Integrating Diversity Management Into Organizational Processes

Reversing Discriminatory Practices

NRO was in trouble. Some divisions had experienced class-action discrimination lawsuits. One of its hardest-hit divisions faced a union work stoppage and lock-out. In a bid to get ahead of these issues, rather than continuously playing catchup, corporate leadership initiated the development of a diversity management initiative and linked it to NRO’s mission, vision and core values.


NRO received just-in-time education, training and practice sessions at division and store levels on the application of a process for holding difficult conversations. The session also included ways to address the challenges leaders feared would arise when locked-out employees returned to work.

  • Beginning at the top of the organization, corporate leaders developed a clear understanding of the craft of diversity management and a given a common diversity management framework around which to plan their process going forward.
  • NRO developed a diversity management infrastructure (Leadership Council) which included establishing of working councils, affinity/networking groups for underrepresented populations and under-leveraged work groups, and a consistent metrics template for each division to gauge their individual efforts on their quarterly business reviews.
  • Hourly employees were given skill development training through eLearning.
  • A representative division was selected to undergo an organizational assessment, the results of which were used to develop an organization-wide diversity management strategy and plan.
  • A pilot application project using the Store Council in one region was introduced to apply the strategic diversity management process to a store turn-around project. A diversity management curriculum was developed for all levels of the organization.


As a result of the practice sessions, managers felt prepared for the expected return-to-work issues and reported a significantly easier transition than they had anticipated. Throughout the organization, a consistent framework (Strategic Diversity Management Process™) was used to manage diversity challenges by business unit.

NRO revenue levels returned to normal three weeks before anticipated, far ahead of schedule.
On-going actions included:

  • Monthly communications in the form of a “best in class” newsletter that was deployed across the corporation and tied diversity to business, provided updates on progress/activities, corporate calendar, events and holiday observances.
  • NRO trained all store directors in diversity management through application and goal setting.
  • The program was adopted by, and offered through their Corporate University.
  • Diversity management was integrated into values, training and corporate communications, and built into their performance reviews.