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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Protests in the aftermath of George Floyd's death have started conversations about racism in workplaces across America and prompted companies to bring in educators and experts to lead trainings.

Yes, but: These trainings often fail to bring about the necessary transformation.

The big picture: The U.S. spends $8 billion on diversity training every year, per McKinsey, but racism persists in corporate America. Too often, these workshops are one-off events that cannot address structural issues or change mindsets, experts tell Axios.

What they're saying: "The data in sociology show pretty conclusively that these trainings do not work," says Adia Harvey Wingfield, a professor of sociology at Washington University in St. Louis.

  • More training does not lead to increased hiring of employees of color or better representation in leadership roles.

In fact, diversity training — when conducted as one-time sessions — can actually have negative effects on company culture.

  • "The positive effects of diversity training rarely last beyond a day or two, and a number of studies suggest that it can activate bias or spark a backlash," Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev write in the Harvard Business Review.
  • "Often these trainings instill frustration and resentment in the people who are required to attend," says Wingfield. And Black workers or other workers of color often feel that the initiatives are neither genuine nor capable of addressing underlying problems, she says.

The bottom line: "It's an easy way to do something without doing a lot," Wingfield says. "It takes a lot more time to think about the hiring practices, the organizational structures or the everyday things that are happening."

Go deeper: Diversity and inclusion training goes home with workers

Go deeper

Sep 15, 2020 - Economy & Business

Exclusive: Facebook invests $5 million in newsroom diversity efforts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook is investing $5 million in programs for newsrooms of color and entrepreneurial journalism, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: The investment comes amid tensions between Facebook and civil rights leaders over the prevalence of hate speech and misinformation on its platform.

2021 economy boomed at fastest rate in 37 years

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

The U.S. economy surged ahead with a 6.9% annual growth rate in the final months of 2021 and achieved the strongest growth over an entire calendar year since 1984.

Driving the news: New GDP numbers from the Commerce Department show a remarkable acceleration in economic activity, much faster than the 5.3% growth rate analysts expected.

The Fed isn't the only problem investors are worried about

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Federal Reserve will be raising rates, just as the economy is slowing. The markets hate that.

Why it matters: The ugly start to the stock trading year doesn't just reflect Fed-induced agita — investors are also worried about a growth slowdown.