Diversity Consulting and Training Results

WHY NOW?

I have been in the emerging and ever evolving diversity consulting and training field for nearly twenty years now. 

I have trained in every state but North Dakota and my life and work have taken me to nearly 75 countries.  I have led workshops for more than a half a million participants and I have worked for hundreds of organizations.  I just got back from training in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 

I have been thinking about writing this article for a long time.  With current events as they are, I felt now was the right time.  Times are challenging and the skeptics and cynics often come out of the woodwork in times like these.  This article is for the diversity skeptics and cynics.

THE FIRST AND ONLY QUESTION

It is a question that is kicked around when folks are trying to criticize our field, our movement, if you will.  One of the first questions I get is – “How are you or how are we going to measure the impact of our new diversity strategy or inclusive workplace strategy and all of the related endeavors?”  My first response is – “Well, how do you measure any of your other strategies, efforts and “pushes?”  What do I get back?  What I hear all too often - “Well, we don’t really measure our other efforts.”

Measure the impact of your diversity efforts the same way you measure anything else.  If you don’t measure anything else ask yourself why now the push for metrics.  Don’t get me wrong – I am for measurement.  I love metrics.  I believe you have to do a pre-diversity push assessment or diagnosis or needs analysis, roll out efforts, execute your strategy and measure again. 

There are many ways to measure – survey, focus group(s), 1:1 interviews, direct observation, hiring, retention, turnover (who is leaving, who is staying), who were they, who are they now and who will they be - our customers/clients, etc.  What I also hear – “We don’t have the time or the resources to do that, just roll something out!”  Ok, really?  Blaming the diversity training and consulting field because a client is just in a hurry does not make sense to me.  I always caution all of our clients – don’t be in a hurry, it sends the wrong message.  “Why are we in a hurry, is there trouble, are we being sued?” 

 

OBSERVABLE, MEASURABLE RESULTS

Now look, I have a bias for action (like anyone in our field) and DTG can launch a whole bevy of efforts.  Let me tell you what our diversity strategy, training and consulting efforts have yielded for our clients:

  • We have identified employees, supervisors, managers and leaders who are a “walking tort” – will create liable and litigious issues and situations in the future.  There are folks who just do not “get it” – do not understand what the Demographic Tsunami is doing to the workplace, the marketplace and society as a whole.  We help our clients identify who needs extra special attention, coaching, development, etc.  Many of our clients know who need help; they just want a third party to confirm their suspicions.  Do you actually know who needs help?  Are you getting employee complaints about the same person(s)?
  • We have identified exclusionary sourcing, screening, hiring and retention practices.  The client might have the right intention but clearly the impact of their actions, procedures, and practices is exclusionary.  Do you know what processes, policies, and procedures need scrutiny and a complete overhaul?  Have you assessed the culture of your organization – is your workplace culture inclusive or exclusive of difference?
  • We have helped some of our clients to understand not only the changing demographics of who they hire but also who their customers are – yesterday, today, and into the future!  Profound demographic shifts are occurring in the workplace and marketplace – the new 2010 Census Data is all our field needs to get another “boost” that the diversity training and consulting field is not going away.  Do you know the demographic trends affecting your marketplace, your client space?
  • We have conducted countless best practice research projects to ensure our clients “don’t reinvent the wheel but put a white wall on the best tire we can find.”  Are you looking at best in sector, best in industry, best in the U.S. diversity best practices?
  • We have assisted our clients in seeing the whole connection between your workplace diversity or inclusive workplace strategy and plan and the image, the brand, the community presence your organization is fostering with all of your community outreach efforts.  Does the “goodwill” of your company help your sourcing, selecting and hiring?  Do you have a community outreach strategy and plan?  Now these are some metrics you need to be watching.  What is your diversity dashboard telling you and your firm?
  • With proactive clients DTG has helped our clients to look ahead and anticipate the changes that are coming that will change the way they staff, promote and conduct their business.  Are you looking ahead or barely responding to each fire, one fire at a time?  Are you being proactive or more reactive?
  • With reactive clients DTG has helped them quickly respond to a “diversity moment of truth” with very timely interventions (investigation or assessment, training, coaching, etc.).  We have even been asked after coaching someone to recommend whether they are kept on or terminated.  Wow, what a responsibility!

 

FINALLY

I will continue to make this point until I am blue/brown in the face (I am Latino).  Organizations continue to hire and promote people into supervisory and management roles with no experience in supervision or management.  Think about it, many people can barely manage people like themselves let alone people that are different, even subtly different.  They might be very bright but the skills I am speaking of – diversity competency skills – need to be identified, measured, inventoried, groomed or developed.  Heck, most organizations are not providing any supervisory or management training at all in these challenging economic times.  No screening for these skills and competencies, no training and sometimes a reluctant manager - it is a set up, an ambush.    

You can’t ignore those candidates for supervision who don’t want to manage – “I am not a people person,” yet take the job because they want or need to make more money.  Now they told you - their organization - that they were not good at managing, they are promoted, they are not trained in their new role, the new manager blows the place apart and then we blame this manager for a set of skills he/she never had?

Diversity work for us at DTG is a “back to basics” – fundamental human resource management.  Don’t make it more complicated than what it is.  If you have diversity issues, address them.  Don’t ignore them.  They will not go away by themselves, trust me.  Diversity issues don’t exist in a vacuum, they often exist in an environment of poor supervision, poor management and... if you don’t act, eventually the fire will engulf leadership as well.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article.  I welcome your feedback.  I love talking to fellow warriors in the trenches of this fight.

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