Managers and executives who find value in diversity training are more committed to their organizations and satisfied with their careers than those who perceive training to be ineffective, suggest researchers from Ryerson University's Diversity Institute in Management and Technology.
"Retention is a big concern for corporations," said Margaret Yap, the institute's director and an associate professor in the Ted Rogers School of Management. "Canadian firms will soon face a talent shortage for knowledge workers so organizations will have to tap into every talent pool."
Yap is the lead author of a study that looked at executives' perceptions of diversity training, their level of commitment to their companies and satisfaction with their careers. The study's co-authors are Wendy Cukier, associate dean, academic, Ted Rogers School of Management, and founder of the Diversity Institute; Charity-Ann Hannan, a doctoral student in policy studies at Ryerson University; and Mark Robert Holmes, a PhD candidate at York University.
According to Yap, diversity training helps executives and managers become more culturally attuned when working with employees from different ethnic backgrounds.
The researchers analyzed survey data collected between 2006 and 2007 from more than 11,000 managers, professionals and executives across Canada. The survey asked participants about their work experiences and outcomes as well as their organization's diversity practices.
Managers, professionals and executives who perceived diversity training in their organizations to be beneficial reported career satisfaction and organizational commitment scores seven to 14 per cent higher than those working in organizations where diversity training is non-existent or ineffective.
"For companies to get the most 'bang for their buck' in offering diversity training, it's important that employees understand that the training is intended to help facilitate and enhance collaborative behaviours among today's diverse workforce," said Yap. "These collaborative behaviours will improve an organization's abilities to solve problems, and increase productivity, innovation, creativity and morale."
Yap cautioned, however, that diversity training must also be offered in conjunction with other inclusive talent management practices such as recruitment, rewards, development and advancement processes. "If not, it's like trying to simultaneously go in two different directions. Incongruent policies create confusion in the workplace."
The research paper, The Relationship Between Diversity Training, Organizational Commitment and Career Satisfaction, was published in the sixth issue of the 2010 Journal of European Industrial Training.
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