O P T I O N
1. "Diversity Day" Presentation or Keynote Address
-- See Below
2. All-Day "Diversity Seminar" Program -- See
3. "Black History Month" Presentation -- Click
4. Freeman Institute Black
History Collection --
Click Here 5. Critical Incident
Debriefing -- Click
6. Preview Online Diversity Course
Flash Player needed to Preview Online Courses -- Download
The Freeman Institute's™ philosophy in presenting the
subject of diversity is best understood when considering
an onion with its many layers. Each layer presents
another opportunity to discuss the best ways to work
together with greater harmony, understanding and mutual
There are a myriad of layers when addressing human interaction.
Here are just some of the layers we address:
Sometimes I feel discriminated against,
but it does not
make me angry.
It merely astonishes me.
How can anyone deny themselves
It's beyond me.
- Zora Neale Hurston
CLICK TO REVIEW ONLINE COURSE
there are many more layers in some organizations, like
Political Differences, Musical Tastes, etc. We
believe that workforce diversity is dealt with through the
doorway of each unique personality style. We also believe in
presenting the material in an honest, vulnerable manner that
doesn't leave people merely tolerating (heartily
dislike that word in this context!)
We enter the
layers mentioned above through the gateway of our unique
"diversity personality" styles. I use an inventory I
designed -- takes 90 - 120 seconds -- to help understand
each approach to diversity.
are encouraged to connect with others who can become their
cultural guides and/or historical guides as they seek to
understand before seeking to be understood. As someone
once said, "You can attack my head (I wasn't
thinking), but please do not attack my heart (I mean
well and truly want to learn)."
The "Egg Shell" Effect: Some diversity
initiatives leave the participants in such a state of
hyper-awareness about their differences that everyone is
left walking on egg shells. On edge. Nervous. Fearful of saying
something stupid. Risk-averse or risk-neutral. Very little sense of humor.
Enter the "anti-egg-shell" experience that engages both the head and the
heart, encouraging participants to understand the
risk/reward ratio. The higher the personal risk of
vulnerability, curiosity and openness, the
greater the relational payoff. Embracing the spice of
wisdom that emerges from the curiosity-driven life --
possessing the potential of transcending the humdrum
work environment into a transformational
diversity-astute lifestyle (24/7).
The freedom to enjoy the humor (even laughing at ourselves) is one
of the side benefits of greater understanding...as we
delight in learning about ourselves and others around
us. This is the kind of stuff Dr. Freeman is passionate
about! As you continue reading, don't miss the "Ultimate
Ethnic Joke" told below...
Everyone approaches workforce diversity in their own
Some folks are more blustery in their approach while others
are more quiet and reserved. It's hard to know what they are
really thinking. Attitudes may be strongly felt, but are not
as readily accessible to co-workers. Still others deal with
diversity as a task to be accomplished. For some their
task is completed for that day when they leave to go home --
picking up the next morning with the desire to continue with
the completion of the task.
begins by awakening the understanding our own "hot buttons" and
discovering how and perhaps why we behave the way we do.
People around us do not respond to our intentions. They
respond to our behavior. Regardless of our individual values
and convictions, it is
paramount that co-workers treat each other with respect,
we deal specifically with Cultural Awareness, we address eleven
Symbols that impact every organization.).
to understand before seeking to be understood."
Augustine, 4th Century
"A great many people think they are thinking when they
are merely rearranging their prejudices." --
remember that you're unique.
Just like everybody else." --
Our initial focus is in
helping participants take an inward look, understanding more
about their own strengths and vulnerabilities. This is done
with a certain gentle artistry in which no one has his or
her dignity or self-respect stripped in the process.
It's a lot of fun.
Then we help participants
take an outward look -- how they interact with others around
them. Here we show participants how they can, not only
understand their co-workers, but also have the skills
necessary in exporting this knowledge to their other
relationships. People who are happier at home tend to be
happier and more productive at work and vice versa.
This gives all
of us a deeper understanding of Diversity: The Value of Mutual Respect.
Working in a diverse
workforce stretches and challenges everyone's internal
world. Gender, race, generational issues and other layers
cause all of us to take a brand new look at personal
prejudices and narrow-mindedness. At the same time, each new
layer provides another wonderful opportunity to seek to
understand before seeking to be understood. (Near the
bottom of this page is the difference between a proactive and
reactive approach to diversity.)
Training, education and skills determine the
"what" we do. Values are the "why" we do
things the way we do them. Behavior and emotions are the
"how" we do what we do. Co-workers do not respond
to intentions, they respond to behavior. That is why we
focus upon the "how" and what sponsors it from the
* HOW: Determine your personal approach to diversity
* PROBLEMS - How you approach the diverse problems and
* PEOPLE - How you interact with and attempt to
* PACE - How you respond to change and activities
* PROCEDURE - How you respond to rules and
regulations set by others
Civility in the workplace must be expected and is imposed
externally by any organization wishing to remain
competitive. But there is higher level of success that
emerges from harnessing the power of mutual respect and
cross-cultural understanding. Mutual
respect must spring from the internal structures of each
individual. For this to truly capture the culture of the
organization this must cascade down from the senior
leadership to every level of the organization -- enhancing
creativity, productivity and an emotionally safe environment.
Own a full-size, 3D Rosetta Stone replica
With humor, personal vulnerability and out-of-the-box thinking this program will
offer each participant an introduction to a
Return on Investment (R.O.I.):
Some futurists predict that before or by the year 2050 there will be
no clearly defined racial/cultural majority in the USA.
Demographic changes and shifting attitudes in the nation
result in a different face of the workforce. In work
environments where differences in gender, race, religion, or
other cultural aspects are not addressed, undue tension
results. Our diversity training approach moves beyond a
basic awareness of differences; we help people learn skills
to cope more effectively with the challenges of facing
diversity in a responsible and reflective manner. The
proactive implementation of the contents of this diversity
program can't help but usher in greater productivity and
creativity in any organization.
has your organization lost a valuable employee because of
personality or interpersonal conflicts? This online course
encourages employees to think about the layers of diversity
in the organization and how their individual personality
style connects, providing guidelines and action words that open doors.
It contains an interactive tool to help employees deal with
co-workers who may "drive them crazy."
ONLINE DIVERSITY TRAINING "SCORM Compliant"
"Our office was given
the opportunity to take the online diversity course and the
whole office loved it.
It was very insightful and gave us a new perspective on how
we should treat each other."
-- Beth Domingue Breaux,
American Express Travel Office
Broker's International, City
of Tacoma Park, DOCOMO Labs, General Chemical Products,
Coleman & Logan, Twigland Fashions, X-Gen
Pharmaceuticals, US Army Corps of Engineers, MidAmerica
Hotels, Rasa Floors, Stoltz Management, Habitat for
Humanity, General Chemical Industrial products, Consolidated
Engineering, AIDS Council, Astreya Partners, Broker's
International, Hoegh Autoliners, National Forensic Science
Technology, Salix Pharmaceuticals, Corning and many more...
Lesson Objectives/Learning Outcomes of
Online Diversity Course
The heart of the course is
our unique personality assessment tool, which enables
participants to determine their personality styles.
Employees are provided with an assessment of their
personality styles and, most importantly, they receive
positive suggestions as to how to get along better with
Illustrations show the
strengths and vulnerabilities associated with each style.
Specific examples are provided to demonstrate that
strengths overused can become weaknesses. The course
teaches employees that differences between employees in
the workplace cause workplace tension and impact on
productivity and morale.
By modifying behavior when
appropriate, employees will be able to maintain
constructive working relationships with others. Employees
will learn that the reason most lawsuits are filed is more
closely correlated with respect than with discriminatory
factors. Employees will be more likely to be sensitive to
"perceptions" of fairness and be able to work more
effectively with others.
online course educates about diversity and how an
individual's behavior impacts the work environment.
Developed by Dr. Freeman and HR Train, it is a
cost-effective online course designed to help large or
small organizations who are desiring to launch a
regional or global corporate Diversity initiative. Here's the "Hybrid Concept": 90%-95% of
workforce take the online Diversity course, which has an
admin tool to track everyone's status by alphabet,
location or job position. Dr. Freeman has an all-day
Diversity seminar event with 15-20 senior
executives/managers at a time. (Course can also be
"private-labeled", with a video welcome message
from president of organization) -->
BENEFITS OF THE "HYBRID CONCEPT"
Everyone in the entire organization is
receiving the same core diversity
philosophy. 2. It's a cost-effective way to implement a global diversity
initiative in a larger organization with
minimal travel costs. 3. The middle and senior managers can cascade the knowledge and
experience of the full-day, face-to-face training to the foundational levels of the organization.
Include your organization's
Include a message
from the President, CEO and/or other member of
and track employees' progress.
organization utilizes a Diversity Statement, it
can be included in the training.
BIAS, ACT CONSCIOUSLY
-------------------------------------- "a unique edu-fun
approach" -- online course co-written by Dr. Joel Freeman
and Karen Felix.
CLICK TO REVIEW ONLINE COURSE
UNDO BIAS, ACT CONSCIOUSLY -- We all have
deep-rooted ways of thinking based on
experiences and past history, which creates
is important that organizations help employees
fight against bias in order to create work
environments that support and encourage the
differences in people. Unconscious bias can
influence our work experiences and interactions,
from hiring to performance reviews to
promotions, as well as organizational culture.
Unconscious bias can contribute to differences
in the way people treat coworkers and
create a less collaborative workplace that is
not supportive of open communication and diverse
Bias is a human state that transcends race, religion,
gender, class and ethnicity. And even though it is very
serious and topical subject, we decided to integrate some
comedy clips and insightful games in this training to
provide humor as a refreshing gateway to better
understanding how our brains work. This course was
co-written by Dr. Joel Freeman and Karen Felix.
Outcomes for Online Unconscious Bias Course:
Raise awareness and
appreciation of differences that exist in people and
explore the diverse perspectives of others creating
empathy and mutual respect.
Increase awareness of
the impact of subconscious negative opinions about
various groups of people.
communicate, and manage one's own feelings.
Identify and redirect
patterns of behavior with practical ideas for reducing
Develop strategies and a
"call to action" to reinforce and sustain learning
U L T
I M A T E E T H N I C
J O K E
An Englishman, a
Scotsman, an Irishman, a Welshman, a Latvian, a
Turk, a German, an Indian, several Americans
(including a Hawaiian and an Alaskan), an
Argentinean, a Dane, an Australian, an Ethiopian,
a Slovak, an Egyptian, a Japanese, a Moroccan, a
Frenchman, a New Zealander, a Spaniard, a Russian,
a Guatemalan, a Colombian, a Pakistani, a
Barbadian, a Malaysian, a Liberian, a Croatian, an
Uzbek, a Cypriot, a Pole, a Lithuanian, a Chinese,
a Sri Lankan, a Lebanese, a Cayman Islander, a
Ugandan, a Vietnamese, a Korean, a Uruguayan, a
Czech, an Icelander, a Mexican, a Finn, a
Honduran, a Panamanian, an Andorran, an Israeli, a
Venezuelan, an Iranian, a Fijian, a Peruvian, a
Nigerian, an Estonian, a Syrian, a Brazilian, a
Portuguese, a Liechtensteiner, a Mongolian, a
Hungarian, a Canadian, a Moldovan, a Haitian, a
Norfolk Islander, a Macedonian, a Bolivian, a Cook
Islander, a Tajikistani, a Samoan, an Armenian, an
Aruban, an Albanian, a Greenlander, a Micronesian,
a Virgin Islander, a Georgian, a Bahaman, a
Belarusian, a Cuban, a Tongan, a South African, a
Cambodian, a Canadian, a Ghanian, a Qatari, an
Azerbaijani, a Romanian, a Chilean, a Kyrgyzstani,
a Jamaican, a Filipino, a Ukrainian, a Dutchman,
an Ecuadorian, a Costa Rican, a Swede, a
Bulgarian, a Serb, a Swiss, a Greek, a Belgian, a
Singaporean, an Italian, and a Norwegian walk into
a fine restaurant and request a large table.
"I'm sorry," says the maître d', scrutinizing the group one by one
while barring their entrance into the restaurant.
"You can't come in here without a Thai."
Dr. Joel A. Freeman is the keynote
speaker at many Black History presentations and
training events around the world (see some of the organizations
below). At this Black History Month event
in the Washington, DC region, many participants
stayed afterwards to review documents and artifacts from The Freeman Institute Black History
collection. Black history was the gateway through which Dr.
Freeman developed a passion for cross cultural
Dr. Freeman at the United Nations
"Transatlantic Slave Trade" Exhibit (22 Mar - 1 May, 2011).
Twenty documents and artifacts from The Freeman Institute Black
History Collection included.
Documents and artifacts from The Freeman
Institute Black History collection have been exhibited in a number
of venues around North America, including the White House
Communications, US Department of Justice, Frostburg State
University, the Secret Service, and also at the United Nations commemoration of the
International Day of Remembrance of the victims of slavery and the
transatlantic slave trade.
If you want to ask Dr. Freeman to speak at a Black History or
Cultural Diversity event, his contact
information is at the
bottom of this page.
MANY SATISFIED CLIENTS
The White House Communications staff (WHCA)
Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA),
National Transportation Safety Board
Association for the Study of African American Life & History (ASALH),
Federal Executive Board,
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL),
Maryland Association of Mental
Tri Association (South / Central America &
European Council of International Schools (ECIS),
Montgomery County Community College, Howard County
Harlem Book Fair, Rutgers University...
US Army Reserves
US Dept of Justice
Blacks In Government
National Security Agency
National Science Foundation
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Defense Threat Reduction Agency
Baltimore City Community College
Mountain States Health Alliance
Wright Patterson Air Force Base
Frostburg State University
DLA Troops Support
Some of the many organizations who have invited
Dr. Joel Freeman to
present on the topics of
Black History and/or Cross-Cultural Communication
Dr. Freeman discussing a painting from his
collection at a
US Department of Justice Black History Month event (click on photo above for more info about painting)
Dr. Joel A. Freeman
What would motivate a White Man
to be interested in Black History? CLICK HERE
for a brief response.
Defense Threat Reduction Agency Department of Defense
Ft. Belvoir, VA
Dear Dr. Freeman
I would like to personally thank you for your interest,
support, and participation in our observance of African American
History Month and for sharing your personal thoughts, and
sincere and warm concerns for the men and women in our Agency.
and educational speech was the highlight of this year's
observance. You were able to help us understand and feel the gandeur and importance of the historical times in which we live.
It enhanced our comprehension of African American's
participation in contemporary society. We are indeed fortunate
to have citizens such as you who are willing to give of their
personal time and lend their talents to ensure the success of
such programs. Your participation attests to your character and
thanks for your interest and support, and outstanding
Chief, Equal Opportunity and
Organizations Experiencing Dr. Freeman's Diversity and/or
Black History Training
BLADES OF GRASS GROWING IN A CONCRETE JUNGLE
DIVERSITY: THE VALUE OF MUTUAL RESPECT ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA),
FBI, Howard University, Department of Justice, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), NASA,
Baltimore City Community College, USDA, Quantico, Mountain States Health
Alliance, CECOM, Ellington Field, US Army Reserves, Central Clinic, National Security Agency,
Wright Patterson Air Force Base, HHS, ODAR, National Science
Foundation, Maryland Association of Mental Health
Counselors, Frostburg State University, NIH, CDC, Ft. Belvoir, Montgomery County Community College, SSA, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Blacks
In Government, NOAA, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Howard County Community College, DEA, US Army,
Association for the Study of African American Life & History
Game -- Based Upon the Johari Window
Call to make an order:
410-991-9718 (ask for Joel)
groups have different needs. The "Diversity: The
Value of Mutual Respect" seminar experience (see
program overview below) is meant to be an interactive
experience in a fun, non-threatening atmosphere. The
following interactive game is a proven option available to
During the afternoon,
participants can experientially understand more about
diversity by playing the Know Me™ game with any
number of groups of six -- with a debrief exercise after
everyone is finished. This highly-interactive game is based
on the Disclosure/Feedback model of awareness known as the Johari
Window (click to view more about the game), named after
Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham. This award-winning game has
been used in over 20 countries by a wide range of
organizations and is specifically designed for establishing
trust and building relationships in the workplace. The
larger the group, that harder it is to facilitate this game.
It can work with larger groups, but it works best with
groups consisting of between 6 to 18 participants.
Diversity Game -- This game
enables participants from different groups (whether defined
by culture, race, gender, status, or any other
criteria) to explore issues of diversity together.
Workforce diversity is
like an iceberg. Because of busy schedules, it is easy to
interact with co-workers on the surface. Our diversity
programs help people, who may have even worked together for
years, connect at a deeper, richer level.
Would you like to see a stunning
"Night At Earth" image?
DEBRIEFING" COACHING PROCESS
Dr. Freeman specializes in situations
that may be referred to as CID -- "Critical
Incident Debriefings". The reason why they are
viewed as "critical" is because something verifiable has happened
(or a series of incidents) causing strain with the internal/external
relationships at the organization, perhaps resulting in the lowering
of morale and productivity. Review the 10-hour process
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and
narrow-mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on those
accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things
cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth
all one's lifetime." -- Mark Twain, 1867
"Managing diversity is the process of
creating and maintaining an environment that enables all
participants to contribute to their full potential in pursuit of
-- R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr., D.B.A.
Fox News Channel segment about the
Black History Collection
"Transatlantic Slave Trade" exhibit (NY)
Cultures Populated the Earth
Earth At Night -- Spectacular View from Space
is everywhere! It's the spice of life! We all are different.
Some of us are thinkers, others are doers, some are passive,
and still others are aggressive. Mix in the different
categories of professional status, ethnicity, generations,
gender and it makes for an interesting melting pot begging for
people come to work with pretty good intentions, but we can
get on each other's nerves just by being ourselves. In the
every-day stress of a diverse work environment, the tiniest
issues can escalate. And soon we may fight about the way we
are fighting, instead of dealing with the real issues –
seeking to understand before we seek to be understood.
mentioned before, in a diverse work place co-workers do not
respond to our intentions. They respond to our behavior. By
focusing on behavior, employees are introduced to a deep
experience as they explore how individual behavior heats up or
cools down the emotional climate of the work environment.
the people within organizations, The
provides skills and tools to learn how to agree and
disagree within the framework of mutual respect and commitment
to each other.
1. Each participant has a better understanding of his or her respect
for workforce diversity.
2. Reduction of the potential for conflict or power struggles (preventive maintenance vs.
crisis management). 3.
Higher morale and greater productivity.
4. Better listening and communication skills.
5. Greater sensitivity to work force diversity.
6. Tools for influencing an emotionally safe climate.
7. Working with diversity; not against it.
8. Knowing how to approach different people and situations.
9. Implementation of diversity in a win/win style.
10.Enhancing self-motivated work teams.
11.What works and what doesn't work in terms of motivation.
12.Dealing more effectively with difficult behavior in a
Your Specific Approach to Diversity PROBLEMS - How you approach problems and challenges
PEOPLE - How you interact and attempt to influence people
PACE - How you respond to change and activities
PROCEDURE - How you respond to rules set by others
ASSESSMENT TO DETERMINE HOW TO CUSTOMIZE PROGRAM
of the focus of this seminar will be on the internal world of the
25% of the focus will be on how participants interacts with others.
be viewed as a generic
full day version with appropriate breaks, half day or keynote
Participants share the best part(s) and most challenging aspect(s)
of their jobs (if smaller group).
* Presenter introduces himself and the purpose of the
* Humorous concepts illustrating the reality that people are
different; predictably different.
* Explore the five contributing factors to one's approach to
diversity:i. Heredity ii. Childhood role modelsiii. Birth orderiv. Physical characteristicsv. Experiences
* Emotional pain -- the great modifier of human behavior.
* Interpret the meaning of the Diversity Awareness Spectrum
* The differences between power and influence in diversity.
* Johari Window -- How trust and mutual respect are built up
or broken down in an organization.
* How personal Blind Spots and Mask effect leadership/
followership styles and diversity.
* Peeling the layers of the onionskin to get to the core
issues of workforce diversity:i. Gender issues ii. Cultural diversityiii.
Generational influencesiv. Professional statusv. Disability Awareness
vi. Personality style
* Administer personal profile material
* Overview of the universe of the four dominant communication
styles and how each style:
i. Responds to or reacts to emotional painii.
Seeks to control his or her environmentiii. Leads and followsiv. Makes decisionsv. Completes communicationvi. Deals with change vii. Processesinformationvii. Handles "personal attacks"
viii. Deals with workforce diversity
* Three main areas where conflict generally erupts, combined
with concepts for preventive
-- plus skills for managing oppositional
behavior after it has escalated. This is where communication
breaks down or is built up and where the value of
diversity is enhanced!
* In-depth study of each communication stylei. Major fearsii. Natural and adaptive styles when confronted by diversity, stress or changeiii.
Dynamic drivesiv. Needs-motivated behavior and
communication languagev. Tools for working effectively with each stylevi. How personal dominant and sub-dominant styles can compliment vs.
cause internal stressvii. Drawing the best out of others
at work and at home -- lifestyle change
* Learning to "read" one's diversity graph.
* Now what do we do with the information?
* Play the KnowMe™ game, along with a debrief
* Time for feedback, personal responses to the accuracy of the
information, and specific questions.
* Help to develop action and accountability plans for
harnessing the power of workforce diversity.
* Allowance for one-on-one time with instructor.
Contact us for a more
detailed and customized diversity program.
Dr. Joel A. Freeman and The Freeman Institute® on Facebook,
LinkIn and YouTube
If you've ever wondered what it
would be like to be richer or poorer, or older or younger,
or of a different race, class, gender or ethnic group this
remarkable workshop is
sure to give you some fascinating insights.
Develop greater understanding regarding race, ethnic origins, gender,
Enhance your social comfort zones and respect for others
Explore your assumptions, beliefs, and attitudes
Deepen your understanding of stigma, prejudice, and issues of access
Increase your capacity for empathy
Lessen the likelihood of discrimination, sexual harassment, and
Satisfaction Guaranteed. Period.
want you to know how pleased we were with your
presentation, Diversity: The Value of Mutual
Respect, which was presented at our
Multicultural Training Observance in Dallas, Texas
on May 22, 2002.
who participated in both sessions of your
presentation were nearly unanimous in their
assessment of its relevance and value. Your approach
to viewing diversity as a multi-layer phenomenon was
unique. And your ability to relate to a
multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-generational
audience, and keep the participants attentive
throughout your presentation was a major contributor
to your success.
A major benefit of your
presentation is it offered to those in attendance a
unique framework for assessing their basic beliefs
about living and working in a multicultural society,
and provided us a point of departure for additional
discussions about the benefits of mutual respect in
the workplace and the larger community.
am happy we were able to bring you to Dallas as a
part of our Multicultural Training effort. Your
presentation was the "meat and potatoes"
of what we regarded as a very successful training.
Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity Manager
WFO Eastern North Dakota
Connects to NOAA Diversity Lecture Series
As part of
the Monthly Diversity Lecture Series, a group of WFO Eastern North
Dakota personnel participated in a talk on by Joel Freeman entitled
"Dealing with People Who Drive You Crazy."
The talk took place live in Washington, D.C., for NOAA
Headquarters personnel and was viewed live over the Internet via
Real Player on the PDW in the Training Room. The voice quality
ranged from good most of the time to a bit fuzzy at other
The talk was quite interesting, as the expert (Dr. Joel
Freeman) spoke about various personality types that must interact in
the work setting. We all realize some of us are more "doers
than thinkers" and vice-versa. The point is that each of us
brings value into the workforce, although each in a different way
and further understanding of these personality variables will
increase each person's and then the overall offices
He also spoke about differences relating to gender,
religious and ethnic backgrounds, age and others. Again, further
understanding of these differences in the workplace will enable all
of us to improve our work place relationships and could all make us
"feel better" about our contributions to the office and
"Diversity transcends race and gender, affirmative action and Equal
It must encompass a fundamental
appreciation of one another and a respect for both our similarities
and our differences. It must include a heartfelt respect in attitude and
in behavior towards those of
different race, gender, age, sexual
orientation, ethnicity and those with disabilities.
All the facets that make each individual the unique and precious resource that each of us is."
-- Ronald Brown, Former Secretary of Commerce
~ Managing Diversity, Equal Employment
Opportunity and Affirmative Action ~
Proactive vs. Reactive
Many organizations are beginning to implement
diversity initiatives. Despite the enormous popularity of
these initiatives, it has become increasingly clear that some
workers may be confused by the concept of managing diversity.
Employees sometimes confuse managing diversity with EEO and
affirmative action programs. Some people use the three terms
Affirmative action programs are an outgrowth of
EEO laws, rules and regulations. Affirmative action is
government-initiated and mandated in certain circumstances. It
is compliance-based and relies on statistical comparisons of
various demographic groups. Affirmative action programs
contain goals and
timetables designed to bring the level of representation for
minority groups and women into parity with relevant and
available labor force indices. Affirmative action programs
seek limited bottom line results by changing the mix of women,
minorities, and persons with disabilities in a particular
Affirmative action programs generally cover those
groups protected by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Where appropriate, and subject to legal interpretation,
organizations may set affirmative employment goals to increase
the numbers of women, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians,
Native Americans, white males, and people with disabilities.
While affirmative action programs are mandated, managing
diversity initiatives are voluntary in nature.
While affirmative action programs are a reaction
to under representation, managing diversity initiatives are
proactive. Managing diversity seeks to address issues related
to human resources, internal communications, interpersonal
relationships, conflict resolution, quality, productivity, and
efficiency. Some of the human resource issues addressed by
properly managing diversity may be indirectly related to EEO
and affirmative action concerns. The main focus of managing
diversity is to find productivity gains through respecting,
valuing, and using the differences people bring to the
workplace. The idea is to find a
way to let everyone do what he or she does best in order to
gain a competitive edge. While affirmative action seeks an end
result, managing diversity is a long-term change process that
seeks to identify and actually change the organizational
culture of an agency.
In the short-term, organizations needs both an
affirmative action plan and a managing diversity strategy.
However, as legal restrictions on affirmative action programs
continue to tighten and organizations proceed with downsizing
and reengineering activities, long-term change strategies will
Regardless of the changes affirmative action may undergo,
organizations will be far ahead of the curve by implementing a
Workplace Diversity Initiative early on. The sooner we all
learn the differences between managing diversity, EEO and
affirmative action, the more prepared we will be collectively
to meet the realities of our ever-shrinking planet. Note the differences
* Changes the way an
* Social and moral justifications
* Focuses on race, gender, ethnicity
* Changes the mix of people
* Perception of preference
* Short-term and limited
* Grounded in assimilation
* Measured quantitatively
* Changes the way an
* Efficiency, and quality
* Focuses on all elements of diversity
* Changes the systems/operations
* Perception of equality
* Long-term and ongoing
* Grounded in individuality
* Measured qualitatively
Protect Your Reputation Major race- and gender-discrimination lawsuits over the past 10
years cost U.S. corporations $974 million in settlements alone --
and that's without attorney fees and other additional costs and
decreased market capitalization caused by negative public relations.
The sad thing is that most of these lawsuits could have been avoided
through strategic diversity management.
Joel A. Freeman and The Freeman Institute® on Facebook,
LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Thumbtack, and YouTube
"diversity -- eeo -- cultural
diversity -- cultural competency -- equity assurance -- civil rights --
racial prejudice -- special emphasis -- black history -- Asian -- Hispanic -- Native -- Indian