If your workplace isn't diverse now, chances are it will be before long. In the next 10 years, three-quarters of U.S. population growth will come from Hispanics, African Americans, and Asians. Diversity training helps your employees adjust to the changes ahead--and prevent discrimination--by learning about different communication styles and cultural traditions. A diversity program is also a defense in the event that you're sued.
CASE IN POINT: When a 23-person manufacturing company in Cincinnati, Ohio, hired its first black employee recently, a tasteless joke, followed by a serious racial slur, sent the new hire to a lawyer and the chief executive to Patricia Pope, a Cincinnati diversity trainer. Pope set up a training workshop, but the damage had already been done: Litigation is under way. Pope says companies must proactively prevent discrimination in the workplace. "You have to understand your corporate culture," says Pope, and ask whether there are "things you can do on the front end" to avoid an unfortunate experience.
WEB: www.diversityhotwire.com. Read free excerpts and abstracts from the journal Cultural Diversity at Work. Its events calendar keeps you abreast of the latest diversity conferences and seminars. Has reviews of new books on diversity, too.
BOOKS: The ASTD Trainer's Source Book: Diversity by Tina Rasmussen (McGraw-Hill, 1995, $39.95) provides advice and materials on setting up a program. The Human Diversity Workshop ($149), from HR Press, includes a leader's guide and workbooks (800 444-7139).
TRAINING: Pope & Associates Inc., one of the oldest diversity-training firms, offers full-day workshops in Cincinnati. Cost: $335 per person, including two meals and two manuals (www.pope-diversity.com or 513 671-1277).