Ask the White Guy: Is Diversity Training Effective? What Would Make It Effective?

Question:


Do you think diversity training is effective? What would make it effective?

Answer:

Most of the “diversity training” I’ve seen is not very sophisticated. Some companies think “compliance” training is diversity training, but that’s incorrect. In my opinion, to build a good diversity-training program, you have to first have a plan. To have a plan you need goals. And to get goals, you need measurement to tell you where you are. Here is a quick sequence:

1. Benchmarking (find out where your company is)

2. Engagement, broken out by race, gender and age (how the people in your company feel)

3. Understanding goals (approved by the CEO)

4. Diversity plan (to take from where you are and how your people feel to where you want to go)

5. Training (to help accomplish the plan)

DiversityInc has the most sophisticated benchmarking available—we use SAS software to crunch the extensive data we’ve collected (for 13 years) in the DiversityInc Top 50 process. We also use our own engagement survey to gain more perspective on the benchmarking data; if you can benchmark and survey by division, you can get very finite in finding where your opportunities are. In the past year, we’ve helped several companies align their diversity programs with the strategic direction of the company. This has the result of pulling in top management to the cause.

One more thing: Training for top management should be considered carefully. I’ve found that a discussion of legacy is motivating for senior executives. The recent presidential election has brought understanding about the business case for diversity in a way I’ve never seen before. There seems to be far more clarity on how effectively relating to people where they are is absolutely necessary to achieve the results you want. I’ve spoken at several meetings where I’ve seen an immediate change in tempo as a result of linking the reality around demographics and diversity-plan results to their roles as senior executives—and whether or not they’re going to leave their organization better, or worse, prepared to meet the immediate future.

Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.

Latest News

Facebook logo

Facebook Forced To Pay a Record $14-Million Settlement for Discriminating Against US Workers

October continues to be a month Facebook likely wishes it could forget. First came Frances Haugen, the whistleblower who explained in chilling detail how the site and its algorithms are designed to profit off what she called “the spread and amplification of hate, misinformation and political unrest.” Then there was…

AbbVie’s ‘Ability’ Employee Resource Group on How the Company Champions People With Seen and Unseen Disabilities

Originally published at stories.abbvie.com. AbbVie ranked No. 15 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   In the sixth of a seven-part Employee Resource Group (ERG) series, we’re shining the spotlight on Ability at AbbVie. This group focuses on advocacy and inclusion, uniting employees with disabilities,…

United States Capitol Building

More Than 300 Black Congressional Staffers Decry Lack of Diversity on Capitol Hill; Challenge Lawmakers To ‘Do Better’

Regardless of which party is in power at any given time, people of color continue to be woefully underrepresented in not just elected office but also within support roles working for those lawmakers. And now, hundreds of these staffers are speaking out about what they call an “appalling” lack of…