Why Diversity Training Fails

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Nestle Purina CSR team building event shows staff creating 3D hands for disabled kids in need.

Year after year, American companies spend in excess of $160 million on diversity training programs and policies. Many tout their commitment to diversity in their mission statements and recruitment copy. While so much time and energy is devoted to diversity, research shows diversity training does not bring the desired results. In fact, companies showed no impact on the organization after diversity training. A recent Harvard Business Review article, titled Two Types of Diversity Training that Really Work, shows companies how to save time and money and get meaningful results.

What Diversity Training Gets Wrong

Many organizations turn to diversity training to:

  1. Prevent the risk of lawsuits.
  2. Attempt to create an inclusive environment in which each employee is valued and respected, bias is reduced, and diversity is increased and promoted within the organization’s staff and management.

Traditional diversity training tends to walk a thin line, however. Efforts to draw attention to bias can backfire by promoting prejudice instead of extinguishing it. Some training exercises may solidify attitudes of bias and prejudice instead of opening minds and changing attitudes. The study examined 31 years of diversity training within many different industries, none of which had experienced positive impact after the program. So, if this means diversity training is a waste of money and isn’t accomplishing the intended goal, why should your company or any other firm continue to pour more money into it? Let’s consider a different approach.

How Venture Up Gets Diversity Training Right

The traditional one-size-fits-all diversity programs have failed. It’s time to rethink diversity training and find a better way to promote team building with the strength of diversity. This is where Venture Up comes in; a creative firm focused on building employee relationships in conjunction with human resources staff. Established in 1983, Venture Up uses gamification in its training to keep pace with the ever-evolving tech-savvy workplace.  Given that millennials will soon comprise 75 percent of the workforce, getting on board with gamification is a wise idea for anyone in professional development.

Before the fun begins, Venture Up puts on the table the obvious, which isn’t so obvious with today’s tech firms. A successful diversity training program obviously begins with a diverse team, unlike in Silicon Valley where white males rule.

Diversity training and team building

Leonardo da Vinci’s bridge is game for this team of execs during a Venture Up diversity training program.

Venture Up emphasizes the need for the team, as a group, to devote time to each team member. Jayne Palmer, a Venture Up program manager in Minneapolis, says attention to personal details are important if diversity training is to be effective. “Each member of the group must be willing to recognize any biases that they or their team may have in order to effect positive change,” she says.

When creating a team for an international meeting or a training program, the individuals should not be pigeonholed into demographic groups. Numerous factors must be considered, depending on the project, talent required, and so on. Managers and team members alike must convey how they value the team. “If teams are committed to accept diverse views and cooperate with each other, everyone is best able to maximize their performance,” Palmer says.

Venture Up utilizes an integrative approach to address cognitive, emotional and physical awareness and perception. Facilitators are trained to motivate individuals by getting them to recognize what Venture Up calls the “Power Potential,” to tap into their inner drive and creative resources to effect positive change. Learn more about how Venture Up can help companies just like yours reinvigorate diversity training, and leave tired and ineffective methods to the past.