Executives Who View Diversity Training as Positive Are More Successful

Managers and executives who find value in diversity training are more committed to their organizations and satisfied with their careers than those who perceive training to be ineffective, suggest researchers from Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute in Management and Technology.

Margaret Yap, the institute’s director and an associate professor in the Ted Rogers School of Management, is lead author of the study, which looked at executives’ perceptions of diversity training, their level of commitment to their companies and satisfaction with their careers. According to Yap, diversity training helps executives and managers become more culturally attuned when working with employees from different ethnic backgrounds.

The researchers analyzed survey data collected between 2006 and 2007 from more than 11,000 managers, professionals and executives across Canada. The survey asked participants about their work experiences and outcomes as well as their organization’s diversity practices.

Managers, professionals and executives who perceived diversity training in their organizations to be beneficial reported career satisfaction and organizational commitment scores 7 to 14 percent higher than those working in organizations where diversity training is nonexistent or ineffective.

“For companies to get the most ‘bang for their buck’ in offering diversity training, it’s important that employees understand that the training is intended to help facilitate and enhance collaborative behaviors among today’s diverse workforce,” said Yap. “These collaborative behaviors will improve an organization’s abilities to solve problems and increase productivity, innovation, creativity and morale.”

Yap cautioned, however, that diversity training must be offered in conjunction with other inclusive talent management practices such as recruitment, rewards, development and advancement processes. “If not, it’s like trying to simultaneously go in two different directions. Incongruent policies create confusion in the workplace,” she said.

The research paper, “The Relationship Between Diversity Training, Organizational Commitment and Career Satisfaction,” was published in the sixth issue of the 2010 Journal of European Industrial Training.

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