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A new poll from the Society for Human Resource Management shows that only two in 10 organizations have an internal group focused on diversity within the organization.

Regardless of whether organizations do or do not have internal groups — a diversity-focused committee, council, or advisory board — the human resources group plays a significant role in diversity initiatives. When asked, “Who is responsible for implementing diversity initiatives at your organization?” 65% of poll respondents cited the human resources group. Another 62% said the human resources group is responsible for leading diversity initiatives.

The second most cited group responsible for both implementing and leading diversity initiatives is the president/CEO and his or her office, said 21% of respondents polled.

The findings were released yesterday to an audience of human resource and business professionals attending the 2011 SHRM Diversity & Inclusion Conference & Exposition in Washington, D.C.

“While internal diversity councils aren’t the only way that an organization can move the needle around diversity and inclusion, these results are an indication of how few organizations are responding to the world’s rapidly changing demographics in a proactive and meaningful way,” says Eric Peterson, manager of diversity and inclusion at SHRM. “Clearly, we still have a lot of work to do.”

Additional findings include:

* In fiscal year 2010, 16% of organizations represented in the poll had a diversity training budget (29% of the 16% has a separate, stand-alone diversity training budget while 71% factored it into the overall training budget).

* Comparing fiscal year 2011 to 2010, diversity training budgets remained the same in 75% of organizations, increased in 14% of organizations, and decreased in 10% of organizations.

* 55% of poll respondents said their organization has a formal, written policy addressing sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. Another 36% have no policy, formal or informal. Nine percent rely on an informal policy.

* Regarding gender identity and/or gender expression, 21% of organizations have a written policy while 79% do not.

© 2010 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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