Let’s get real about diversity training

October 31, 2006

Diversity training is a multimillion dollar industry. There is no doubt a place for educating employers and employees about the challenges of our increasingly diverse workplace, and to focus on skills that will help those differences to add value, rather than dissonance. Increasingly, however, the evaluative literature on diversity training is less than encouraging. This article speaks to an important aspect of the area of diversity training: www.dciconsult.com/AAstudy.pdf.

The authors of this study, from Harvard, UC Berkeley and the University of Minnesota attempted to explore the relationship of different kinds of workplace initiatives on actual improvements in workplace representation in the managerial ranks. Looking at diversity councils, designated diversity managers, affirmative action plans, diversity training, mentorship programs and other kinds of initiatives, the authors correlated these initiatives to the numbers of white and black men and women in the management ranks of 700 private sector companies. Their conclusions? The strongest relationship between actual diverse representation and management ranks came from “responsibility structures,” such as affirmative action plans or designated diversity officers. The weakest? Diversity training. In fact, diversity training was sometimes followed by a negative impact on the numbers of women and minorities in management positions. Read the rest of this entry »

Telling who is telling the truth

October 31, 2006

Click on this link to get “Telling Who is Telling theTruth.”Too often, I see workplace investigations that fall short because the investigator has skipped the essential step of assessing credibility. The notion that one must have an admission or a smoking gun to find that an incident, event or situation occurred, or occurred consistently with a particular witness’ version, shortchanges those who have sought our help. An investigation must be willing to examine everything from motive to be truthful or untruthful, the patterns of credibility of various witnesses, and even “soft corroboration” such as contemporaneous complaints to someone outside the workplace. As we work to ascertain truth, we also have to be careful that we don’t subscribe to incorrect notions of what “truth” or “lies” look like. The attached article provides some food for thought and some methodological help for those seeking to improve their “lie detection” when doing investigations.

Seplerblog is now “Investigating Further.”

October 31, 2006

Seplerblog is back with a new host and better content.  Today’s posts will focus on two controversial issues:  credibility assessments in employment investigations and the impact of diversity training on real change in organizations.

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