How Robert Half’s new chief DE&I and ESG officer is tackling her new role

She believes starting with a company-wide listening tour is vital for building trust.
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Susan Haseley

· 3 min read

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A decade ago, the letters ESG and DE&I were little more than a hand of Scrabble tiles. But as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) become increasingly important in modern business, leaders are finding their footing in new roles. One of those leaders is Susan Haseley, Robert Half’s new chief ESG and DE&I officer. Haseley spoke with HR Brew about how she built a career in DE&I, and why ESG and DE&I are inextricably linked.

An unusual career trajectory. Haseley’s career started not in HR, like many who specialize in DE&I, but in risk and technology consulting. In 2002, when she joined Protiviti, a technology consulting firm, she quickly realized women were still a rarity in the industry. “It really started for me with thinking about women and how we help women within the consulting industry continue to advance and grow in the profession,” Haseley said.

Not long after joining Protiviti, she started iGROWW, an affinity group dedicated to helping women thrive and stay at the organization. According to Haseley, the CEO took notice, finding that a formalized DE&I program would help Protiviti. “It started with supporting our women, and then moved on to thinking about all of our underrepresented [groups],” she said. Her unofficial role soon developed a clear path, and in 2017 she was promoted to EVP of global ESG and DE&I at Protiviti.

A new role. In March, Haseley was promoted to her new role at Robert Half, the parent company of Protiviti. Both sides of her role have a focus on people development, which is Robert Half’s whole business, Haseley explained. “Thinking about diversity, equity, [and] inclusion, thinking about how we attract, retain, and advance our people within the organization, thinking about engaging our people and promoting their well-being: Those programs are at the heart of our ESG programs,” Haseley said.

Haseley also sees ESG and DE&I come together through environmental efforts, in part via the company’s new environment affinity group, called iSustain. “We really want to provide support for our people to engage in sustainability for the organization,” she said. “We’re focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We’re focusing on expanding renewable energy.”

Starting strong. Haseley believes that taking the time to sit back and listen to her new colleagues is instrumental to success and building trust with employees. Before she can begin to map out what her next six months or year will look like, she must understand where the company stands currently. “The first thing that I’m doing is listening and learning,” she said. “I’ve been on a little bit of a roadshow going around and meeting with individuals within Robert Half…I’ve done listening sessions with all of the employee network groups, then some listening sessions with leaders around ESG, and some of the initiatives and thoughts around where we want to go.”

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

News built to help HR pros grow their impact & improve the future of work.