An Interview with John Harrity, Managing Partner, Harrity & Harrity, LLP
Many years ago I authored an article entitled “Gender Quake” and it was all about the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings – the first time sexual harassment and gender equity issues entered our living rooms (through TV) and never left. Before these hearings – these issues did not garner attention or coverage, they did not make the newspaper or even local news – not even a blip or a mention. The current political climate and our President is a major contributing factor – a backdrop for this conversation. Now, national, international news and hours of coverage (educating public) on the nightly news and cable is the norm, our new normal.
I have been in the diversity-training field for nearly 20 years and everybody talks about “Diversity Best Practices” today. Well, I think it is time, overdue really, for more conversation and deliberation about Diversity Worst Practices. I suggested this at a recent ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) Diversity Conference and it was very well received and they encouraged me so here goes. I am surprised to find very little in print about this so I am just going to “add to the conversation.” At DTG we tend to be contrarian; we tend to look at issues from many different and often “nontraditional” angles and perspectives. That is really what the diversity field is all about –right? What value do our differences add or bring to the organization.
Editor’s Note: Click for Mauricio’s podcast
I have been in the diversity training field for nearly 20 years and everybody talks about best practices but I feel too many of my colleagues really make it more complicated than it really needs to be and here at DTG we have always tried to make diversity issues and the related training more easy to comprehend and embrace. The prerequisite reading for this article is an article I recently wrote entitled – “Diversity Worst Practices.” Another article that would be helpful to read is our article on our website diversitydtg.com about ineffective or bad diversity training – what I like to call “Blame and Shame” diversity training and please find the related article on what exactly is the definition of a diversity issue. Continue reading Diversity Best Practices – By Mauricio Velásquez
As a Diversity Consultant and Trainer to law firms I am often asked by our clients “help us stop the bleeding.” Firms invest so much in sourcing, recruiting and developing their talented associates and to see them leave prematurely can be disastrous. One of my clients had lost nearly a dozen partners and associates (too many were women, minorities, not all) in a particular practice area in a several week span and they called DTG for help.
Observations and Tips from recent training in the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) trenches (especially hostile or militant audiences)
CURRENT EVENTS – Current events are just “upping the volume, the passion, the conversation in the workshop.” Do not shy away from current events. I do not answer “what do you think about…” questions at first, I deflect to rest of room to get them talking. Do your homework, stay up to date on current events – be ready! Address vacuum, hearsay and gossip with facts. You might have to revisit ground rules more than once. Between Trump, Confederate Flag, Terrorism (domestic and international), Law Enforcement News, shootings, etc., – who can keep up? Well, you have to. I read multiple newspapers and watch multiple news hours every night (I watch all sides, all perspectives). You have to be a historian to do this work correctly.
As a professional who has worked in the D&I field for 25 years, I am seeing some significant emerging trends in the workplace. As a result of an improving economy, previously slashed HR budgets are finally being revitalized with attention being paid to training and development – especially for diversity and inclusion. In addition, as the labor market continues to improve, more employers are talking about becoming an “employer of choice” and strengthening their programs and employee relationships. The days of employers feeling their staff should “just be happy to have a job” are increasingly behind us as the market shifts in favor of employees. Savvy employers who value diversity, widen their recruiting net and retain talent by implementing inclusive programs will win the war for new talent. The newest generation entering the workforce is more diverse than ever and the generation behind it will produce an even more diverse “wave” of new hires. Status quo is no longer applicable.
Toxic employees are trying to “take over” and create toxic workplaces. As a diversity trainer, sexual harassment prevention trainer, consultant, executive coach, and expert witness, for twenty five years now, so much of my work points to one emerging phenomenon – toxic employees, toxic workplaces, are on the rise!
Antonio Velásquez, my immigrant father, who came to this country (legally , you have to say that these days) with nothing, not knowing the language, serving this great country in the military and then eventually, with the GI bill, graduating from college (at age 32) recently passed away. My father lived to see me go to college and graduate, earning a BA and MBA from two great schools, and watched me marry a fabulous woman and have three wonderful children together and start my own firm – The Diversity Training Group. DTG has thrived for nearly 15 years.
Do we have to keep talking about this? Oh, a diversity workshop… why? You are ruining the workplace; we can’t have any fun anymore!” Have you heard these wonderful, welcoming, open, pro-learning comments lately? I had one participant (in front of all of his buddies) recently comment – “This session will probably be about the KKK, right?!” Another participant in the same session said – “This is going to be a total waste of time (in front of HR)!”