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Why Diversity Effectiveness is More Important Than Diversity Training

Why Diversity Effectiveness is More Important Than Diversity Training

PR Newswire

April 06, 2010

Businesses and organizations need to move beyond awareness of diversity toward empowering employees to become highly effective in diverse work environments.

Global realities create highly diverse work environments which require new skills to deal with “deep diversity.” Dr. Brent MacNab of the University of Sydney explains, “Diversity training used to focus mainly on issues like gender and ethnicity. These aspects of corporate training remain relevant but issues of ‘deeper diversity,’ related to the culture and values people operate with, are becoming more central. Employees face customer and workplace environments where diversity of values and cultures are increasing. Often employees are left without the skills to effectively navigate these situations. With immigration and other realities, one does not need to travel internationally to significantly encounter cultural diversity. Without proper training, this can leave employees feeling overwhelmed and stressed.”

Traditional diversity training mainly focuses on building awareness of, tolerance for and value of diversity. While this is critical, it often falls short of building the necessary skills which allow people to benefit from diverse work environments. Cultural intelligence training is one way to advance above basic diversity training.

“Cultural intelligence generally refers to an individual’s ability to effectively engage in multi-cultural settings and operate well with a range of cultural groups and people,” explains Dr. MacNab, who has pioneered an effective, experiential approach to training people in cultural intelligence.

The training is a multi-week process including introduction to key concepts of cultural intelligence and a structured contact experience with a culture group that is new to trainees. The training approach is effective in developing awareness and tolerance for diversity and also in building specific skills empowering people to be more effective in diverse work settings.

Dr. MacNab explains one important discovery is that, “the training helps people to effectively shift stereotypes while increasing important diversity management skills like working effectively with other cultures.”

“Organizations seeking to develop managers and employees capable of realizing the benefits of diversity should seriously consider conducting cultural intelligence training as an additional component to diversity training,” concludes Dr. MacNab who is available for consultation in this area.

© 2010 PRNewswire. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

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