Diversity Training in the Workplace

Topics: Discrimination, Religion, Employment Pages: 21 (6942 words) Published: August 2, 2010
Table of Contents

Gender Diversity7
Diversity in Sexuality8
Racial Diversity10
Diversity in Age11
Cultural Diversity12
Religious Diversity 13
Importance of Diversity Training18
Recommendations for Managers22
References 28

This research paper addresses the importance of diversity training in the workplace. Having realized how pertinent workplace discrimination is globally, this paper will give a broad look into the various ways that diversity is displayed in the workplace. The diversity issues involving gender, sexuality, race, age, culture and religion will be explored, and the benefits that diversity training brings in each area will be outlined. Examples of the approaches that many Fortune 500 companies are taking will be touched on throughout the paper, as well as, the strategies behind corporate inclusion. Finally, manager’s recommendations will be given on ways to incorporate diversity training into an organization, and the potential outcomes that it brings to an organization. Introduction

People differ in many aspects of their lives. We differ in race, color, sex, religious beliefs and origin to name a few. These diverse characteristics are what make us so unique from one another. Some people see diversity as an opportunity to learn and grow from other people, but others see it as a hindrance, which should be eliminated.

Discrimination is defined as treatment or consideration, or making a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing, based on class or category rather than individual merit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrimination). In most cases discrimination is negative behavior displayed to somebody because of their differences. It has been around for many years and occurs in all areas of life, including the workplace.

As the working environment is becoming more diverse, you have people that are in objection to such inclusion, and therefore make it difficult for people of color, race, gender, religious affiliation and origin to fit in comfortably. In fact, laws had to be passed specifically for the workplace in order for people to be treated fairly. There is the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which is an extension of the 1964 Act that protects individuals from discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion and national origin with respect to hiring as well as compensation and working conditions (Noe, Hollenback, Gerhart & Wright, 2008). The passing of this act was a step in the right direction to eliminating workplace discrimination, but we all know that it takes more than words being inserted in the constitution to change the mindset of people. This brings us to where we are at now in the twenty-first century, trying to find other ways to eliminate workplace discrimination and encourage workforce diversity.

According to The Indianapolis Business Journal, “As companies compete for talent and customers, they realize that hiring women and minorities is more of a strategy than a matter of fairness, said Jesse Moore, Purdue University’s manager of supplier diversity development. The best way to hold onto our market share, or position ourselves to gain market share, is to make our staff look like our customers. More and more companies have come to realize that diversity is more than just a social program”. (Olson 2008). Diversity training is the approach that many organizations are taking to address such issues. The basis behind diversity training is to change the way that people view and interact with each other’s differences. Organizations manage diversity through diversity training programs such as, Attitude Awareness and Change programs as well as through Behavior Based programs (Noe, Hollenback, Gerhart & Wright, 2008). The basis of these programs are to increase the employee awareness of stereotypes and beliefs, and...
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