Monday, May 21, 2001

Daily Grind

Diversity training pays off

        Lynn Meyers, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati producing artistic director, and her troupe of eight performers found a stage last week at a Diversity Leadership Conference.

        The troupe also found an appreciative audience of human-resource professionals from Greater Cincinnati at the event sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Human Resources Association.

        By acting out roles from life, the group showed how insensitivity can lead to hurt feelings. It was the first conference for the group, which has performed at schools and companies for 15 years. Actors played the role of surly bosses, harried parking-lot attendants and insensitive store clerks.

        Some of the scenes — such as when a young African-American man spun the brim of his baseball cap backward on his head and tried to get waited on at a store — resonated through the Sharonville Convention Center.

        The audience was rapt as one disturbing vignette followed another. Sometimes it was as quiet as an empty church, though the room was standing room only. The mission is simple, Ms. Meyers said. “There are many times when you just can't make a quick judgment.”

Health insurance

        Companies are committed to providing health care insurance for employees, but most employers believe the best way to control rising costs is to offer more choices to individuals.

        The survey from Towers Perrin, a global-management consulting firm with offices in Cincinnati, found that consumerism - individual responsibility and decision-making - offers the best hope of slowing the rise.

        Insurance premiums are expected to increase by 13 percent this year.

        About one in eight companies indicated they would switch to more passive roles for health insurance coverage within the next two to three years as a strategy to contain costs.

        Companies have been reluctant to shift costs to employees because company-sponsored health care is a valued recruiting tool, the survey found.

Hide the tattoo

        There must be something strange and unnerving about all those tattoos — think Mighty Mouse, a rose or butterfly, definitely not Mom — that can make a manager mighty nervous. reports that more than half of the managers who responded to their recent Web survey of 500 people about attitudes toward tattoos came to a clear consensus:

        They don't like them.

        Managers were less likely to hire someone with a visible tattoo or body piercing, and some respondents believed inked or punctured skin put a damper on careers. About one of five workers believed a tattoo or non-ear body piercing chilled their career.

        About one in four managers thought that a tattoo or piercing hurt their promotion or prospects for more money.

        The survey also indicated that more workers than managers had non-ear body piercings or tattoos - 52 percent versus 44 percent.

        Thinking about getting one? Maybe think again.

        When asked if their opinion of a person would be raised or lowered from a visible tattoo or body piercing, 42 percent of managers indicated their opinion would slide and 10 percent said they've had to discipline workers because of a tattoo or piercing.

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