DiverseTeamFacingBoard

Diversity training does not work. So what does?

For good reasons, there is lots of attention going to efforts to make our organizations more diverse, more equitable, and more inclusive. Diversity and unconscious bias related discussion and training abound in our international social sector. Clearly, NGOs are following the lead of many corporations and government entities that have installed such training and awareness-raising initiatives. 

There’s only one problem

There is one problem with this. What’s the evidence that these initiatives actually are helpful? Not much, when you look at it closely. The research is clear and consistent: diversity training does not work, and cognitive awareness-raising has limited utility (see here for just one example of a sum-up of the research). 

So what does work?

So what does work? A focus on creating and encouraging practical, widely shared organizational habits and behaviors, such as on recruitment, induction, mentoring, task allocation, talent management, and performance management,  backed up by organizational systems. And backed up by publically transparent metrics and benchmarking. During a recent presentation to the Global Perspectives gathering of the International Civil Society Center, I offered some practical handles. Please see my presentation here.

Instead of talking, let’s focus on our organizational habits and behaviors

I know we love to discuss our values and principles, including when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. But let’s instead focus on some specific organizational habits and behaviors. Talk to me if this makes you curious, or you want more help!