The state of Michigan’s Office of Retirement Services, located in East Lansing, wanted to educate every employee to be as diverse as the 800 public employers it serves on a daily basis.
The retirement office services the state’s public employees on matters of retirement benefits and related health care plans. And with the need to be receptive to customers’ diverse backgrounds, as well as the increasing scrutiny of public retirement benefits, the organization needed training to provide an engaged workforce ready to tackle such forces.
The answer was Power of Perspectives, a seven-hour workshop based on the work of Steve Robbins of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Through case studies and other exercises, the workshop provided employees with insights on how to become more open-minded to new people and ideas, among other diversity-awareness traits. A 2012 survey after the training showed increased levels of awareness on themes set out to address prior to the training.
For its innovative learning and development program, the state of Michigan is the winner of the silver Optimas Award for Training.
Frank Kalman is a Workforce associate editor. Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Kalman on Twitter at .
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of employers served by the state of Michigan’s Office of Retirement Services as employees. The retirement services office serves more than 800 public employers and 580,000 public employees.