Industry Overview: Is Your Company in need of a Diversity Overhaul?
Does your company suffer from a lack of diversity - or from a lack of diversity awareness? If you're unsure, look for the signs. There are the no-brainer indications: racial slurs in the office, overt or covert sexual advances, an executive boardroom without a single female or minority face. But there are other, more subtle hints too. Chronic complaints among employees and managerial homogeneity can signal diversity-related turmoil. Contrary to the myth of powersuits and hardball, the office is actually a very delicate ecosystem. A single infraction - diversity-related or otherwise - can lower the morale of an entire company. One poor decision or inappropriate comment can create resentment among employees and contribute to turnover, poor productivity, and a generally hostile working environment.
If you are unsure about whether your company is "diverse enough," ask yourself a few simple questions:
What percentage of women at your company rank on the managerial level or higher?
Although trainers differ, the substance of diversity trainings is the same across the board. In general, there are three basic types:
* Awareness-Based Diversity Training, which aims at increasing knowledge of diversity issues and revealing workers' unexamined assumptions and tendencies to stereotype;
* Skill-Based Diversity Training, which attempts to empower workers with diversity-related tactics and tools; and
* Integrated-Based Diversity Training, which combines both Awareness- and Skill-based methods and objectives.
Regardless of the type, most trainings address the same issues: race, gender, stereotypes, business objectives, work-family issues, age, sexual harassment, national demographics, disabilities, and sexual orientation. The University of Berkeley has compiled an excellent explanatory site on what a diversity training is and what it has the potential to do. The site also explores diversity-related challenges and concerns, as well as the most effective training programs.
Parts of this article are derived from "How Diverse is That Employer," a feature of Vault.com's Diversity Career Guide for MBAs. For a free copy of this magazine, send an email with your name and complete address to email@example.com.