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HR Labs

Mar 17, 2021

This week, Duane sits down with sociology professor Don Tomaskovic-Devey Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst to discuss how to engage white men and middle managers in DEIB strategies.

Dr. Tomaskovic-Devey researches the causes of workplace inequity, and he and Duane waste no time getting into it. According to Dr. Tomaskovic-Devey, "There's a disconnect between where the work normally gets done and the [company's] diversity and inclusion agenda." In the episode, why that is, who is dropping the ball, and what we all can do to help solve it.

Duane's experience from his first job until now as the Chief Diversity Officer at Cornerstone has shown him that the biggest difference between successful and mediocre DEIB initiatives is "their ability to engage white men and middle managers in the conversation and the solution."

Dr. Tomaskovic-Devey agrees on the role of white males and diversity, and he explains the two things keeping these groups of people from fully embracing and facilitating the company's DEIB efforts.

What's missing in DEIB strategies is conversation

When it comes to addressing diversity at the individual employee level, "Training is only one component," says Duane. "What's often missing is the important dialog and conversation that needs to happen prior to the training and after."

And according to Dr. Tomaskovic-Devey, science backs this up: "Most diversity training has a short-term effect for people who are already primed for the message. ... For the people who are resistant to the message, it often produces backlash."

Because training doesn't seem to have the long-term impacts we all would hope for, Duane and Dr. Tomaskovic-Devey then dig into how we change people's minds and hearts for the better.

Dr. Tomaskovic-Devey even walks us through what a few of the organizations he's studied did to have successful DEIB initiatives and how you can use his learnings in your initiatives. "The stakeholders inside the firm became empowered." When it comes to solving why diversity and inclusion strategies are struggling at any company, he says, "The real solutions here are always going to be organizational."

Tune in to the episode to learn more from Duane and Dr. Tomaskovic-Devey's conversation.

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