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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.

17 mins ago - Health

U.S. exceeds 100,000 COVID-related hospitalizations for the first time

People wait outside the Emergency room of the Garfield Medical Center in Monterey Park, California on Dec 1. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images

More than 100,200 Americans were hospitalized as of Wednesday due to the coronavirus for the first time since the outbreak began in early 2020, per the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The milestone comes as health officials anticipated cases to surge due to holiday travel and gatherings. The impact of the holiday remains notable, as many states across the country are only reporting partial data.

4 hours ago - Science

The "war on nature"

A resident stands on his roof as the Blue Ridge Fire burned back in October in Chino Hills, Calif. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP

Apocalyptic weather is the new normal because humans are "waging war on nature," the UN declared on Wednesday.

What they're saying: "The state of the planet is broken," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, reports AP. “This is suicidal.”