Prepare and submit your responses to the questions below in approximately 450 words total.Have you had any personal experience with diversity training or participated in diversity training in your current or past job? How effective was it? Why or why not?What are some factors that can make diversity training’s ineffective? Give specific examples. (You can use your personal experience or conduct outside research to answer this question and cite the article/journal you have identified.)Based on the HBR Blog, conduct a search of the literature to find 1 article that either support or opposes diversity training, based on data. Then locate and examine an organization to find out what type of diversity training they have implemented. Applying the first research you have conducted, analyze if the training offered in the organization you have researched is sufficient (or not) and what evidence is there that it is successful? Give specific examples. What you would do differently if you were the HR manager in charge of implementing a diversity training program.
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HRER836: Diversity in the Workplace
Lesson 12: Diversity Training
Commentary – Managing Diversity
Globalization has increased national and international interaction among organizations and their workers. In this context it
is important that managers and supervisors develop multicultural leadership skills to effectively manage a diverse
workforce. Leaders, who understand diversity and the benefits of diverse thinking among their employees, are more likely
to create a competitive edge for their organization.
Effective multicultural leaders should be aware that certain people have unearned privileges that propel them to higher
level positions and that some workers and managers may have stereotypes and prejudices against co-workers. They
must also be aware of discrimination laws to ensure that discrimination does not occur in their organization. Effective
leaders should also be aware that ethnocentrism might color their (as well as their subordinates’) cultural “frame of
reference” (Thomas 2005) and individual’s beliefs and attitudes based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual
orientation along with disability can create barriers to advancement, which, in turn, can lead to disharmonious and
unproductive workforce. Multicultural leaders who embrace diversity and cultural differences are likely to actively seek to
eliminate barriers that make it difficult for employees to ascend to higher-level positions.
Each year, millions of dollars are spent on diversity training. Diversity training is offered for many reasons, including
minimizing race-discrimination lawsuits. Training may be offered at the initial hiring stage, some throughout the tenure of
the employees, and in many cases, training is offered when a complaint occurs from an employee or a customer. There
are many different types of training that include, but are not limited to, orientation training for initial hires, advance
training, awareness training for current employees, and management training with the goal of building skills in
understanding differences, recruiting a diverse workforce, and valuing diversity.
Yet, not all training is effective. In fact, there have been several studies that show that diversity trainings do not show
return on investment.
Read the following HBR blog post.
HBR Blog Network (https://hbr.org/)
Diversity Training Doesn’t Work
by Peter Bregman | 9:51 AM March 12, 2012
“We’ve got another lawsuit,” my friend and client Lana* told me over the phone.
“Really?” I was honestly surprised. “What about all that diversity training everyone went through?”
“Well, apparently we need to do it again.”
Lana was the head of Human Resources for Bedia, a company in the media industry that felt, at times, like an old
boy’s network. Diversity wasn’t just a professional issue for her; she cared about it personally.
Over the years, there had been a number of incidents at Bedia in which individuals had felt misunderstood,
mistreated, or disrespected. Eventually, someone sued.
HRER836: Diversity in the Workplace
In the most recent situation, someone used a word in a letter that felt derogatory to a number of African
Americans. Before that, someone sent a sexist joke around the office and a female co-worker was offended.
There were other incidents too.
Bedia had tried to address the issue in a diversity training that carefully outlined what people were allowed to say,
and what they weren’t.
They also tried diversity training that brought groups of people into a room and asked them to separate into
categories. Some of the categories were more self-evident like gender, age, and ethnicity. Other categories were
more subtle, like experiences they’d had, likes and dislikes, and beliefs. Each group was asked to share a little
about how they saw themselves as an attempt to educate the others.
Still, the problem persisted. The organization was tense and the CEO worried that, eventually, Bedia would end up
in another lawsuit.
He was right.
That’s when Lana called me. Would I do diversity training?
There are two reasons to do diversity training. One is to prevent lawsuits. The other is to create an inclusive
environment in which each member of the community is valued, respected, and can fully contribute their talents.
That includes reducing bias and increasing the diversity of the employee and management population.
Lana made it clear to me that Bedia was interested in the second reason, not just the first, and I agreed to
But after speaking with a number of people in the organization, it confirmed a feeling that had been pestering me
Diversity training doesn’t extinguish prejudice. It promotes it.
At first glance, the first training — the one that outlined what people could and couldn’t say — didn’t seem to hurt.
But on further inspection, it turns out it did.
The scenarios quickly became the butt of participant jokes. And, while the information was sound, it gave people a
false sense of confidence since it couldn’t possibly cover every single situation.
The second training — the one that categorized people — was worse. Just like the first training, it was ridiculed,
ironically in ways that clearly violated the recommendations from the first training. And rather than changing
attitudes of prejudice and bias, it solidified them.
This organization’s experience is not an exception. It’s the norm.
A study (https://scholar.harvard.edu/dobbin/files/2007_contexts_dobbin_kalev_kelly.pdf) of 829 companies over 31 years showed
that diversity training had “no positive effects in the average workplace.” Millions of dollars a year were spent on
the training resulting in, well, nothing. Attitudes — and the diversity of the organizations — remained the same.
It gets worse. The researchers — Frank Dobbin of Harvard, Alexandra Kalev of Berkeley, and Erin Kelly of the
University of Minnesota — concluded that “In firms where training is mandatory or emphasizes the threat of
lawsuits, training actually has negative effects on management diversity.”
HRER836: Diversity in the Workplace
Which shouldn’t come as a surprise, actually. Anybody who has ever been scolded is familiar with the tendency to
rebel against the scolding.
But it’s deeper than that. When people divide into categories to illustrate the idea of diversity, it reinforces the idea
of the categories.
Which, if you think about it, is the essential problem of prejudice in the first place. People aren’t prejudiced against
real people; they’re prejudiced against categories. “Sure, John is gay,” they’ll say, “but he’s not like other gays.”
Their problem isn’t with John, but with gay people in general.
Categories are dehumanizing. They simplify the complexity of a human being. So focusing people on the
categories increases their prejudice.
The solution? Instead of seeing people as categories, we need to see people as people. Stop training people to
be more accepting of diversity. It’s too conceptual, and it doesn’t work.
Instead, train them to do their work with a diverse set of individuals. Not categories of people. People.
Teach them how to have difficult conversations with a range of individuals. Teach them how to manage the variety
of employees who report to them. Teach them how to develop the skills of their various employees.
And, while teaching them that, help them resist the urge to think about someone as a gay person, a white man, a
black woman, or an Indian. Also help them to resist the urge to think about someone as “just like me” — that’s a
Move beyond similarity and diversity to individuality. Help them see John, not as a gay white man, but as John.
Yes, John may be gay and white and a man. But he’s so much more than that.
Don’t reinforce his labels, which only serve to stereotype him. Reveal his singularity. Don’t ask: What are the
dreams of a gay white man. Ask: What are John’s dreams? What does he hate? What are his passions?
The antidote to the ineffectiveness of diversity training is the opposite of diversity training. If you want diversity,
think about an individual, then another, then another.
“Please,” I said to Lana, “Don’t do diversity training again. It will only make things worse.”
“Then what should we do?” she asked.
We decided to put all managers through communication training. It still fulfilled the requirement of the lawsuit. But
it did something more. People learned to listen and speak with each other — no matter the difference — which is
the key to creating a vibrant and inclusive environment.
As it turns out, it’s also the key to preventing lawsuits. The communication trainings I led for Bedia were ten years
ago and they haven’t been sued since.
*Names and some details changed.
Source used with permission: (HBR Blog Network) HBP Approval # 12775442 Retrieved 5/17/2013
CAREERS • COMMENTARY
How the Best Companies Do Diversity Right
By Michael Bush and Kim Peters December 5, 2016
Diversity is an empty word in much of corporate America.
Many companies invest in diversity efforts and appoint chief diversity officers, yet
are disappointed with the meager results. Over the last 30 years there has been
progress, but most agree the full opportunity has not been realized. Thousands
have made the business case for why diversity matters, and shown how it drives
revenue, motivates employees, and fosters innovation. But for some reason, this
often leads to unsatisfying debates without advancing diversity.
At our research and consulting firm, Great Place to Work, we have gathered
evidence showing that when employees look up and look to the left and right what
they see they internalize. If they can see themselves, it gives them hope that they
will be seriously listened to when approaching leaders with new product ideas,
growth opportunities, or simply to connect. This hope fuels increased commitment
which is needed for innovation and the attraction and retention of A-team players
of all types.
The latest example of the power of inclusiveness can be seen in the 2016 Best
Workplaces for Diversity list we just produced in partnership with Fortune. In
researching this ranking, along with the Best Workplaces for Latinos, Best
Workplaces for African-Americans, and Best Workplaces for Asian-Americans, we
discovered that diverse workplaces are good for business and for all employees.
“The best workplaces forge bonds among co-workers of different political views,
different backgrounds, different job titles,” says our colleague Ann Nadeau, chief
people officer at Great Place to Work. “The sense of community is palpable. At a
time when our national social fabric has frayed, workplaces that are great for all
people can play an important role in mending America. These workplaces have
recently shown an ability to openly handle adversity in a way that builds respect
with employees via open CEO letters and dialogue sessions.”
Best for Diversity
The workplaces we identified as the most diverse and inclusive come from a
population of several hundred U.S. organizations that are Great Place to WorkCertified. Roughly 450,000 employee responses to our Trust Index survey were
considered in the course of the ranking.
This year’s winners include companies such as Texas Health Resources, No. 1 on
the list for Best Workplaces for Diversity and No. 2 for Best Workplaces for AfricanAmericans. The Arlington, Texas, hospital system has a workforce that’s 77%
women and 41% minorities, offers ESL classes, provides benefits to same-sex
partners, and hosts 32 events a year to connect employees with peers from different
Standouts also include Marriott International, No. 6 for Best Workplaces for
Diversity and No. 7 for both Best Workplaces for AfricanAmericans and Best
Workplaces for Latinos. African American, Latino and other ethnic minorities make
up 64% of Marriott’s 100,525 employees, and 15% of executives. In addition, 2.7%
of the hospitality giant’s workforce identifies as LGBT.
Shortly after the election, Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson, an advocate
for LGBT equality, published an open letter on LinkedIn urging President-elect
Donald Trump to use his position promote inclusiveness, including at work.
“…Everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or identity, gender, race, religion
disability or ethnicity should have an equal opportunity to get a job, start a business
or be served by a business,” Sorenson wrote. “Use your leadership to minimize
divisiveness around these areas by letting people live their lives and by ensuring
that they are treated equally in the public square.”
Marriott is not alone in reaffirming principles of inclusiveness in wake of the
election. Several list winners we contacted said their commitment to workplace
diversity remained unchanged or had deepened. Among them is Ikea. The home
furnishings company told us it was exploring how to partner with other businesses
to build a coalition against hate and exclusionary practices both inside and outside
of the workplace.
In addition, Nabeela Ixtabalan, U.S. Human Resources Manager, sent a message to
employees just prior to the election. It noted there may be “an elevated level of
anxiety, stress and emotion associated with the election and the outcome,”
reminded employees of resources for discussing feelings, and concluded: “Let’s
focus on leading by example. Together, let us demonstrate how tolerance, care and
respect for others and their opinions makes us stronger.”
As such messages indicate, some corporate leaders and diversity professionals are
concerned that policies backed by Donald Trump, including campaign pledges to
build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and create a registry for immigrants from
Muslim countries are creating an atmosphere of distrust that could damage decades
of corporate diversity efforts.
Charlie Garcia, chief executive of the Association of Latino Professionals for
America (ALPFA), sees Trump’s victory primarily as a protest against business as
usual in Washington and political correctness cutting off vibrant debate. But he
worries that companies without a deep appreciation of the value of inclusion will
retreat in this area.
As it is, diversity often is treated as a necessary evil by companies, says Raymond
Arroyo, president of ALPFA’s talent and leadership development programs.
Diversity and Inclusion offices may be a way to avoid criticism or improve the
organization’s reputation, he says. “Most companies invest in diversity not because
they think it’s good for business,” he says.
But as Arroyo notes, study after study has concluded that diverse workforces and
teams boost business results. For example, ethnically diverse companies are 35%
more likely to outperform the national industry median, according to a 2015
McKinsey report. The same report found that gender-diverse companies are 15%
more likely to have better financial returns. Our research into the 2016 Best
Workplaces for Diversity is the latest in this vein. We found that the 50 companies
on the 2016 Best Workplaces for Diversity list average 24% higher year-over-year
revenue growth than non-list winners.
Practices employers put into place to encourage inclusiveness aren’t magic. Among
other things they:
• Create employer resource groups for different communities that hold regular
events and advocate for diversity awareness
• Provide training on cultural sensitivity and recognizing unconscious bias
• Use suppliers that also are committed to diversity and inclusion
• Seek to improve diversity in recruiting and their talent pipeline through
partnerships and scholarships
By bringing together people with different backgrounds and points of view,
organizations create a culture that breeds new ways of thinking about products and
services, which can help them outpace competitors, says Julian Lute, a Great Place
to Work organizational culture consultant. “It also insures that companies are more
representative of their customer base,” he said.
Great places to work for all employees also can have an impact beyond the
boundaries of business.
On election night, President-elect Trump said that “now it is time for America to
bind the wounds of division,” that “every single American will have the opportunity
to realize his or her fullest potential,” and that “the forgotten men and women of
our country will be forgotten no longer.”
In politics, people use the same words and mean very different things. In business
and non-profit organizations, if leadership uses those same tactics, trust is eroded.
Work is a space where trust—among people of different political persuasions, of
different education levels, races, sexes, ages and sexual orientations—can be
rebuilt. Where bonds of friendship can grow. Great workplaces for all can help our
divided society come together, stronger, greater than ever.
Michael C. Bush and Kim Peters are CEO and Executive Vice President, respectively,
at Great Place to Work, the longtime research partner for Fortune’s annual list of
the 100 Best Companies to Work For and other best workplaces lists, including the
Best Workplaces for Diversity.
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