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Becoming a Diversity Trainer - FAQ

FREQUENT QUESTIONS & ANSWERS FAQ

    What is the diversity training profession?

    What is diversity training?

    Diversity training is not a new idea. Diversity trainers use their expertise in:

    • conflict resolution,
    • preparing organizations for increases in racial, ethnic, cultural, and gender diversity,
    • preparing employees for international work,
    • safeguarding against harassment and unfair employment lawsuits,
    • taking advantage of employee diversity to increase productivity,
    • conducting cultural audits,
    • managing sexual attraction in the workplace,
    • developing competencies needed to exploit the international marketplace.
    • Diversity training has existed for quite a while in some form or another, although different labels were used to refer to it. Perhaps the most globally shared label is cross-cultural training. Race relations training and multicultural education are common labels used in the United States. As the labels suggest, diversity training aims to combat racism, sexism, exclusion, and ethnocentrism. However, today's marketplace offers an additional connotation which is more positive. Diversity training aims to give individuals and companies a competitive edge in an increasing global community. DTUI courses provide the skills needed to get the most out of interactions with people of a different race, gender, or nationality.

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How is diversity training different from multicultural, cross-cultural, and race relations training?

Multicultural training focuses on educating people to understand and appreciate cultural differences. Diversity training, from the DTUI perspective, focuses on building community rather than pointing out how people are different. Appreciation of differences is important, but it is not considered the highest priority competency. The abilities to make others comfortable and included are most important, no matter how much you know about their culture.

Cross-cultural training focuses on educating people to manage themselves in other countries or as a minority in another cultural group. DTUI provides knowledge and skills to manage cultural differences that exist in one's own country and in others. Diversity also includes gender, sexual preference, religion, and other types of diversity that are not central in cross-cultural training.

Race relations training focuses on educating people to understand and appreciate racial differences, and helping different races get along. Race refers to skin color differences in the United States while Europeans tend to include nationality in their definition. American race relations trainers often assume that White American privilege is a central problem in addressing racism. Diversity training includes race relations while addresses the general problem of dealing with people who are different. Institutional barriers are considered without placing blame on individuals.

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What does the diversity trainer do for the typical client?

The diversity trainer focuses on where the client needs them the most. Progressive organizations, such as the technology giant, Qualcomm, the FCC, and the city of San Diego, value employee differences. Diversity training is extensive in such organizations. The City of San Diego has its own diversity office from which expert diversity trainers. Even the city's police officers receive extensive training in preparation for working in the diverse community. Committed organizations require intensive training, ranging from a minimum 3-day workshop to 1-week with follow-up sessions. These companies are increasing as evidence by the increased number of management level diversity courses offered.

Companies competing in the international marketplace are most likely to require sojourner training for employees relocating to a foreign country. It became apparent early in global marketing that sending employees with diversity training to manage foreign companies increases their effectiveness. Adjustment problems were also evident in the employee's spouse and children. Diversity trainers can provide training and counseling before employees travel and to help them readjust upon return.

Other organizations offer training because one or more of its insightful leaders persuade the others to commit to addressing diversity issues. These organizations tend to offer half-day to full-day workshops to employees.

Oftentimes, a client brings in a diversity trainer to manage a crisis. An employee may have filed a harassment complaint against another employee or an affirmative action lawsuit against the company is sought. Occasionally, diversity training is required to meet the terms of a lawsuit settlement. These present the most challenges training situations for diversity trainers.

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 Does diversity training really work?

Diversity training can be a pleasurable profession when one has the skills needed to do the work competently. Diversity training can cause more harm than good to an organization, individual employees, and to the diversity profession when the trainers are ill-prepared. Many well-intentioned diversity trainers have left participants with an angry and bitter taste for such training. Effective diversity trainers offer participants tools for managing diversity according to specific behaviors that make trouble for them in everyday interactions. DTUI provides the knowledge and skills needed to help people help themselves in sticky intercultural interactions.

Why is there an increase in the use of diversity trainers?

Diversity trainers are becoming popular for several reasons:

  • Changing demographics in the United States has led to increased workplace diversity. Employers can no longer afford to hire people of their same race, gender, and nationality. Diversity trainers help them make good employee selection decisions, promote productive team work, and develop effective intercultural communication.
  • Increased diversity in organizations is creating interpersonal challenges. Diversity means that people will have different points of view about how to solve problems and complete tasks. The differences can lead to misunderstanding as a result. Diversity trainers often serve as conflict resolution facilitators.
  • Organizations wishing to have presence in the growing global community use diversity training in the strategic plan. Sometimes this involves having a person who is competent in the area as an administrator and primary facilitator.
  • Affirmative action directors, equal employment officers, and employee relations officers are becoming a central part of organizational life. They assist in activities ranging from managing employee diversity to protecting their company from lawsuits.
  • Having diversity specialists makes good business sense in today's world. The high functioning and advanced organizations of today value its diversity. It seeks to promote employee diversity to stay at the forefront of innovation.

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Why would individuals or companies without diversity-related problems need diversity trainer expertise?

Americans are not socialized adequately to live and work in multicultural settings. Where there is employee diversity, diversity-related problems are either waiting to happen or they exist under the surface. The increased numbers of harassment and discrimination multimillion dollar lawsuits settlements attest to this. Many managers are not prepared to deal with the reality of workplace diversity. They do not act on employee diversity-related complaints because they are ill-prepared.

What is DTUI's diversity training philosophy?

The DTUI philosophy is based on a critical thinking teaching strategy and a three-component training model. The oldest and still most powerful teaching approach is Socratic teaching. In Socratic teaching, the focus is on asking the student insightful questions to ponder, rather seeking particular answers.

Diversity training competence fits nicely with the method because skillful diversity work requires critical thinking in formulating solutions to intercultural challenges. The student is the questioner and inquisitive learner who is given considerable freedom in learning under expert guidance.

DTUI trains three competencies: (a) attitudes/awareness, (b) knowledge, and (c) skills. We assume that trainers need the competencies to provide high performance diversity training and consultation. Attitude/awareness refers to insights into personal biases, moral positions, and how differences affect us. Knowledge refers to the concepts, skill requirements, and ethics associated with diversity training. Skills refer to the ability to effectively train and evaluate performance.

Practicing what one is trying to learn in the act of learning is central to the DTUI training philosophy. However, novice trainers have an ethical responsibility to conduct diversity work under the supervision of an expert. DTUI assumes that diversity training and consulting competency requires rigorous training. Trainees complete the written thesis, oral examinations, and the postgraduate internship to insure they achieve the competencies.

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Who hires a diversity trainer and why?

Managers, supervisors, social workers, psychotherapists, lawyers, doctors, salespersons, accountants, CEO's, trainers, business consultants, and a host of others hire diversity trainers. Diversity trainers are being hired today as a personal coach by individuals seeking to: FAQ

  • Manage a personal intercultural conflict,
  • Manage a conflict between supervisors,
  • Develop intercultural competencies. 
  • Diversity trainers are often hired by an organization to:
  • resolve an intercultural conflict,
  • prepare employees for foreign country work & repatriation,
  • assist in preparation for increased employee diversity,
  • provide diversity training for managers and/or employees.

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    What happens when a diversity trainer is hired?

    A diversity trainer does what most trainers and consultants do. They consult to management or offered courses/workshops. In addition, diversity trainers are sought as coaches to assist individuals in the development of intercultural skills.

    Diversity trainers offer their skills in a variety of ways. Often, an organization will ask for a proposal to conduct a course or workshop. Sometimes the proposal will address general intercultural awareness/attitude training. Often an organization has a particular intercultural conflict that needs to be addressed. The consultant/trainer interviews the manager and anyone else with relevant knowledge to assess the needs.

    Sometimes the organization requires evaluation of the workshop or course, but trainers need to be prepared to provide their own evaluation form. Providing your own is considered necessary to evaluate your performance and seek areas needing improvement.

    Can a diversity trainer create more problems that solutions?

    Yes, if the trainer is not competent. Most diversity trainers do not have credentials other than a couple of workshops they attended and a strong desire to earn a living in the area. A major source of incompetence results from the trainer's inability to understand how their own biases create obstacles for effective training. Usually, major problems are absent in the profession, even when people are incompetent. However, some people exposed to diversity training experience adjustment difficulties or heightened prejudice from poor training outcomes. These problems occur when the trainer fails to offer opportunities for participants to state their beliefs and values honestly or treat honestly with disrespect. DTUI trains the competencies needed to overcome these problems and helps trainers experience a sense of accomplishment in their work.

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    How long must an individual or company commit to working with a diversity trainer?

    No strict guidelines exist that specify how much commitment an individual or organization should request or expect from a diversity trainer. However, some expert diversity trainers will not work with an organization who will not commit to a workshop or course that lasts a minimum of four days. Too many organizations are not willing to pay for more than 2-3 hours for diversity training. A few are committed to the extent that they develop an in-hour diversity training group to service the entire company.

    What does it cost to hire a diversity trainer?

    The cost of hiring a diversity trainer depends on the client's needs. A diversity trainer hired to conduct a workshop can charge by the hour or provide a total workshop package price. Those serving as consultants can charge by the hour or larger periods, such as day and half-day fees. The diversity trainer serving as an executive coach may charge by the hour or offer package prices (e.g., in 8-hour blocks).

    Diversity trainer fees are also determined by credentials. Inexperienced diversity trainers receive low fees compared to those with a reputation. Professionals with less that an undergraduate education are not common in the profession. A certified diversity trainer with a Ph.D. will undoubtedly charge much higher fees than an uncertified trainer with a bachelors degree. Certification and excellent training make the bigger difference, no matter the degree level.

    Too many clients do not know what to ask for when seeking diversity expertise. They assume that skin color or commitment to diversity is sufficient. DTUI offers a credential that specifies diversity trainer expertise that potential clients cannot ignore.

    GO TO:

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    Q&A: Becoming A Diversity Trainer

    Q&A: What is Diversity Training?

    Q&A: A Historical View of Diversity Training?

    Q&A: How Strong is the Demand for Diversity Trainers?

    Q&A: The Diversity Trainer Profession

    Q&A: The DTUI Training Program

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