My wife works for a global organization which allocates significant resources annually to Diversity Recruiting and Training, but is it adding more value and making improvements in how employees view Diversity?
In addition to their investment in Diversity Programs, they also have well developed Mentoring (Coaching) Program. My wife is in Senior-level Management and participates in the mentoring as well as in the Diversity Programs as both a leader and participant. A few years ago, one of the people she mentored had performance issues. Her Coachee, a young African-American woman, spent more time trying to get ahead than focusing on her development issues and work in general. Continue reading
Many companies spend a lot of money on diversity training for the purpose of increasing participants’ cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills. The intent is that this training will benefit the company by increasing the inclusion of different identity groups, promote better teamwork, and protect against civil rights violations.
Unfortunately for many companies diversity training has been a controversial issue, counterproductive, and creates conflict. Overall its bad for employee engagement.
A way to avoid the failures of diversity training is to focus on individuals through Difference Management.
Difference management is respecting the different needs and motivations of people and relating to them in ways that encourages mutual respect and gratification.
Differences define our uniqueness – regardless of nationality, culture, gender, beliefs, and values. Differences define all of mankind, which enables progress and contribute to the dynamics of the entire world. Companies can benefit from the richness of each individuals differences. The differences are often an obstacle to good working relationships when diversity management is the focus.
Why it matters
If these same differences are not managed skilfully they will lead to conflict, dysfunction and wasted effort.
Managed skilfully these differences can dovetail for the good of the individual, the team and the company. The differences now become complimentary strengths and synergy (2+2=5) becomes a reality. Difference management is a key leadership development skill which has been used by the world’s most successful leaders.
Teams within an organization can operate like different personalities. Each team will have its unique aims, strategies, structure, policies, customs and management style. Diversity training is ignorant to these kinds of differences and doesn’t serve the business well. Teams also need to manage their cross function differences for the good of the different teams and the organization.
Organizations need differences, need debate, need people to challenge, need honesty but organizations do not need conflict. Conflict eats into time, effects employee engagement and employee morale, and profits. It is detrimental to the organizational goals.
The greatest source of inefficiency for most organizations lies in workplace conflict. Would you like to calculate your costs due to workplace conflict? Access the People Problems Calculator