Posted by: lwagner10 | March 4, 2011

Value of GLBT Diversity Training and Affinity Groups

One of the psychologists at the National Diversity Equity Workshop (see my last blog) indicated that diversity training and affinity groups were ineffective in achieving equality based on measurable changes in promotion demographics.  The topic of the effectiveness of diversity training has been covered in a prior blog and LinkedIn Group discussions.  Since I am offering diversity training, this has caused me to think again about whether I can really add value.  I have really seen the role of diversity training as starting place.  It is about identifying real or potential issues in the workplace. Diversity training really is the start of a process, shining the first light on issues which may be occurring.  Diversity training is rarely about driving specific actions toward achieving diversity recognition and ultimately equality in the workplace.  I think it is asking too much to expect measurable results from a first step. If entities doing diversity training believe that it will cure problems, they have seriously exceeded the expectations for such training. They should really expect that people are alerted to issues which need to be addressed. 

Affinity groups are also particularly important for a couple of reasons.  Other minority groups have well define demographics.  The lack of demographics drives a lack of urgency in corporate management.  Management is typical data driven and loathe to react to isolated instances.  Affinity groups bring a forum for bring the isolated instances to light and connecting them into a case for action.  A second reason is that the GLBT community lacks legal workplace protections in much of the country.  Without legal protections, discrimination can remain hidden, a burden on efficiency and morale.

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