HRE Soundbite: C-suite must make social injustice a standing agenda item

The social unrest that unfolded in the wake of the killing of George Floyd has toppled historical statues and brought police reform in some parts of the country; it will also have a lasting impact on the corporate world, says Mirian Graddick-Weir.

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The principal at WeirGroup and former CHRO of Merck says business leaders, especially CEOs and CHROs, need to be committed to making diversity and inclusion–and the underpinning of inequality–a regular part of executive conversations.

Mirian Graddick-Weir

“This topic of social injustice and equality has become just as important as any other business issue,” says Graddick-Weir, equating evaluating the diversity of the company’s talent with assessing its stock of supply. “I see this as being a standing item on the agenda of the C-suite. I’m a board member at two publicly traded companies, and I can guarantee you this will be an agenda item at the board level whenever we talk about talent.”

Related: Why this D&I leader got personal about racism

Boards of directors and investors, she notes, are going to be important players in keeping the C-suite’s attention on the topic.

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“And, it’s not going to be sufficient anymore to just go through the high-level conversations; people are going to want to dig and really find out how various groups [of talent] are doing,” she says. “There are going to be a lot of questions asked and people will be really, really scrutinized–so the CHRO has a very important role to play, in partnership with the CEO and C-suite, to make sure these issues are on the table and that the conversation doesn’t stop just in this moment, but rather is a continuous part of the way people run business.”

Graddick-Weir was named HRE‘s HR Executive of the Year in 2000, when she was with AT&T.

See also: How one firm plans to tackle racism, social injustice


Check back soon and see the September magazine for more from Graddick-Weir and other HR experts about the future of diversity and inclusion.

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Jen Colletta
Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at [email protected].