Diversity Training & Consultation Portfolio
1. The Approach
The Diversity Portfolio offers a wide variety of consultation and training service to our clients. Our consultation services range from assisting companies to align themselves with current legislation and policies to services aimed at turning diversity into a competitive advantage. We also offer a broad spectrum of training programmes ranging from standard awareness and the management of diversity programmes, to specifically designed interventions aimed at individual (head, hand & heart), group and organisational change.
Our powerful and innovative approach to diversity has made us an international leader in the field of diversity consultation and training. We integrate the following approaches in dealing with diversity:
The legislature / policy approach primarily focuses on guidelines and remedial actions that companies have to follow in dealing with diversity related issues such as Employment Equity, Equal Opportunities & Affirmative Action. This approach is strategic in nature and aims to rectify inequities and inhibit further discrimination. It creates the basic conditions from which diversity in the workplace could be managed.
The socio-cognitive approach focuses on creating cultural awareness and on dealing with perceptions, stereotypes, prejudices, discrimination and the different –isms that exist within an organisation. Most diversity awareness workshops, stereotype reduction sessions and other diversity related training are presented from this framework. The facilitators rely on systemic theoretical understanding and group therapeutic principles when facilitating the process. The essence of the Diversity Training Programme sets out to “undermine the process of social categorization by employing well-researched social psychological principles, i.e. the cognitive process of particularisation; personalising and individuating group members; blurring category boundaries; and heightening the awareness of multi group and super-ordinate group membership”.
The psychodynamic approach offers a third plausible approach to understanding and dealing with diversity. This approach does not take a simplistic view to human behaviour, nor does it assume that people are rational or logical beings. Rather this approach focuses on the deep-seated underlying processes and dynamics that drive diversity in the workplace. We currently apply this approach in the Robben Island Diversity Experience that usually takes place in September and November. Core diversity concepts being studied within this approach are Identity, Relatedness, Reference Systems and Power. Other relevant concepts in this approach are similarities and differences (such as race, gender, sexual preference, age, HIV/AIDS, religion, culture and disability), anxiety, dependency, boundaries, splits and pairings, projection, prejudice and discrimination. It deals with diversity dynamics in relation to the past, present and future.
Appreciative Inquiry offers an alternative approach that finds and amplifies the strengths and successes of the organization and its people. Traditional approaches to diversity change and transformation interventions generally function from a deficit-based perspective – on ‘what needs to be fixed’. Appreciative Inquiry finds and amplifies the strengths and successes of the organization and its people. The focus is to identify the positive core of the organization. Building on what already works well, using the energy, inspiration and commitment of a united workforce to create long-term performance improvements. This positive energy produces sustainable, positive change.
Our philosophy is very much an outcome-based one where the clients needs matter most. In developing a diversity-training programme we firstly define the client’s outcomes as clear as possible and then choose an integration of the above approaches to suit the specific intervention.
2. Diversity Consultation Services
In consulting to organisation we believe that all organisations are on their own unique journey in dealing with diversity. We offer organisations different consultancy services depending on (1) the specific developmental phase in which they find themselves, and (2) their desired state (the phase that they would like to move towards).
This section provides an overview of the following consultation services that we offer our clients:
2.1 Strategic Development
DCT can assist our clients in developing a strategic framework through which diversity is incorporated into the corporate and business strategies. The following aspects can be dealt with
2.2 Diversity Audits
We have a highly competent team of research specialists that assist organisations in conducting diversity audits. The aim of a diversity audit is to produce a scientifically researched report to management’s questions regarding human diversity in the organisation. It provides information regarding various diversity related themes within the organisation. An example could be where management needs an accurate account of (1) representation, (2) the ‘diversity mind-set’, (3) the organisational culture, and (4) specific diversity related themes and issues within the organization.
The audits are based on qualitative as well as quantitative research techniques and analysis. The information is gathered through a variety of sources using appropriate methodologies relevant to organisational structure, mindset and culture. Techniques such as desktop research, questionnaires, interviews and focus groups are used to attain information. After collecting the data the information is integrated and analyzed (quantitatively as well as qualitatively). The results are incorporated into a Diversity Audit Report and presented to the client. The Diversity Audit Report contains recommendations with a short, medium & long term implementation plan. The findings can be used as basis for strategic diversity related decisions and also to customize future training and consultancy interventions.
Components of a Diversity Audit:
2.3 Transformation Related Services (BEE, AA, EE, EO Initiatives)
We can assist companies with diversity related transformations. This could entail incorporating diversity on different levels in the organisation through strategically and operationally implementing employment equity, equal opportunities and affirmative action. We assist companies involved in BEE Mergers with the transformation process. Companies often inhibit the success of the above mentioned interventions by only focussing on the mechanistic and structural changes that accompany the interventions. Little is done to assist the company with the accompanying changes in strategy, mindset and culture necessary to ensure a successful transformation process.
Our success in dealing with these interventions is linked to our holistic approach – taking all the different aspects of organisational change and transformation into consideration. We thus assist companies in successfully transforming by integrating the structural and strategic changes with the necessary mindset changes and cultural evolution of the company. Transformation related interventions often fail in the long term because the focus is mainly on the harder issues. To ensure successful interventions organisations take ‘softer’ issues (fear of the unknown, resistance to change, etc.) into account, and embark on a process of cultural evolution.
We offer the following transformation related services:
Employment Equity Compliance:
Implementing Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunities and prohibiting unfair discrimination:
2.4 Specific Diversity Related Interventions
Objectives of such programmes:
Creation of a non-racial, non-sexist / conducive environment:
2.5 Cultural Evolution
A necessary step in ensuring that ‘diversity’ becomes a way of being and is used as a competitive advantage would be to entrench it within the company culture. For this purpose companies have to embark on a process of cultural evolution. The aim of the cultural evolution process is to adapt to the company’s changing circumstances – It takes the current way of thinking, behaving and feeling (values) as basis and builds on that to create greater synergy within the organization.
2.5.1 Traditional approaches versus a process of cultural evolution
Traditional approaches to diversity change and transformation interventions generally function from a "deficit-based" perspective. That is, it views diversity as a problem and "something to be fixed". Strategies and techniques often focus exclusively on "what's not working". The problem-solving paradigm usually implies several steps, including identifying the problem, looking for causes, applying potential solutions, and assessing results. For example, consultants attempt to identify the "root causes" of cliques, diversity related conflict, mistrust, or workplace harassment, and then implement changes to "fix" the problem areas.
This "problem-solving mentality" has dominated business for years and has met with some success. However, we are beginning to understand the limitations of this approach. A continued focus on problems in an organization often creates unintended consequences, including:
We propose that companies move toward an alternative approach that identifies and amplifies the strengths and successes of the company and its people. The focus is to identify the positive core of the organization. Building on what already works well, using the energy, inspiration and commitment of a united workforce to create long-term performance improvements. This positive energy produces sustainable, positive change.
In proposing a process of cultural evolution we do not advocate ignoring problems. Rather, we suggest an approach that focuses on positive solutions. The focus is on identifying the "root causes of success" rather than the causes of failure.
We believe that the initial questions asked during an attempt at diversity related change significantly impact the direction and results of that effort. Questions that focus on problems and deficiencies tend to generate resistance, blame, pessimism, and doubt. Alternatively, questions that emphasize strength and success yield enthusiasm, inspiration, hope, commitment, and motivation. In turn, these result in possibilities, options, and opportunities that produce action.
For example, rather than searching for the causes of turnover by asking why ‘diverse’ employees leave, ask why ‘diverse’ employees would want to be hired or continue to work. Instead of sexual harassment training full of "do's and don'ts", explore when and why men and women work successfully together.
The approach to cultural evolution is based on a proven methodology, well grounded in theory, research and practical application, called Appreciative Inquiry (AI). With AI, we learn by examining the very best of what an organization has been and continue to be, and what it can be in the future.
2.5.2 Cultural evolution through AI
Workplace diversity has so much strength and creative energy to offer organizations. Unfortunately, most traditional approaches to managing workplace diversity through "diversity training" or diversity workshops attempt to "overcome" differences while instructing people to respect and trust others. This is rarely as effective for the individuals involved or the organization as a whole.
Workplace diversity is about bringing out the best in all people, engaging their minds as well as their hearts, and directing their combined efforts toward common goals. Successfully managing workplace diversity is not a simple instructional or educational process. Workplace diversity management aligns the individual goals of employees with critical business objectives, while creating the motivation and commitment to reach a shared vision.
While the details may change with each situation, a cultural evolution process to diversity management would follow these general steps:
Step 1: Using carefully worded "positive interview questions", stakeholders in the organization (including employees and managers at all levels, as well as important clients, vendors, partners, etc.) would share stories of personal experiences that reflect the benefits of diversity. The questions may ask about successful working relationships with others who are "different", or about positive experiences in diverse teams. From the shared experiences participants develop the core attributes necessary for positive diversity.
Step 2: Using the data generated in Step 1, participants co-create a shared vision of the future - what would their organization look like if the core attributes of positive diversity were the norm? A "preferred future" for the organization is created (in terms of the issue of diversity), not based on some idealized wish-list, but from the actual positive experiences of organizational stakeholders.
Step 3: The shared vision of the future, created in Step 2, is grounded in current reality by answering this question: what would need to change in our organization to sustain the shared vision we have created? Participants identify how specific elements of the organization (such as work processes, job descriptions, incentives and recognition, policies and procedures, mindset, attitude and values) would change in order to support the vision of positive diversity.
Step 4: Long and short-term goals are prioritized and participants self-organize around actions or projects designed to make the changes identified in Step 3. An infrastructure is created to ensure on-going support for all projects.
3. Diversity Training Programs:
We offer a comprehensive list of Diversity Training programmes designed to address specific needs and outcomes. Although these are standardised, we customise all our in-house training programmes to suit the specific needs of our client.
We present the following diversity related training programmes:
We use a multi-method approach to training. Although the Diversity Training Programme can be described as a ‘soft skill’ or a sensitivity training programme because of its emphasis on self-awareness, the self-awareness is done through a systemic process and group interaction. It is therefore more accurate to consider it under the broader umbrella of systemic programmes.
Although facilitators employ group therapeutic techniques, the degree to which the process is allowed to evolve is limited. The term ‘experiential learning’ is usually preferred to describe what happens in the group. The facilitators use therapeutic skills during the Diversity Training Programme to monitor the influence of mood on stereotype reduction. Within the experiential group, insight is gained into various intra-psychic and interpersonal issues. The notion of “walking a mile in the others’ moccasins” applies. Participants learn from narratives never told and are able to place themselves in the others’ context to gain insight into the issues of diversity.
The training method also involves information-oriented training through the cognitive acquisition of lecture information, videotapes, slides, transparencies and reading material. Training methodology describes the latter as a multi-media approach.
consultants / facilitators
3.1 Diversity Awareness Programme:
The one-day Diversity Awareness workshop is designed to assist individual participants in understanding the basic concepts and processes related to diversity. The workshops are experiential in nature and use interactive mediums to maximise interest and group participation. The one day workshop is designed in such a way that it allows delegates to become aware of and explore specific diversity related themes in secure and fun-filled environments. Although the awareness workshop explores the primary diversity themes, it does not deal with these themes on a deeper emotional level. Participants however get the opportunity to work with the stumbling blocks and resources in creating an organisational culture that embraces diversity.
3.2 Mindset, attitudes and value related programmes:
These programmes are aimed at dealing with diversity on a deeper level. They do not only explore diversity at a head and hand level, but also focus on a heart (values & beliefs) level. Interpersonal effectiveness is the focal point of these programmes and developing a diversity mindset is the desired outcome. The mindset and values programmes deal with core diversity related themes such as exploring diversity and its importance, identity, similarities & differences, culture, stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, and best diversity practices. Although we have a standard mindset and values program, we customise all our in-house training programmes to suit the specific diversity related needs and outcomes of our clients.
It is important to note that these programmes move beyond merely creating understanding of the primary concepts of diversity, they deal with individual and organisation mindsets and values on a more personal and emotive level. These programmes are effective in assisting with personal as well as organisational change and transformation.
3.3 The ‘Power of Difference’ Programme:
The Power of Difference® workshop is a well-researched programme that aims to assist people to function effectively in a diverse working environment. It is a combination of diversity awareness and group/team dynamics. For this purpose the Power of Difference® workshop is primarily aimed at functional teams. It incorporates various activities and themes included in the mindset and values programmes, and explore how these themes present itself in the team. The programme sets out to undermine the process of social categorization by employing well-researched social psychological principles, i.e. the cognitive process of particularisation; personalising and individuating group members; blurring category boundaries; and heightening the awareness of multi group and super-ordinate group membership.
3.4 Diversity Management Programme:
This program consists of a three-day workshop. Managers explore themes related to diversity and interpersonal effectiveness, practical management of diversity issues, implementation of affirmative action policy, managing equity as well as the legal aspects of managing difference in South African context. The programme consists of the following three modules.
Module 1: Orientation to diversity in the workplace
Module 2: The legal aspects governing South African diversity
Module 3: Practical diversity management
3.5 Diversity Train the Trainers Programme:
The Diversity Train the Trainer Programme provides a complete solution in selecting, equipping and empowering trainers/human resource practitioners to facilitate diversity related interventions within their respective organizations. On completion of this programme the trainees will have the necessary knowledge, skills and attitude to present various diversity related interventions.
The complete programme consists of the following five phases:
1: Selection of Diversity Trainers
2: Diversity Train the Trainers Programme
In total the above mentioned train the trainer workshops thus runs over a period of 10-days. Due to the intensity of the session, the workshops are normally scheduled in such a way that there are gaps between the different workshops. This offers the trainers the opportunity to reflect on and integrate their learning. The trainers will also have to do theoretical and practical work/assignments between the sessions. This ‘homework’ will be aimed at (1) integrating and applying the knowledge and skills gained during the previous workshop and (2) preparing for the next workshop.
3: Mentorship Programme
4: Licensing Agreement
3.6 Advanced Facilitation Skills for Diversity Trainers
The programme is designed for people who have already undergone training in the field of diversity training or people who practice in the field of diversity training, but still has a need to sharpen their skills as Facilitators in the field of Diversity. Participants will not deal with any diversity related theory, but focus on the containment and processing of a diversity training session. It is thus a pre-requisite that attendees has completed a Diversity Train the Trainers Programme or has sufficient prior experience in the field of diversity training. During the programme attendees will facilitate various practical sessions and receive feedback from the programme facilitator as well as from the other attendees.
The participant should achieve the workshop outcome by being able to: