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  #1  
Old 05-13-2017, 09:08 AM
Urbanredneck Urbanredneck is offline
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What do you think of sensitivity training?

Some jobs require people to attend sensitivity training. Be it for gender, race, sexual identity, etc... I've had them at my places of work and they mostly were about getting to know other people and their differences.

Now for some people, I have heard stories where they go pretty deep and ask some uncomfortable questions or try to make a person feel "guilty" if they have some "privilege" like being say white, native born, english speaker, or male. Others have said they were tested and had to admit their privileges.

Here is a recent example from a college in California It's #4 on their demands.

I have never encountered this. As I said most of mine were just some general information about differences and frankly it didn't do much to change anyone since by that age, your pretty much set as you are. Sometimes it was also helpful in getting to know other people.

So I would like to ask, what sensitivity training have you gone thru?

Did you find any areas you disagreed with or were uncomfortable?

Do you think they changed anyones minds or helped people to get along better?
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  #2  
Old 05-13-2017, 09:19 AM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is offline
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The company I currently work at celebrates diversity, which is probably why they hired in a fifty-something cis het white guy like me.

I have been through some "sensitivity training" seminars in my time and never had a problem with content or presentation. Since it all rolls back to "don't be a jerk" and "consider that you might not realize you are being a jerk" (with a touch of "you are not the one who decides if you are being a jerk") I'm generally okay.
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  #3  
Old 05-13-2017, 09:34 AM
Evan Drake Evan Drake is offline
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Never had it. The concept sounds hilarious.
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  #4  
Old 05-13-2017, 09:38 AM
AK84 AK84 is online now
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The seminars, at least ones I have attended were very useful. Lots of understanding about cross cultural communication and avoiding misunderstandings.

ETA: I am aware of and have no problems acknowledging my many privileges. And how someone else might not share the same world view if they don't have/have different privileges.

Last edited by AK84; 05-13-2017 at 09:43 AM..
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  #5  
Old 05-13-2017, 10:27 AM
Shodan Shodan is online now
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I've done it twice, both times in a corporate setting. Some of it, both times, was irritating, but no more so than other pointless things I had to sit thru for work. I didn't have to admit my privilege or anything, although I could have if I wanted.

It's like the company feedback forms I get once in a while ("How are we doing?") It is just a way for corporate to make it look like they care. I don't.

I could have spent the time productively getting some real work done, but if corporate wants me to sit thru meetings with some chirpy HR type telling me that diversity is our strength, fine with me. Then I can go back to work in IT where almost everyone is white, Asian, or offshore.

Regards,
Shodan
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  #6  
Old 05-13-2017, 10:35 AM
igor frankensteen igor frankensteen is offline
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The main thing that a lot of people who talk about "sensitivity training" these days need to become aware of, is that it is yet another of those labels that applies to far more than the purely commercialized thing that they hear about others having to go through at a job.

Most "sensitivity training" that takes place in WORK environments, isn't designed to make sure people are actually "sensitive" or aware of the complex nature of humanity. That "sensitivity training" is designed primarily to allow the owners of the workplace to escape responsibility for the possible bad behavior of their employees. Nothing more than that.

ACTUAL sensitivity training, that is, education that allows you to increase your useful understanding of the vast sea of cultural differences in the world and to better integrate your OWN sensibilities in a way that will enhance your own comfort with, and enjoyment of life, is very different.

SOME workplace training sessions are much better than others, because SOME employers are willing to hire people who do the REAL training, rather than just hire someone to say "don't be a jerk, here's a list of things not to say, sign below."
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Old 05-13-2017, 11:20 AM
Channing Idaho Banks Channing Idaho Banks is offline
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The thing that I thing that I took away from mandatory multicultural sensitivity workplace training was that you can't expect to understand how other people will interpret the words that are coming out of your mouth.

Also, if you complain about this kind of harassment, your antagonist may get fired, but you may find yourself out of a job, too, if you're a future lawsuit risk for your employer. No one likes a complainer.
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  #8  
Old 05-13-2017, 02:40 PM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is online now
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Several bosses back, we had one who was heavily into this sort of thing. Not saying there couldn't be worthwhile training out there, but the several sessions we had were worthless.

My impression was that there were a group of speakers out there making coin off of providing training, and they would basically trot out their greeting card presentations on whatever topic was currently in vogue - whether diversity sensitivity or "who moved my cheese?"

And managers were in part assessed by whether or not they ordered such training. Wasn't effective in changing anyone's attitude, but gave the impression mgmt was trying.
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  #9  
Old 05-13-2017, 02:45 PM
Velocity Velocity is offline
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Like most things, I'm OK with it as long as it is consistent and even-handed.


For one example, just to name one: Discourage people from making fun of African-American students on account of origin? Absolutely - such discriminating behavior is wrong. But don't let African-American students look down on someone else because of their origin, either (African-Americans looking down on African Africans is a real thing.)
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  #10  
Old 05-13-2017, 03:47 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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I have had to sit through sexual harassment training many times with several different companies. Didn't work. I still don't know how to do it.

I have had to sit through sensitivity training as well. I suppose they want to teach me what black people are really like despite the fact that I grew up in a town that is roughly half black. Maybe it is the Jews they want to tell me about even though I went to a heavily Jewish university or all about the gays that I used to hang out with. I still haven't gotten any revelations about the secret communications that are supposedly stonewalling us. Silly me, up until then, I assumed that we were all cool.

That said, it isn't a total waste. I take plenty of other types of useless training. It mainly serves as a break from doing any real work.
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  #11  
Old 05-13-2017, 05:01 PM
Stringbean Stringbean is offline
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As long as my opinion as a white male is completely disregarded and shown contempt for merely existing, I'm all for it.
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  #12  
Old 05-13-2017, 07:57 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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Believe me, if I'd ever had to sit through an offensively PC seminar on sensitivity, I'd be mocking it right now.

As it is, I've attended a handful of diversity training sessions. None was useful and all felt like a formality. But none raised my political hackles, and none browbeat me about my white privilege. Most were about general good manners.

Thing is, every office I've ever worked at HAS had a trash talker or two. It would have been so much easier for a manager to tell the offenders "Knock it off or you're fired" than to make everyone waste a day on diversity training.
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  #13  
Old 05-13-2017, 11:15 PM
Odesio Odesio is offline
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Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
Some jobs require people to attend sensitivity training. Be it for gender, race, sexual identity, etc... I've had them at my places of work and they mostly were about getting to know other people and their differences.
I'm one of those "chirpy" HR types Shodan mentions. My company doesn't generally require diversity training though such courses are available for employees to take. If an employee has an issue we might recommend they take the course and their manager will usually require him or her to take it at that point. Our diversity training really boils down to don't be a jerk, be mindful that your experiences aren't universal, and be mindful of what you say.

Quote:
Now for some people, I have heard stories where they go pretty deep and ask some uncomfortable questions or try to make a person feel "guilty" if they have some "privilege" like being say white, native born, english speaker, or male. Others have said they were tested and had to admit their privileges.
Which is absolutely ridiculous and counterproductive. It's going to be tough to promote a diverse workplace when you make some of the employees feel guilty or self-conscious about their background.

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Do you think they changed anyones minds or helped people to get along better?
Very few I would imagine.
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  #14  
Old 05-13-2017, 11:30 PM
Velocity Velocity is offline
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Originally Posted by astorian View Post
Thing is, every office I've ever worked at HAS had a trash talker or two. It would have been so much easier for a manager to tell the offenders "Knock it off or you're fired" than to make everyone waste a day on diversity training.
I wonder if from an HR perspective, maybe one purpose of diversity training is so that employees can't claim that "I wasn't warned" or "Nobody taught me about this," when their job is in jeopardy due to making racial slurs or whatnot.
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  #15  
Old 05-14-2017, 01:38 AM
China Guy China Guy is offline
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I think it is for corporations to cover their ass.

I sat through a gazillion sensitivity trainings at MSFT. I speak 1 Asian language fluently, a second at a basic level, lived in asia for 20+ years and am part of a bi-cultural bi-racial family. Most of the sensitivity stuff is pretty dull and obvious if you have any kinds of multi cultural multi ethnic multi country background. There are plenty of American's that don't though.

We had sexual harassment training. Actually, it was more harassment training overindexed on sexual harassment. It also included inappropriate behavior between managers and manages, age, race, etc. Which I found reasonably useful. Especially if one is moving to the US after 20+ years in countries that have a different "politically correct" standard. Good to know the broad parameters of what is acceptable and what crosses a line.

I sat through I don't know how many female employee empowerment calls. My manager was a woman, my skip level was a woman, about half the team were women, it is a public fact that the salaries between male and female colleagues were very close to equal (depends on the year and usually less than 0.5% deviation), etc. I get that on average in corporate America that kind of parity is not the majority. But it always seemed kinda redundant to sit on a call every month given the above situation.
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  #16  
Old 05-14-2017, 03:32 AM
mikecurtis mikecurtis is online now
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Originally Posted by DrFidelius View Post
"don't be a jerk"
"consider that you might not realize you are being a jerk"
"you are not the one who decides if you are being a jerk" .
that's brilliant!

mc
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  #17  
Old 05-14-2017, 03:47 AM
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is online now
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I had to go to "Unlearning Racism" once. Biggest problem was a white woman who was a lesbian (and made a point of telling us so, more than once), who sucked up really hard to the trainer by putting everyone else down, and acting like she was the only person there who didn't think the confederacy was a great idea, and kept interrupting people to say "So what I hear you saying..." followed by a totally racist false take on whatever thought they had not been allowed to complete.

I don't usually want to hit people, but the urge was strong with this one.

Eventually, everyone else just shut up, and it became a private conversation between her, and the presenter, for whom I had no respect, because she allowed this to happen.

Two frickin hours. Just to be allowed to work as a volunteer.
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  #18  
Old 05-14-2017, 11:05 AM
Clothahump Clothahump is online now
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Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
So I would like to ask, what sensitivity training have you gone thru?

Did you find any areas you disagreed with or were uncomfortable?

Do you think they changed anyones minds or helped people to get along better?
I've been to two training seminars. Both eight hours long. Both a massive waste of time, as agreed by everyone who took the seminars.
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  #19  
Old 05-14-2017, 12:33 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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In some ways, it's a waste of time, because if you don't already agree with respecting diversity, these courses aren't going to persuade you.

One of my old co-workers was a homophobe -- believed that Joe could bring Jack as his "date" to the company picnic, but he should not be allowed to say he was his "husband." "That's forcing your opinion on me."

But he sat through the required course, signed the confirmation, and was very careful where he spoke his opinion. That alone might have justified the training seminar.
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  #20  
Old 05-14-2017, 02:28 PM
GrumpyBunny GrumpyBunny is offline
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Another vote for "corporate CYA bullshit." I sat through a bazillion of them when I worked for a huge health insurance company with a color in its name. Ironically, it didn't help much because people were already pretty stuck in their beliefs about each other's race, gender, religion, and personality since the average employee length of tenure was 10+ years. It was not a flexible bunch, nor one that was open to change or different points of view.

After sitting though a lot of ridiculous "programs", now when I hear "sensitivity training", my brain goes to this scene of Rescue Me.

Oh, and at the most integrated companies I've work for, people aren't being given this bullshit soft-soap "class" stuff. They're expected to work together like civilized human beings for the job. If someone behaves inappropriately, they are talked to privately, quickly, and directly. If the problem continues, they are gone. There is zero bullshit on this issue.
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  #21  
Old 05-14-2017, 02:49 PM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is offline
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Originally Posted by Evan Drake View Post
Never had it. The concept sounds hilarious.
Me neither, and if so, I imagine I'd be kicked out pretty quick.
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  #22  
Old 05-16-2017, 01:57 PM
Urbanredneck Urbanredneck is offline
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After sitting though a lot of ridiculous "programs", now when I hear "sensitivity training", my brain goes to this scene of Rescue Me.
.
That was good. Thanks for sharing.

I remember at one where this white woman presenting said part of her background was African and when questioned why later, said that since humans first came from African, she was part African.
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  #23  
Old 05-16-2017, 03:55 PM
GargoyleWB GargoyleWB is offline
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Another vote for "corporate CYA bullshit..."
Same here. IME, they've always been timed suspiciously soon after discrimination lawsuits, settlements, or auditor reports.
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  #24  
Old 05-17-2017, 11:23 AM
dalej42 dalej42 is offline
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One of the good things about the economic downturn in 2008 was the elimination of of all the chirpy HR waste of time seminars. There was a brief standard sexual harassment video we watched during the first couple of days of onboarding.

My department is pretty isolated from the rest of the floor and, for some employees, they'd better be grateful for that. Leading up to and after the Trump win, the level of inappropriate commentary reached a fever point. But, the average age of the Trumpers is at least 50, so no diversity training is going to do any good.
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  #25  
Old 05-17-2017, 11:31 AM
puddleglum puddleglum is offline
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I went through sexual harassment training once and it was a huge waste of time. I was angry that an unproven accusation could potentially harm a supervisor so easily. I think the reason college protesters always want more sensitivity training is that such programs are job creators for ethnic studies students who have no actual productive skills and waste their college years navel gazing.
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  #26  
Old 05-17-2017, 04:24 PM
dalej42 dalej42 is offline
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I went through sexual harassment training once and it was a huge waste of time. I was angry that an unproven accusation could potentially harm a supervisor so easily. I think the reason college protesters always want more sensitivity training is that such programs are job creators for ethnic studies students who have no actual productive skills and waste their college years navel gazing.


Isn't it more likely that college students, especially at good colleges, see more education as the answer to everything? Most of these students have spent their entire lives in school and haven't yet discovered life in the corporate world.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  #27  
Old 05-17-2017, 06:07 PM
monstro monstro is online now
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I've never been in one. Just like anything, I imagine that some of them are wastes of time while others are useful. I think just being able to learn the prevailing wisdom of proper workplace etiquette has the potential to be educational, given the fact that we all have different notions of etiquette in general.

For instance, I believe that people should be addressed by their formal name unless they let everyone know to call by them a nickname. No matter how long and foreign-sounding a name is, you should not shorten it or come up with a nickname without the permission of the name-bearer. I believe it is disrespectful to do otherwise, especially if the name-bearer is in a position of authority. But not everyone shares this belief. They believe that nicknames are a way of maintaining informality and expressing friendship. I don't think there is anything wrong about giving people a moderated forum to talk about this kind of social pet peeve and others. You gotta wonder about the reasonableness of someone who continues to nickname his coworkers after having people explain why they are bothered by this kind of activity.
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  #28  
Old 05-17-2017, 06:15 PM
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is online now
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I've never been in one. Just like anything, I imagine that some of them are wastes of time while others are useful. I think just being able to learn the prevailing wisdom of proper workplace etiquette has the potential to be educational, given the fact that we all have different notions of etiquette in general.

For instance, I believe that people should be addressed by their formal name unless they let everyone know to call by them a nickname. No matter how long and foreign-sounding a name is, you should not shorten it or come up with a nickname without the permission of the name-bearer. I believe it is disrespectful to do otherwise, especially if the name-bearer is in a position of authority. But not everyone shares this belief. They believe that nicknames are a way of maintaining informality and expressing friendship. I don't think there is anything wrong about giving people a moderated forum to talk about this kind of social pet peeve and others. You gotta wonder about the reasonableness of someone who continues to nickname his coworkers after having people explain why they are bothered by this kind of activity.
Oh, man. When I first moved to Indiana, I decided to go by Rebecca, because I thought Hoosiers might not deal with "Rivkah" well. I found out that 1 out of five Hoosiers calls you "Becky" without asking if that is actually what you go by, when your name is Rebecca. I hate the name "Becky." I switched back to Rivkah ASAP.
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  #29  
Old 05-17-2017, 06:46 PM
Yllaria Yllaria is offline
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Besides the sexual harassment classes, the only sensitivity training we've had were those classes that say there are four types of people and each kind reacts differently. A very basic, 'not everyone is exactly like you' kind of class.

What the four types are is different, depending on the program. There's always the Director and the Socializer. Other titles can be Thinker, Conciliator, Creative, etc. The basics seem to be you're either introverted or extroverted (or forceful/not forceful), and either fixated on people or fixated on things/processes.

I'd say the main value is for the few people who had never before considered that other people might be motivated by things that don't motivate them.
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  #30  
Old 05-18-2017, 06:34 AM
JcWoman JcWoman is offline
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Most are a waste of time and money, I agree. I remember the sexual harrassment training I once had to attend many years ago where all my male coworkers were made to feel like closet rapists. It was like if they hadn't raped anyone, it meant they just haven't gotten around to it yet. So offensive.

On the other hand, I had a cultural diversity class once that was actually pretty good. They broke us up into two groups with different cultures and each team was not informed about the other's culture.

One group had to develop their "culture" that was based on relationships and family. The social rule was never to ask a direct question and you always had to ask about family for ten minutes or so before discussing any other topic. If you offended someone you were shunned.

The other group had a very direct "culture" and leaned heavily on a money/token trade system. If someone liked you or what you were saying or doing, they'd hand you a coin. You could trade coins for products or services or favors. If you had a lot of coins, you had status in the society. If you offended someone you were yelled at.

After giving us about 30 minutes to get used to our societies, they mixed us up. It was interesting how much conflict that caused and how difficult it was to figure out what the other culture's rules were just by mixing. Lots of shunning and yelling and hurt feelings.

Last edited by JcWoman; 05-18-2017 at 06:36 AM..
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  #31  
Old 05-18-2017, 03:22 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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By nature, I'm an introverted nerd. By background, I'm a nice Catholic boy whose parents were big on manners. So, it has NEVER been my way to talk trash, to engage in sexual innuendo or risque banter at work.

That said, at every place I've ever worked, there have been men who DID so. Did I stand up to them and tell them to stop? No, because the women they chose to harass seemed genuinely to LOVE it!

There are SOME men who can say crude, disgusting things and get away with it. Women who would DEFINITELY slap me and report me to HR if I said anything out of line would laugh heartily at trash talk from SOME other males.

Now, if and when men DID make a nuisance of themselves, I'd rather the boss just call them on the carpet, and either chew them out or fire them. Why put ME through a seminar when I already have plenty or real work to do?
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  #32  
Old 05-18-2017, 06:42 PM
snowthx snowthx is offline
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At my company we are required to take a CBT annually that deals with professional conduct (which includes the areas of sexual harassment and cultural sensitivity). As already stated, no one learns anything new, but corporate gets to check that off their list of to-dos in avoiding lawsuits.

They also have a number of networking groups set-up for employees based on race, background, LGBT status, Vet status, etc. Of course there is not one of these groups for people like me, but "everyone is invited" to participate. Right.
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  #33  
Old 05-19-2017, 12:23 PM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
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My big question about all this stuff is there a shred of evidence it actually works?

Sexual and racial harassment are clearly awful things that still happen fairly regularly in many companies.

But is there any evidence at all that spending billions of dollars (both directly on the materials themselves and the cost of the time spent taking them) has done anything at all to stop anyone from being harrassed?

I realize the rate of harassment (per-capita) may well have decreased since they were first introduced, but I'd argue that is because western society has become slightly less racist and sexist in that time, not that they had any effect.

Has anyone shown a causal relationship between sensitivity training of any kind, and an actual reduction in harassment?
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  #34  
Old 05-19-2017, 01:48 PM
Damuri Ajashi Damuri Ajashi is offline
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I had a partner that had an affair with an associate. We all had to take sexual harassment training which basically amounted to "don't hit on the employees no matter how receptive they seem. I can't believe I have to explain this to you shitheads"

I also recall some diversity training, which frankly seemed like a lesson in "diversity" buzzwords and how/when to use them.
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  #35  
Old 05-19-2017, 09:50 PM
snowthx snowthx is offline
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Originally Posted by griffin1977 View Post
My big question about all this stuff is there a shred of evidence it actually works?

Sexual and racial harassment are clearly awful things that still happen fairly regularly in many companies.

But is there any evidence at all that spending billions of dollars (both directly on the materials themselves and the cost of the time spent taking them) has done anything at all to stop anyone from being harrassed?

I realize the rate of harassment (per-capita) may well have decreased since they were first introduced, but I'd argue that is because western society has become slightly less racist and sexist in that time, not that they had any effect.

Has anyone shown a causal relationship between sensitivity training of any kind, and an actual reduction in harassment?

I don't think companies that do this really care if it is effective; all they care about is avoiding costly lawsuits. If they can show that the everyone took the training, and some dimwit still harassed someone, then the company is off the hook and the consequences are born solely by the dimwit.
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  #36  
Old 05-19-2017, 11:08 PM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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Originally Posted by griffin1977 View Post
My big question about all this stuff is there a shred of evidence it actually works?
Harvard Business Review: Diversity Training Doesn’t Work

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A study of 829 companies over 31 years showed that diversity training had “no positive effects in the average workplace.” Millions of dollars a year were spent on the training resulting in, well, nothing. Attitudes — and the diversity of the organizations — remained the same.

It gets worse. The researchers — Frank Dobbin of Harvard, Alexandra Kalev of Berkeley, and Erin Kelly of the University of Minnesota — concluded that “In firms where training is mandatory or emphasizes the threat of lawsuits, training actually has negative effects on management diversity.”
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  #37  
Old 05-21-2017, 10:45 PM
ssgenius ssgenius is offline
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The best part of the sensitivity training I took was that it gave me a lot of new insults and trash talk that I could use to annoy my co-workers

The other thing that I got from it was "Don't be a jerk" as others had mentioned.

The other thing that I noticed from the sensitivity training is that among these "supposed disadvantaged groups", they were the most insensitive to each other within the group.
What I am getting at is if is I called a black person a "Nigger", even in joking matter, it would not be taken very well. However is one black person called another black person a "nigger", again in joking matter, it would a lot more acceptable.

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  #38  
Old 05-28-2017, 05:34 AM
GrumpyBunny GrumpyBunny is offline
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Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
That was good. Thanks for sharing.
Part II, which I couldn't find before.

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I remember at one where this white woman presenting said part of her background was African and when questioned why later, said that since humans first came from African, she was part African.
Oh....did she get facepalmed out?
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  #39  
Old 05-30-2017, 09:27 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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That is a remarkably misleading article, at least where it describes the findings of that study. The study showed that diversity training did not increase the number of minorities in management. It said nothing about the general impact of diversity training in the workplace.
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  #40  
Old 05-30-2017, 09:42 AM
DCnDC DCnDC is offline
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My company makes everyone complete the same silly "training" programs every year. Sexual harassment, workplace violence, conflicts of interest, HIPAA. It's exactly the same corporate training program every single year, with even the same quiz attached to each. I just printed and filed away the answers from the first time and break it out when that time of year rolls back around.

I get nothing out of any of them. It all pretty much boils down to common sense and "don't be a jerk." And there's actually not any real reason I have to take the HIPAA training aside from the company insisting everyone take it; my job does not involve handling anyone's medical records, ever.

It's really just a checkbox for HR and the legal department.
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  #41  
Old 05-30-2017, 03:34 PM
Urbanredneck Urbanredneck is offline
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That is a remarkably misleading article, at least where it describes the findings of that study. The study showed that diversity training did not increase the number of minorities in management. It said nothing about the general impact of diversity training in the workplace.
Well how could one exactly "prove" such a thing? Polls? Come on. Everyone lies on those.

Now, after saying that. Just let me walk around a workplace for a few days, check out the break areas, watch people interact, and I can tell you which places have racial problems.
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Old 05-30-2017, 04:07 PM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is offline
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I suspect my experiences have been in a really different context than most workplaces. I'm a social worker, so arguably just the very act of attending graduate school for social work was a two-year long sensitivity class. I don't at any point recall feeling guilt when I became more aware of my privilege. How can you feel guilty for something you have no control over? The only way guilt might come into it is if you have to face the fact that you've personally done some things to exacerbate the problem, which can happen. People really don't like to face unpleasant truths about themselves.

Learning about privilege made me feel kind of liberated, actually, but I'm really influenced by Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed and he talks a lot about how we've all got ways in which we're oppressed and in which we are inclined to oppress. The way I think of it is not really an ''either/or'' proposition. I'm a straight white person who had access to good education - privilege. I'm a woman with an extensive trauma history who was relatively poor growing up, and I suffer from a biologically based mental illness. Not so much privilege. It's not a competition or anything, just a paradigm for understanding how the assumptions we make about other people's life experiences could really present an obstacle to them in certain contexts. It's good not to be shitty to people just because you don't understand where they are coming from and how the kinds of problems they face might be really different from yours.

So I've been in nonprofit work for years and this kind of talk is not new to me. I not only have attended workplace multicultural trainings, I conducted an anti-racism training as part of a required graduate school project, which placed me in the difficult position of explaining to wealthy Jewish people that there were systemic inequalities in society and within the organization. In retrospect I would have taken a different approach, but I was pretty green.

At my current place of business, which is a nonprofit for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, sensitivity training isn't an occasional thing you do but an expression of shared values. We have a committee that meets regularly, is composed of diverse staff, to look at the ways in which our workplace policies and approaches may perpetuate inequality. This includes things like improving services for the hard of hearing, people who may not speak English, and those in the LGBT community, as well as looking at obstacles employees might be facing too. We also look at how we relate as an organization to the community. I'm on the Development Team of my org and we have started a conversation about ''donor-centric'' vs. ''community-centric'' fundraising and how we might apply it to our work. I'd be hard-pressed to call this sensitivity training, as it is such an ingrained part of the organization's culture and is enthusiastically voluntary.

I don't think it is bullshit at all, but I think there are ways it can be done really badly. Putting people on the defensive or acting as if privilege is a black or white issue, something you either have or don't have, is not helpful or effective.

I have no idea about the impact of such training on workplaces, but I can tell you that our Prevention Education team does systemic multi-session trainings in schools surrounding primary prevention of intimate partner violence and sexual assault, and we have preliminary evidence that this has reduced the incidence of these things. The focus is not on lecturing people not to rape, but on pushing students to question the assumptions they're making, teaching bystander intervention techniques and discussing ways students can contribute more positively to the culture within the school. The response from the students and faculty has been overwhelmingly positive. I had the pleasure of seeing the Prevention Ed team in action during orientation and they are truly something special, and particularly skilled at what they do.

Last edited by Spice Weasel; 05-30-2017 at 04:08 PM..
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  #43  
Old 05-31-2017, 09:43 AM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igor frankensteen View Post
Most "sensitivity training" that takes place in WORK environments, isn't designed to make sure people are actually "sensitive" or aware of the complex nature of humanity. That "sensitivity training" is designed primarily to allow the owners of the workplace to escape responsibility for the possible bad behavior of their employees. Nothing more than that.
This is it in a nutshell. You'd like to think that the people you hire have some sort of common sense but that's not always the case. And all it takes is one stupid employee saying the wrong thing to one person and suddenly you have litigation happy people.
Look at the recent case where a grade school teacher though it would be humorous to give kids labels like "most likely to become a terrorist". You get a pissed off parent and they're likely to sue the school district.
The cost of an annual training for your employees in the hopes that it may prevent even one lawsuit is pennies compared to how much that lawsuit might cost.
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