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
  • The socio-cognitive approach
  • The systems-psychodynamic approach, and
  • Appreciative Inquiry

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:

  • Strategic development
  • Diversity audits
  • Transformation related services
  • Specific diversity related interventions
  • Cultural evolution

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

  • Assessing diversity within the context of company
  • Assessing the costs and benefits of managing / not managing diversity
  • Developing a diversity strategy /policy
  • Aligning the diversity strategy with corporate and business strategy
  • Drafting a strategic development plan to attain diversity related goals

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:

  • Needs/problem assessment & contracting
  • Desk top research
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Integration of data and draft report
  • Validation of information
  • Final audit report including recommendations and implementation plan
  • Present feedback to management and members
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:


  • Determine level of compliance to BEE act and the DTI codes
  • Develop a Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) strategy
  • Obtain stakeholder buy-in
  • Design holistic BBBEE implementation plan
  • Assess cultural fit of the organisations involved (audit)
  • Acknowledge and incorporate ‘softer’ issues in the strategic process
  • Assist with the change and transformation process
  • Address company mindset and facilitate cultural evolution

Employment Equity Compliance:

  • Develop employment equity policy.
  • Obtain stakeholder buy-in.
  • Prepare a plan for the Department of Labour.
  • Design and implement consultative framework.
  • Undertake audits and employee profile.
  • Training diversity forums on EE compliance requirements.
  • Facilitating participation of the workforce as consultative partners.

Implementing Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunities and prohibiting unfair discrimination:

  • Educating various business units on best practices around:
    • Recruitment (criteria on advertising, who to hire)
    • Selection (selection / interviewing principles)
    • Skills development (aligning with the NQF)
    • Succession planning (the concept of)
  • Assist with the development of AA & EO strategy and policies
  • Present workshops regarding AA, EO & unfair discrimination.
  • Assist with the implementation & monitoring of the implementation

2.4 Specific Diversity Related Interventions

Problem based interventions:
Problem specific programmes are designed to address specific diversity issues that an organisation might be struggling with or that are impeding their performance. These programmes are based on the client’s needs and focus on problems/issues within the workplace. Highly skilled diversity facilitators assist groups in reaching constructive and productive outcomes.

Objectives of such programmes:

  • To deal with a specific diversity problem or training need as specified by the client.
  • To enable groups who are stuck in a potentially destructive group process to work through difficult interpersonal processes.
  • To assist groups to reach insight into the various intra- and interpersonal processes.
  • To reach a cohesive group identity within the workplace despite individual difference.
  • To align the diversity training with organizational strategy.

Creation of a non-racial, non-sexist / conducive environment:

  • Legislative framework analysis – interpreting, summarizing and presenting stakeholders.
  • Awareness creation around rights and responsibilities.
  • Creating consultative partners (forums) between management and employees.
  • Facilitating and participating in conflict prevention/management mechanisms.
  • Dispute resolution mechanisms where racial and gender discrimination is alleged.
  • Best practices / current information, new concepts, and ways to deal with diversity.
  • Process design – policy implementation on best governance practices.
  • Design attitude-change programs.

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:

  • A search for specific solutions to specific problems, reducing creativity and innovation
  • A culture of defensiveness and finger-pointing; someone must be blamed for the problem
  • Low morale; work becomes one problem to be solved after another
  • Those who are "solving" the problems tend to be one or more levels away from the problem itself and from those who will have to implement the solution
  • Resistance to change; minimal commitment to "solutions" that are forced
  • An emphasis on yesterday's failures; no new positive images or visions of the future are created

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:

  • Awareness programmes
  • Mindset & Values based programmes
  • The Power of Difference programme
  • Management of Diversity
  • Diversity Train the Trainer
  • Advanced facilitation skills
  • Specific diversity programmes (e.g. Women in management, HIV/AIDS)

Training methodology
Diversity training is concerned with educative processes that are designed to promote ‘inter-cultural learning’, that is, the acquisition of cognitive, affective and behavioural competencies associated with effective interaction across different groups. The scope of diversity extends beyond culture and includes aspects such as nationality, age, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, disability and physical appearance. When working with diversity at its deepest level the core focus will be on the concepts of Power, Identity, Relatedness and Reference Systems.

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.

The consultants / facilitators
Diversity workshops are experiential in nature and the consultants fulfil the role of facilitators rather than trainers. The sensitive nature of these workshops requires expert facilitators that can work on a content, process and dynamics level. There will always be a minimum of two facilitators present during the workshop and a minimum group of 12 is required. Our training policy furthermore requires that our diversity facilitators must be diverse in terms of both race and gender when presenting a diversity-training programme. Our facilitators have a sound understanding of human behaviour and are qualified in fields such as psychology, industrial psychology, change & transformation management and BEE services.

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

  • Diversity in South African context
  • Identity, reference systems and relatedness as core concepts
  • Stereotypes, paradigms & perceptions
  • Culture, power, discrimination & the isms of diversity
  • The power of values
  • Individual stumbling blocks & resources

Module 2: The legal aspects governing South African diversity

  • South African Legislation governing and influencing diversity at the workplace
  • Organisational diversity related strategies and policies
  • Implementing Employment Equity
  • Affirmative action, equal opportunities & strategies prohibiting unfair discrimination

Module 3: Practical diversity management

  • Management of difficult diversity issues
  • Intervening effectively in stereotypical actions and attitudes
  • Facilitation of institutional change by creating diversity awareness
  • Creating a culture of inclusion

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:

Phase 1: Selection of Diversity Trainers
The first phase focuses on selecting the appropriate trainers/practitioners who can champion this diversity initiative. Incorrect selections can lead to loss of time and money due to trainers who drop out of the programme, or due to trainers who struggle to be assessed as competent as diversity trainers. The aim is to select a group of members who will be dedicated to implement diversity related interventions within the client organisation and thus become diversity-champions within the organisation.

Phase 2: Diversity Train the Trainers Programme
The aims of the train the trainers programme are to introduce the learners to the field of Diversity and to provide them with the basic knowledge, skills and attitude required for conducting diversity related intervention. The methodology used is unique to the specialised field of diversity training, and participants who have done other train the trainer’s programmes will not be able to be exempted from this part of the programme. The train the trainer programme consist of 4 separate workshops, each with its own process, content and outcomes. The 4 workshops are as follows:

    • Power of Difference (3-day diversity awareness experience)
    • Diversity interventions (3-day workshop on the art & science of diversity related interventions)
    • Skills training (2-day practical skills training workshop)
    • Assessment (2-day practical assessment workshop)

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.

Phase 3: Mentorship Programme
The mentorship programme empowers and prepares trainers to conduct diversity related sessions themselves. Practically it implies that one of our facilitators co-facilitate a three-day programme with two of the client’s facilitators. The role of the our facilitator will not be to conduct the sessions, but rather to provide guidance, feedback and containment. The mentor will assist the client facilitators to (1) prepare for the workshop, (2) deal with and contain their own issues, (3) deal with the role, authority and power dynamics between the co-facilitators, (4) stay task focussed (and what that implies), (5) trust the process, (6) ease into the role of diversity facilitator. The mentor will also give feedback to the client facilitators regarding the session, their strengths and areas of development, and the way the client’s facilitators worked together.

Phase 4: Licensing Agreement
In conducting future diversity related sessions the client has the option to either develop their own programmes and activities, or to undertake a licensing agreement with us for using our training programmes and material. The licensing agreement entails a once off payment that entitles the licensed organisation to make use of our diversity workbooks and facilitators guides. The organisation will be able to reproduce as much of these materials as they want, based on certain conditions. Two important conditions will be that (1) the materials may only be used within the client company by trainers who have undergone the Diversity Train the Trainer Programme, and (2) that the client’s trainers who use the materials must be registered on our database.

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:

  • Contain and process the emotion in a diversity session
  • Contain and process his/her own issues as diversity facilitator
  • Create a ‘diversity mind set’ and facilitate attitude changes
  • Work within the boundaries of task and time as diversity facilitator
  • Manage the communication process in a diversity session
  • Empower the learners to take charge of their own learning in a diversity session






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