Overheard

ASU+GSV Summit 2021: Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. on diversity, belonging and purpose in work

Leaders in business, HR, education, and tech share innovative ideas about what's to come
By Laura Aka
August 11, 2021

Diversity in the workplace and a sense of belonging are critical, according to Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., president and CEO of SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management.

SHRM “creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together.” SHRM has more than 300,000 HR and business executive members in 165 countries, impacting more than 115 million workers and families globally.

“There is dignity in work, and we know that when people are out of work forcibly, it literally changes the person that you are,” says Taylor. “Therefore, the people who you are around are impacted by that—family, friends, communities”

“So, this idea of dignity and work is so important to the human experience that we all have to commit to ensuring that people get more than a paycheck. It builds self-esteem. It builds their confidence and that of the communities of people, families, and friends who are around them.”

But Taylor notes the relationship between employer and employee works both ways. “When I think about work and the importance of work, a phrase comes to mind—mutual benefit. At the end of the day, work doesn’t work when it’s only good for the employer. And by the way, it doesn’t work when it’s only good for the employee.”

Yes, employers need employees, but so employees need employers so they can provide for their families. And this is why this concept of mutual benefit in work is tied with the dignity of work. So, it’s not just enough to have a job. But to have a good job, one where you bring your whole self to work.”

Click here to learn more about SHRM.

WorkingNation—a collaborating partner of the ASU+GSV Summit—sat down with Taylor in San Diego as part of our #WorkingNationOverheard social media series.

Hear from more innovators in education and tech in the public, private, and nonprofit spheres attending the ASU+GSV Summit 2021 here.

Follow the conversation on social media: #asugsvsummit #workingnationoverheard