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How CSOs can ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion in corporate security

Corporate security

Diverse teams, especially those with diverse leaders, tend to be more innovative than teams without much diversity. Diverse teams are especially good at coming up with disruptive innovation, which is what we need in a time of big changes. Diversity also makes people more productive, and diverse teams usually have an easier time aligning with business goals. To get the benefits of diversity, we need to keep working hard to promote equity and make sure everyone feels included at work. This way, everyone can bring their whole selves and all their talents to work and compete fairly alongside other employees.

A research report from the ASIS Foundation and The Clarity Factory sheds light on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) issues within corporate security. The findings provide insight into how to develop a culture that recognizes the quality talent of all backgrounds by recruiting, developing, and retaining it for success within this field for overcoming challenges unique to today’s security profession. Read on to know more.

Much needs to be done to implement diversity, equity, and inclusion in corporate security

“According to the study’s findings, corporate security departments have recently placed more focus on DEI work,” said Rachel Briggs, OBE, co-founder and CEO of The Clarity Factory. “Corporate leaders acknowledge the importance of DEI but also voice their displeasure that more hasn’t been done. Security isn’t the only sector suffering with it. Although there is still much to learn about the strategies that will work best for corporate security, this study gives us a glimpse into the most urgent problems now present in corporate security settings.”

There is not a lot of diversity among people who work in corporate security compared to other areas of business. According to data from SMR Group, 94% of candidates for security, risk, and resiliency roles globally are men, and 70% come from a former government background. This makes it hard for companies to find people from different backgrounds to hire, even though it may be helpful in certain cases.

The research revealed that Chief Security Officers (CSOs) are actively striving to cultivate a more diverse and equitable work environment. This goal was approached through three distinct areas:

  • Collective Wisdom, which involved increasing the diversity of teams.
  • Rewarding Talent ensured all personnel can ascend equitably within their organization’s structure.
  • Unlocking Diversity Dividend focused on creating an inclusive working setting for everyone.

Getting more diverse talent into the corporate security

To hire new and diverse talent into the corporate security team, organizations can consider the following practices:

  • Use the information to set a standard for diversity, keep track of progress, and make sure people are doing their jobs by using key performance indicators.
  • To encourage more people to consider a career in security, organizations can reach out to schools and colleges. They can also partner with employee resource groups (ERGs) to help with this goal.
  • Change the recruitment process so that it includes more people. This means that CSOs need to rethink role profiles, use inclusive language in job descriptions, advertise in non-traditional spaces, have diverse candidate slates, have diverse interview panels, use blind marked assessments, and prefer equally qualified diverse candidates.
  • Help and encourage hiring managers to use ways to include people of different backgrounds when they are looking for new employees.
  • Offer internships to diverse candidates who are just starting their careers so they can gain work experience.

Ensuring all talent can rise equitably

According to the report, minorities working within security are more likely to feel they have experienced discrimination. To ensure that all employees can grow and improve their position without discrimination, CSOs must:

  • Implement clear metrics for tracking progress as well as hold managers accountable.
  • Equip managers with the necessary training and knowledge for evaluating employees during reviews and promotions processes without bias.
  • Create an inclusive workplace where all employees have a fair chance to advance their professional skills and rise through the ranks.
  • Evaluate and create pathways for intelligence professionals to transition successfully into mainstream security roles.

Creating inclusive work environments

The majority of corporate security professionals feel belonged at their organization, with 80% agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement. However, the agreement is less strong for minorities working within corporate security.

CSOs should do the following things to help minorities feel belonged in corporate security:

  • Model leadership that includes everyone and makes everyone feel welcome.
  • Use data to understand how included and how welcome minorities feel within the security function.
  • Use resources like ERGs and inclusive onboarding to help minorities feel welcome.
  • Run learning programs like reverse mentoring, events, and DE&I stories.

The need for a holistic approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion across the security industry is greater than ever before. For this mission to be successful, CSOs must take the lead in their respective organizations and drive systemic change. Membership organizations should also play a key role in setting standards for appropriate behavior. Finally, everyone within this industry can make a real difference by engaging proactively and becoming an advocate for all people working in corporate security.

This is a sector where trust and commitment are paramount. Unifying its approaches to DE&I will not only make it far more equitable as an industry but also significantly improve productivity, and flexibility and respond efficiently to the safety and security needs of all stakeholders.

Source: ASIS Foundation

Read next: 5 trends financial institutions can see in 2023

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