Diversity Training

November/December 2010

Dear clients,

“My friend, colleague and director at LeMaSa, Sizakhele Mbhele, died on Monday, 15 November 2010. It is a great loss to all of us and it will take me a long while to accept her death. However, Sizi left a legacy of caring, helping and sacrifice of self to the benefit of others. Let us all fondly remember Sizi for what she meant to all of us.

In another vein - Companies need to get people to connect in meaningful ways in a diverse workplace, to guarantee good relationships with customers, suppliers and investors. There is a strong business case for strategically aligned diversity management. Aggressive management of diversity has been shown to offer a substantial return on investment. Innovation comes with diversity - companies cannot expect new ideas to emerge if everyone thinks the same. Diversity management is about building connections across race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, life style and – very importantly – age” (Annelie Gildenhuys). Most companies agree with the above and support their diversity management efforts with diversity training.

In this edition of the LeMaSa Chronicle we include an article by Neal Goodman where he describes some of the aspects that trainers need to consider when doing diversity training. We also include a brief description of the elements of an integrated talent management system, as all of us are addressing some (or all) of those aspects in an effort to ensure our organisations’ success and sustainability.

I hope that you will all have a relaxing break over December and come back to enjoy a rewarding 2011!


Sandra Schlebusch

Diversity Training
Diversity Training

Neal Goodman, (in the December 2010 edition of The Diversity Executive Journal) states that whether we do training internationally or inter-culturally, in-person or virtually, cultural differences can impact a programme’s success. According to Neal, many accomplished instructors have seen their programmes go awry due to ignorance.

Neal describes several examples of common pitfalls, one of which is described below:

An European company sells a telephone system to a Middle Eastern client and is accused of providing insufficient training on the equipment following calls several weeks later alleging technician incompetence. Yet at the end of the training day, the instructor asked each student if he or she understood everything, and all trainees said yes. In many Middle Eastern cultures its unlikely trainees would be willing to stand out and say no when asked if they understood. It would have been wiser for the instructor to either ask the students to practise and demonstrate what they were taught or break them into sma ll groups and assign the groups to come up with questions.

Neal provides some tips and questions to consider when preparing to lead a multicultural training program.

· Recognise how your own implicit cultural assumptions impact your performance and effectiveness as a trainer. Consider: Should you begin with a formal presentation or with a simulation?

· Identify specific situations where misunderstandings are likely to occur in the design and delivery of courses across cultures or other working situations. Consider: Do you want participants of different ranks within an organisation to take the programme together?

· Assess traits and skills with respect to those needed for success in cross-cultural settings. Consider: Do you think the use of humour adds to or detracts from the effectiveness of training?

· Practice culturally appropriate learning and instructional styles and business protocols. Consider: Do you call on people directly or have people respond in groups?

· Adapt existing materials and methods to the participants’ culture. Consider: Are the students more familiar with an inductive or deductive learning style? Are all the examples in the local currency and measurements?

Integrated Talent Management
LeMaSa supports an integrated approach to talent management. Integrated talent management treats talent management processes as a system of interrelated parts that helps organisations to strategically leverage talent. By recognizing the interrelated nature of talent management, organisations are able to better develop, promote, and retain their talent to meet current and future business needs (The Corporate Leadership Council, 2006). LeMaSa designed a framework to depict all the elements of an integrated approach to talent management. This integrated talent management framework© guides all the work that LeMaSa does regarding talent management. This framework is visually depicted as follows: This framework is used in the design of integrated talent management strategies for client organisations. This means that LeMaSa first pays attention to the definition and clarification of the input elements regarding talent management. This entails a thorough study of the following: · The organisation’s strategy · Specific talent challenges for the organisation · Organisational culture and values · Internal and external influences regarding talent management · The organisation’s definition of talent management · The Employment Value Proposition (EVP) · Strategic talent needs/gaps/objectives The establishment of the foundation elements of an integrated approach to talent management follows next. This entails the establishment of workforce planning processes, Competency Frameworks and the talent management strategy. LeMaSa also pays attention to the enabling processes in talent management. This means that senior management commitment is obtained, line manager capacity and HR capacity regarding talent management is built, internal talent communication processes designed and talent review mechanisms instituted. In the next phase the strategies and processes for the various talent levers selected by the organisation is designed and implemented. The various monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for talent management are finally developed and implemented. Many companies have sound business plans, yet struggle to implement an effective talent management strategy. The reason for this might be as a result of the lack of integration regarding talent management efforts. This issue is highlighted by the recent “Talent Management State of the Industry Report” by Talent Management Magazine (www.talentmgt.com). Their survey found that most companies have implemented some talent management initiatives and functions, but only 13% of the respondents indicated that all these efforts are fully integrated. The majority (65%) indicated that talent management is a somewhat integrated process. As a result of this lack of integration, talent management is happening in silos and there is a lack of effective communication and collaboration across talent management functions. As a further result there is often a lack of accountability as there is not a single executive taking ownership for talent management in the company. Many talent management efforts therefore do not achieve the intended results, namely attracting, engaging, developing and retaining the best skills for the business. LeMaSa’s approach can assist in overcoming this important barrier to effective talent management.