If you’ve long planned to boost efficiency in your practice but never quite got around to it, perhaps a new study from the University of Arizona will motivate you. According to the study, employee involvement programs aimed at increasing efficiency also can do wonders for a company’s diversity.
Researchers, analyzing data from more than 800 companies for the study, found that the the availability of self-directed work teams and cross-training programs correlated with women’s and minorities’ access to management.
According to the study, these programs work in favor of women and minorities in two ways: First, they allow employees to meet new people, participate and express their views, and earn responsibilities within the company. Second, they allow talented workers to interact more closely with superiors who can mentor them and recommend them for job openings.
More than 40 percent of mid-size and large employers in the United States have adopted self-directed work teams and cross-training programs, according to the study, which was published in the American Journal of Sociology. Cross-functional teams include workers from different jobs who collaborate on projects within a company. Cross training allows employees to learn various jobs so they can perform their own tasks better and help others when necessary.