Inspiring Leadership with Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence

Posts tagged ‘diversity certification’

How Data Can Change Traditional Approaches to Diversity & Inclusion

data2Lately, I have been fascinated with the ABC-TV hit, “How to Get Away with Murder”. Interestingly enough, I simultaneously read the Twitter comments while watching the show. Afterwards, I check Wikipedia to learn the ratings data (i.e., how many people watched the show) in the prior week.

What does this have to do with diversity and inclusion? Alot. Instead of simply stating that there are not enough television shows featuring diverse individuals, a stronger business case for diversity in television programming would center around Nielsen ratings and Twitter use—which USA Today also reports on a regular basis. One could also make the case based on the quantity and quality of advertisers.

Pertaining to the workplace, I recently read the October 2014 U.S. Department of Labor Unemployment Report, which stated that the unemployment rate for whites declined to 4.8 percent; while blacks were at 10.9 percent; Hispanics, 6.8 percent; and Asians, 5.0 percent. The question is, ‘with all of this so-called diversity and inclusion in the workplace, why is the unemployment rate so high for blacks?

In June 2014, Forbes ran article entitled, “White High School Drop-Outs Are As Likely To Land Jobs As Black College Students” by Susan Adams. The author asserts that there are “numerous theories to explain the employment gap between the races and a list of proposed solutions. Persistent racial discrimination in hiring is one obvious cause. The high incarceration rate among African-Americans is another reason, says the report, citing a 2014 Brookings study showing that there is nearly a 70% chance that an African-American male without a high school diploma will be in prison by his mid-30s; having a criminal record makes it much tougher to find a job.”

The federal government has its own theories. The Bureau of Labor Statistics contends that the unemployment rate for blacks has always been higher than whites. In other words, this is status quo—no need for alarm. Another government report states that blacks simply “look for the right job longer”. Yet the title of Susan Adams’ article is particularly troubling as it implies that even highly educated blacks are likely to be the last to find jobs—especially if folks are more willing to hire a white high school drop-out before they hire a black college student.

But other data suggests that the disparity is different depending on where one lives. For instance, the Midwest sees a much wider gap between black and white unemployment than other regions — especially the West. In some states (Vermont, South Dakota, Utah, etc.), the black population is so small that the comparison doesn’t shed much light. But in states with substantial black populations, there has been only one year in one state in which the unemployment rate for blacks was lower than that for whites: 2007 in Massachusetts. That year, the average unemployment rate for blacks in the state was 4.3 percent. For whites, it was 4.7.

What is interesting about 2007 in Massachusetts is that the crime rate, in large cities like Boston, dropped significantly. Property crime, for example, consistently occurred above the national average in prior years. But starting in 2008, it began to fall so dramatically that now it is consistently below the national average, according to City-Data.com. Additionally, the Boston Globe reported that “some 84.7 percent of students who entered Boston high schools in fall 2008 graduated in 2012, an increase of 4.8 percentage points from six years earlier.” Note that the graduation rate was higher than the U.S. Department of Education’s 2012 national average of 80%, an all-time high.

My point is that many people complain about high crime, the lack of education, and more, that plague inner cities in America. Yet, one of the best indicators as to whether things will be different is the monthly unemployment report. If unemployment, for example, is particularly disparate, it will likely be reflected in other areas of society. But instead of saying, “the unemployment rate for blacks is much higher than any other group”, the business case for ensuring equal employment opportunity lies in improving the quality of life, reducing crime, and creating an educational system that works for all individuals, as well as for their future employers. Not surprisingly, much of this data points to the notion of interdependence within the diversity and inclusion space where employers, educators and community leaders, as well as government officials must connect their efforts.

At the end of the day, whether you are in the U.S. or in another country, the proliferation of data should enable you to build a stronger business case—easily comparing data points, providing deeper insights, and establishing connections to business objectives. Hence, moving beyond merely stating how many diverse people work, or don’t work, with an organization, toward utilizing more meaningful data to effect change.

By Leah Smiley

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Leah Smiley is the President of the Society for Diversity, the #1 and largest professional association for diversity and inclusion. For more information about the Society for Diversity, log onto http://www.societyfordiversity.org.

 

Why Employees Hate Diversity Training

By Leah Smiley

A relatively new high school math teacher, by the name of “J.J.”, pulled out a $5 bill in his third period class. He taped the $5 onto the white board and told the students that “someone was going to get the money if they made the right choices and took the right actions.” Everyone in the class participated in the lessons, showed respect, and waited for J.J. to hand over the $5. Nothing happened. J.J. issued the same challenge to fourth, fifth, sixth, and finally, seventh period classes. In the seventh period, one student said, “I’m going to just walk up there and take that $5 off the board.” But he did not. Another student, who was hearing impaired, walked up to the front of the classroom, took the $5 bill and put it in his pocket. J.J. congratulated him and said, “In this life, you have to have the courage to go and get what you want.” That simple lesson proved far more powerful than telling the students what they needed to do.

My daughter was in that class. And after she spent 20 minutes telling me all of the ways that J.J. inspired and motivated them to excel and achieve, I too, came to the conclusion that J.J. was on to something. Isn’t it interesting that J.J. took a subject that some students have negative feelings about, and turned it into a “rock star”?

In the corporate, education, nonprofit and government sectors, folks around the world hate diversity training. I’m just going to put it on the table:  they hate it. Unequivocally. But let’s talk about why the mere mention of the word is detestable.

#1:  The trainer regurgitates information that participants already know.

OK, if you did the same training session for 3 years in a row, it is pretty safe to say, “they got it.” Alternatively, just because the facilitator is new to the field, doesn’t mean that the employees are new to the diversity training experience.

This is where advanced diversity education comes in handy. The field of diversity and inclusion is so immense that you can talk about a different topic each day for an entire year and still have more to educate people about. Every year, Indiana State University holds a diversity retreat for its faculty, staff and community members. A few weeks ago, I did a training session about their competitors’ diversity efforts,  as well as on diversity trends in higher education. It was a fascinating session for me, let alone very interesting for the participants because they contributed their observations, knowledge and backgrounds to the discussion.

#2: The trainer plays ‘games’ that are unrelated to work.

Years ago, I worked at a benefits consulting firm called CGI Consulting Group before it was purchased by Willis. I facilitated over 200 employee benefit meetings– giving workers the bad news: your benefits are changing, your costs are going up and you’re not getting a raise. My boss, who was the office comedian, taught me how to deliver the message so good that when I finished, employees said, “Thank you for such a good meeting!” At one company in Tennessee, things got ugly though. The employees were yelling, throwing things, and mad! It taught me one lesson– never to go back to Tennessee.  I’m joking. When I talked to my boss about it however, he told me, “Here’s where you went wrong. You made light out of a very serious situation. You need to be able to discern when to tell jokes and when not to.”

I share this story to say that in many workplaces, diversity and inclusion is a very serious matter. Certainly, there are exercises that can drive points home but the greater issue is that those exercises must be connected to business goals and training outcomes. This brings me to my third and final point.

#3. The trainer is working to change the minds of his/her participants.

The Houston Chronicle published an article called, “The Purpose of Internal Training for Employees” by Shelagh Dillon. In it, the author asserts that, “the purpose of internal training is to create a motivated, skilled and effective workforce through which organizational goals are achieved.” The problem with most diversity training is that the facilitator is trying to change the minds of participants about diversity and inclusion, and he/she is not trying to change their skills. I believe that if you change someone’s skills, you will change their mind. But the emphasis has to move away from an individual focus toward addressing the bigger picture: how can we, as a cohesive unit, create more opportunity by achieving the organization’s goals? How can we stop contending against one another and vie against a much bigger threat: our external competitors, new technology, and other revolutionary changes within our industry? How can we advance our work with cultural knowledge, skills, and strategies for engaging the best talent and the most customers/students/constituents?

At the end of the day, I think we can all agree that diversity training is necessary. After all, if you get sued, that’s going to be one of the first questions: have you had training recently? But if we are going to get more employees excited about diversity training, we must do things differently– like J.J.

I would love to hear your suggestions about how to create better diversity training experiences.

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Leah Smiley, CDE, is the President of the Society for Diversity. The #1 and largest professional association for diversity and inclusion. For more information about the Society for Diversity, log onto: http://www.societyfordiversity.org. For specific strategies on how to change your diversity training outcomes, get CDE (Certified Diversity Executive ) or CDP (Certified Diversity Professional) credentials from the Institute for Diversity Certification.  Learn more at http://www.diversitycertification.org

What’s Next for Diversity and Inclusion?

By Leah Smiley

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Twitter hoped to capitalize on its surging revenue growth by adding new measurements, engaging its users, and shuffling its executive team. Herein lies the opportunity for diversity and inclusion. First, we must continue to stay abreast of industry trends and changes in our organizational strategy.  Second, we must become better skilled at helping our organizations to understand complex cultural data about different demographic groups that may include our customers, students, constituents, or potential employees. And third, we have to become more adept at engaging new executive leaders– prior to changes at the helm.

Last week was the Society for Diversity’s inaugural leadership conference themed “Planning for the Future”. While it was an adventure, it was certainly power-packed with great speakers and lots of information.  Over the next year, we want to focus on creating diversity and inclusion systems that support each other. For instance, many of us operate in an independent environment. We may not be connected to others within our organizations; we may not be connected to diversity practitioners in our industries; and we may not be connected to other entities that have diversity efforts (e.g., k-12 schools with colleges, with employers, and with the community).

Not only will this be the theme of next year’s diversity conference in Charlotte, but it will also be the primary focus of our efforts leading up to the October 2015 event.

Looking ahead, there are three things that should concern diversity practitioners:  (1) impending U.S. Presidential elections, where it has become en vogue to pit diverse groups vs. traditional groups against each other during campaigns; (2) political and economic instability in several countries overseas; and (3) the restructuring of many diversity and inclusion offices. These external and internal drivers will ultimately impact our work, our vision for inclusion, as well as our ability to obtain desirable outcomes.

Keep in mind, our work ought to manifest characteristics of traditional business functions, while at the same time, balancing change with reliability in results. While the strategy at different organizations will vary, the expectation for results ought to remain the same. I always tell diversity practitioners that their CEO may not ask for an annual report, but one should be prepared and delivered anyway. Because at some point, your CEO is going to talk to another CEO and find out that you were supposed to prepare an annual report. Then the question will arise, why haven’t you done it? What have you been doing? What impact have you had on the organization? And how do you rate in a cost-benefit analysis– does your cost outweigh your benefit?

Within the field of Diversity and Inclusion, there is a tendency to think that we are exempt from demonstrating measurable, quantitative impact. It’s almost an acknowledgement that we were selected for our positions based on factors other than our experience and abilities. Not only does this subtle ‘acknowledgement’ hurt D&I efforts at our organizations, but it also impedes the field as a whole.

As with Twitter, the future of doing business better is change. What’s next for diversity and inclusion is increased accountability and demonstrated excellence in leveraging these changes. It’s up to diversity and inclusion to seize the opportunities and help our organizations to navigate change from a position of cultural competence, financial strength, and competitive advantage. We also must ensure that we don’t neglect to continuously plan for the future.

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Leah Smiley is the President of the Society for Diversity, the #1 and largest professional association for diversity and inclusion. For more information about the Society for Diversity, log onto http://www.societyfordiversity.org

 

Indiana State Approving Agency Approves Institute For Diversity Certification Licensing

The Institute for Diversity Certification (IDC) received its new approval of its licensing exams from the Indiana State Approving Agency. This new approval will allow more veterans and active duty military to participate in the program and be reimburse the cost of the exam once they have passed.

The process for the exams to be approved by the Indiana State Approving Agency was about six months, but it came just in time for the final testing window for 2014, which will take place in November. “Many current military and veterans work within the field of diversity and inclusion, and we are proud to be able to provide this program to them,” stated Ed Burns, Registrar, IDC. “By earning this approval, we hope to see many more candidates for certification earn their designation.

The next opportunity for veterans, active duty military and other diversity professionals to earn their diversity certification is in November, with classes starting in September. Those enrolled have the option to study on their own for the exam, take an eight week online course or a three day intensive classroom based course. The deadline to register is August 22.

The current cost for the program ranges from $600 to $3,000, depending on the type of credential (CDP or CDE) and the preparation method. There is a 20% discount available for members of The Society for Diversity, and the membership cost is $169. Additionally, companies that send three (3) or more employees for certification will receive a 30% discount.

Two components of the program have proved to be extremely valuable for both candidates and the organization’s for whom they work: (1) the study guide and (2) the Candidate Project.  The CDP and CDE study guides are the most comprehensive diversity and inclusion (D&I) resources available today. Not only do they provide the backdrop for diversity and inclusion work, but the 300+ page books furnish step-by-step instructions for how to successfully achieve better D&I outcomes. The Candidate Project must be a recently developed diversity plan, cultural climate analysis, research or evaluation of current D&I efforts. This usable professional work is peer-reviewed and rated on a pass/fail basis only.

Those interested in registering for the November 2014 testing window can apply online or by fax by visiting www.diversitycertification.org. The deadline to apply is August 22, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. EST. The next exam window starts in April 2015.

2014 Diversity Certification Deadline is Quickly Approaching

The last exam window for diversity certification in 2014 will close on August 22nd. Those interested in earning their Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) or Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) credentials this year will need to apply for the November testing window, in which classes will begin in September. This certification is open to anyone in the field of diversity and inclusion, human resources, legal/risk management, marketing, or in an international supervisory position.

Each year the Institute for Diversity Certification (IDC) has four opportunities for those in the field of diversity and inclusion to take classes, pass an exam and complete a project to earn their diversity credentials. These credentials allow them to establish credibility as experts and differentiate themselves from other practitioners. They also indicate achievement and excellence because candidates must pass the online, proctored exam with an 80% or better.

“Those who have earned their credentials can see how they are better able to impact the businesses that they work for,” explains Ed Burns, CDP, Registrar for IDC. “They gain valuable knowledge that they can take back to the workplace and make change happen.”

A certificate is different from certification. With a certificate, individuals usually affirm a certain level of knowledge by taking a class. Certification, on the other hand, is a common practice in many industries where individuals take an exam and obtain credentials to use after their name upon successful completion. Currently, the CDP and CDE programs are unaccredited, however, IDC anticipates receiving its accreditation by the end of this year. Once the accreditation is put in place, the action will be retroactive– meaning that it will be effective for all previous designees as well. While accredited colleges and universities offer diversity and inclusion certificate programs, the way that accreditation works, each program must also be accredited. Therefore, the Institute for Diversity Certification will offer the only accredited diversity and inclusion certification program.  Due to this change, once accreditation occurs, the price of the classes will increase by at least 50 percent.

Roughly 200 candidates have participated in The Institute for Diversity Certification’s (IDC) unique diversity and inclusion education program since 2011. Current designees include representatives from Wal-Mart, Cisco, Cummins, Eli Lilly & Co., Colgate Palmolive, Sodexo, Commerce Bank, Rolls Royce, Mercedes Benz, Hanes Brands, Belk Inc., University of Miami, University of Alabama, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Indiana State University, Federal Reserve Bank, NASA, US Air Force Academy, Missouri Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Health, Teach for America, Goodwill Industries, and more.

“The accreditation process has been a long one, but we are glad that it is finally coming to an end,” stated Burns. “It will be nice to have the accreditation for those who will take the course and exam in the future, as well as for those who already have their designation.”

The current cost for the program ranges from $600 to $3,000, depending on the type of credential (CDP or CDE) and the preparation method. Candidates may self-study, take an 8-week online preparation program, or attend a 3-day intensive classroom-based course. There is a 20% discount available for members of The Society for Diversity, and the membership cost is $169. Additionally, companies that send three (3) or more employees for certification will receive a 30% discount.

Two components of the program have proved to be extremely valuable for both candidates and the organization’s for whom they work: (1) the study guide and (2) the Candidate Project.  The CDP and CDE study guides are the most comprehensive diversity and inclusion (D&I) resources available today. Not only do they provide the backdrop for diversity and inclusion work, but the 300+ page books furnish step-by-step instructions for how to successfully achieve better D&I outcomes. The Candidate Project must be a recently developed diversity plan, cultural climate analysis, research or evaluation of current D&I efforts. This usable professional work is peer-reviewed and rated on a pass/fail basis only.

Those interested in registering for the November 2014 testing window can apply online or by fax by visiting www.diversitycertification.org. The deadline to apply is August 22, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. EST. The next exam window starts in April 2015.

Diversity Certification: A Hybrid Course Offering

By Ed Burns, CDP

As part of the 2014 Diversity Leadership Retreat, the Institute for Diversity Certification, the non-profit subsidiary of the Society, has included on the conference program two learning tracks registrants may attend via a hybrid classroom course.

Reflecting the Institute’s popular programs for diversity practitioners and executives, there will be two separate conference certification tracks, one for the Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) credentials, and the other for the Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) credentials. Those wishing to obtain their CDE credentials will attend class sessions on July 24 during the retreat, while those wishing to obtain CDP credentials will attend classes on July 25. They will not only attend classes, but have the opportunity to attend the keynote presentations, as well as the breakout sessions on the day that they are not taking their respective classes.

In addition to earning CDE and CDP credentials, those who currently have credentials can earn credit hours for continuing education. Each designee is required to complete 60 hours of continuing education every three years after earning credentials in order to keep their credentials up to date.

Along with the study guides and the exam review sessions, registrants who attend the Institute’s learning tracks can earn their valuable credentials with a successful candidate project and an exam score of 80% or higher.

For more information on the 2014 Diversity Leadership Retreat or the Institute for Diversity Certification, visit http://www.societyfordiversity.org.

 

Meet the Institute for Diversity Certification’s Newest CDP and CDE Designees

The Institute for Diversity Certification, a subsidiary of The Society for Diversity, recently announced that 12 executives and professionals earned diversity and inclusion credentials after passing the June exam. These new designees either earned the Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) credential or the Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) credential by scoring 80% or greater on a proctored online exam in June, and completing a candidate project.

Ed Burns, CDP, Registrar for the Institute for Diversity Certification (IDC), stated, “This program has a broad appeal because the skills learned from IDC are useful for diversity and inclusion leaders, as well as anyone else who works in a management capacity or on a global team. Our Candidates work really hard, and I am proud to see so many of them earn their credentials.”

The following executives earned a CDE credential:

• George Braxton, CDE, Esq., Defense Contract Management Agency
• William Coleman, CDE, State of Tennessee
• Dr. Amanda Lords, CDE, U.S. Air Force Academy
• Dr. Salome Nnoromele, CDE, Eastern Kentucky University
• Tiffany Overton, CDE, Rolls-Royce
• Brenda Stevens, CDE, Malone University

The following professionals earned a CDP credential:

• Denise Ammaccapane, CDP, Sodexo
• Alexandra Contreras, CDP, Colgate-Palmolive
• Stacye McCall, CDP, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
• Jaime Penaherrera, CDP, Latino Health and Education Consortium
• Kimberly Powers, CDP, Harris Teeter
• Adewale Soluade, CDP, Commerce Bank

To prepare for the exam, candidates study on their own, participate in an 8-week online class, or attend a 3-day preparation course in the classroom. Many elected to take the online course. “I was very impressed with the framework and structure of the online class,” explained Stacye McCall, CDP. “Each of the instructors was knowledgeable, engaging and allowed time for questions and answers, as well as knowledge sharing.”

“Like so many in the D&I field, my career started elsewhere and gravitated to an area of need for an employer,” said George Braxton, CDE, Esq. “When I realized that I wanted to focus my career in D&I, I also realized that the breadth and depth of the discipline went well beyond talent acquisition and management. After reviewing several certification courses, I determined that the Society for Diversity’s CDE certification was ideal for me to pursue.”

Roughly 200 candidates have participated in The Institute for Diversity Certification’s (IDC) unique diversity and inclusion education program since 2011. Once candidates become designees, they may peer review Candidate Projects or instruct IDC’s online preparation courses. This provides candidates with a much broader perspective from which to view diversity and inclusion—by engaging with experts from the corporate, nonprofit, education and government sectors.

Out of the 12 new designees, one individual scored the highest in IDC history. Adewale Soluade, CDP, Inclusion and Diversity Manager at Commerce Bank, was the recipient of this premier honor. Additionally, Dr. Amanda Lords, Senior Climate and Culture Analyst at the U.S. Air Force Academy, is the first designee to successfully attain both CDP and CDE credentials. Dr. Lords obtained her CDP credentials in December 2012.

“Candidates who obtain credentials will forever reflect their knowledge and expertise in the field of diversity and inclusion to colleagues and managers,” believed Burns.

There is one more opportunity to earn diversity credentials before the end of the year in the November exam window. The deadline to apply is August 22, 2014. The 2015 exam cycle begins in April. For more information on the credentialing process or to apply, visit http://www.diversitycertification.org  or call 1-800-983-6192.

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