Corporate demands for diversity training are undergoing significant changes in 2005 and will continue to evolve into different subsections, as businesses and organizations open their classroom doors and witness discrimination and biases within their own workforce.
DiversityBuilder interviewed Liz Winfeld, a recognized expert in workplace diversity specific to sexual orientation, gender identity, spirituality in the workplace, and diversity for the medical professional. Liz is the author of "Straight Talk About Gays in the Workplace" and "A Trainer’s Guide to Training Tough Topics,"and has performed diversity training for companies such as McDonald’s Corporation, American Express, Mastercard International, Ford Motor Company, Motorola, Kaiser-Permanente, Duke University Medical School, and ChevronTexaco.
DiversityBuilder asked Liz about the rising demand for sexual orientation diversity training among physicians, hospitals and medical staff. Liz commented, "When it comes to sexual orientation, the medical community has a difficult reputation of being a fairly homophobic environment. People studying to be doctors, nurses or other clinicians, who happen to be non-heterosexual, report a preponderance of a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ attitude. It remains interesting to me that a profession that relies on constant updating, progress, and new ways of thinking remains fairly stuck when it comes to issues of human sexuality that affect how we interact with one another and the (quality) of medical care (we receive). Education focused on the medical field relative to these topics can only help to bridge these gaps."
Liz has recently observed an increased demand from corporations for full integration of sexual orientation at work. She commented, "The areas of diversity education that I am seeing get the biggest demand are: fully integrating sexual orientation in the workplace with a particular emphasis on the business case and leveraging diversity for revenue purposes.
According to Liz, other high ranking corporate requests include transgender trends, such as, "Helping organizations be inclusive of gender identity and understanding the ramifications of expanding a policy to include them." Organizations are exploring "the need for having a pro-active transition plan in place should an employee transition from male to female or female to male."
As for spirituality and religion in the workplace, Liz stated, "Spirituality is making a big splash these days. Organizations are being approached to allow things like public displays of devotion, or prayer meetings or Bible to Koran studies during working hours. It presents a huge challenge to ensuring that allowing one person’s manifestation of faith does not negatively impact others.’
For further information on diversity training offered by Liz Winfeld, or to schedule a diversity training needs assessment for your business, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.