Myth #5 – ‘One day of diversity training is enough.’

April 19, 2013 | Diversity & Inclusion, Employee Engagement, Organizational Culture

Diversity strategy should never be a one shot deal. Diversity and Inclusion strategy is a process that requires systems wide integration to affect meaningful change. Comprehensive D&I strategy integration can provide strong ROI when training is followed up with support, including internal D&I capacity & skills building, and accountability measures. Expecting a one-day or event two-day D&I retreat to mitigate organizational diversity challenges is akin to drawing a picture of a sweater on construction paper, cutting it out, and expecting it to keep someone warm for the winter.

Designing and implementing an effective D&I strategy is like designing and knitting a sweater by hand, the old-fashioned way. If you wait until the day you need the sweater to start the process, you will be left out in the cold. Bringing together diverse groups of people is inherently challenging (according to research by Harvard Professor, Robert Putnam). If you accept the challenging nature of people systems, you can prepare for the inevitable shifts in the equilibrium of the systems. You only need worry if D&I has been neglected and omitted from the organizational strategy.  A good D&I strategy takes time to design, implement, and take hold. If you want sustainable D&I, analyze interrelated systems, determine D&I goals and measures, and design capacity-building D&I support mechanisms.

Most of the cringe-worthy diversity related headlines and lawsuits that damage organizational reputations are avoidable through high- quality, proactive D&I strategy support.  If you expect your consultant or HR department to design and knit the metaphorical D&I sweater in a few hours, you will be disappointed.  But if you start designing and knitting a perfectly tailored sweater before it gets cold, your employees will have the skills and support they need.  A well implemented diversity strategy can help an organization weather any storm.

Let us know what’s working with your D&I strategy, and what you see lacking. We’d love to hear from you!