Employees: Diversity Programs Unbalanced, Hypocritical

Compiled By Deborah Austin Many U.S. employees -- including members of various minority ethnic groups -- believe corporate diversity programs benefit only blacks, suggests focus group and employee survey research by consulting firm J. Howard & Associates. In a recent J. Howard & Associates survey, 47% of whites, 50% of Asians and Native Americans, and 53% of Hispanics said they think a focus on diversity has helped "only some groups." "What we hear consistently in focus groups is that by 'only some groups' most employees mean African-Americans, and it's widely perceived that diversity efforts help just them," says President and CEO Mike Hyter. But black employees have their own criticisms. Only 37% (versus 62% of whites) believe their management's goals or actions show a real commitment to diversity. The plus side: 84% of black employees and 86% of whites say they understand the benefits of participating in a diverse workplace. J. Howard & Associates is a unit of Boston-based Provant Inc., provider of performance improvement training services and products.

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