior to joining, look at the makeup of a group’s board, operating committees and local chapters from a DEI point of view. Are they inclusive?
- In addition to industry-related nonprofits, there has been a proliferation of global for-profit groups offering gatherings, conferences and programs under the auspices of either continued education or access to exclusive suppliers or clients. Ask what their DEI policy is. Does the attendance and makeup of the various presenters or panels reflect a commitment to the principles of DEI?
- Take a DEI view of programs and organizations your company sponsors, hosts, advocates for, or advertises with. Will the activity you are considering be in step with your organization’s DEI goals?
- Look at hiring practices within the supply chain. Do you proactively seek out suppliers with inclusive hiring practices? If the company is providing you with contract employees, are they reflective of a DEI hiring preference?
- With regards to any professional activities, are you sending the wrong message through participation?
- In your interactions at meetings and group gatherings, do you engage, project openness, and encourage participation and involvement of those who are different in appearance, background or viewpoint?
Prioritizing and committing to the principles of DEI brings needed change to the security industry, positively influences the future of the profession, and creates security career opportunities for both yourself and others.