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Diversity Training: Is it the Best Solution?

June 30, 2010

Managing and promoting diversity is a challenge in today’s workplace. The problem is that diversity training doesn‘t work. In Employee Diversity Training Doesn‘t Work published by Time Magazine, 3 sociologists from Harvard, UC Berkley and the University of Minnesota found that there had been no change in the amount of minority or female higher ups since diversity training programs were put into place. Psychologists’ explanation is that studies show that training leads to a backlash from employees and making the training mandatory can even lead to biases.

However the same study showed when individuals or committees were responsible for overseeing diversity, there was an increase of 10% in the amount of women and minorities in upper level positions. Mentorship programs also proved to be effective increasing the percentage to 23.5%.

For example,when Jack Welch, General Electric‘s CEO, started a diversity program that included mentorship, employee networks, regular planning forums and recruitment at colleges (where the population was mostly composed of minorities), the amount of female and minorities at GE skyrocketed in five years. Specifically The number jumped to 34% of officers and 40% of executives in 2005 from only 22% of officers and 29% of executives in 2000.

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