Diversity Training at Toys "R" Us, Inc

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Case Details:

Case Code : HROB080
Case Length : 8 Pages
Period : 1998
Pub. Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Toys "R" US, Inc.
Industry : Toys
Countries : USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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The Workforce Diversity Program

TRUI started its workforce diversity program in the late 1990s. The workforce diversity program was a three-day program for managers who had been with the company for at least one year.

Initially, the management found it difficult to discuss diversity with its employees. To overcome the inhibitions of its employees, the management decided to begin the program with LIFO training. The objective of the half-day/full-day LIFO workshop was to improve the communication skills of the employees.

The workshop also aimed to minimize employee resistance and increase acceptance of new ideas, create a non-defensive, open atmosphere, and resolve differences. This was done by asking employees to identify their superiors'/subordinates' communication styles. Then, they were asked to frame orders/requests so that they suited the superiors'/subordinates' communication styles...

The Need for the Program

The TRUI workforce diversity program was necessitated due to factors which were company-specific as well as industry-related.

In the late 1990s, TRUI, which was considered a 'traditionally' run company, began facing high levels of employee turnover; this affected productivity and service levels and pushed costs up as well. This prompted the management to include, among other things, a workforce diversity program for attracting and retaining talent from diverse sections of society (Refer Exhibit II for More Information about Diversity Training).

TRUI as well as other retailers have come to understand the advantages that a diverse workforce can provide in customer service. Sharon Saunders, Vice President and Director of Employment, J.C.Penneys said, "Today, companies are looking to reflect the demographics of the communities they serve...


TRUI's initiatives to provide a congenial environment for the growth and advancement of minorities and women have found appreciation from several quarters. Importantly, the diversity program was believed to have helped the company to keep its attrition rate under check and create a work atmosphere based on understanding, trust, and cooperation...


Exhibit I: Toys "R" Us Financials
Exhibit II: Diversity Training


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