Arts organization says unique workshops encourage meaningful dialogues
BOSTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / October 25, 2021 / In America's long tussle with unemployment, only on rare occasions have there been more jobs than people ready to fill them. But since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the tables have turned, and labor shortages have plagued almost every industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by the end of April 2021, job openings rose to an unprecedented 9.3 million people, a percentage of the workforce not exceeded since Rosie the Riveter last appeared on a WWII poster.
This singular trend has heightened awareness of the benefits of stepping up recruitment in minority sectors where unemployment has traditionally been higher than national averages. Corporations, civic groups, and educational institutions are also aware minority recruitment will be more successful if diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a cornerstone strategy.
A study conducted by McKinsey & Company in partnership with The Society for Human Research Management (SHRM) evaluated the performance of companies with different levels of workplace diversity. They found that organizations that exhibit gender and ethnic diversity are, respectively, 15% and 35% more likely to outperform less diverse peers. The same study found that organizations with more racial and gender diversity bring in more sales revenue, more customers, and higher profits. Simply put, reinforcing robust DEI programs helps foster higher degrees of engagement, productivity, and innovation that contribute to increased revenue.
Although some organizations implement DEI employee workshops, according to Gartner's research, traditional, multi-day workshops are too expensive or simply fall short. Almost two-thirds of the companies polled in the Garner study indicated that only 37% of their DEI workshops met established expectations.
In this evolving field, one approach that has proved to be especially successful was created by beheard.world, a company that provides breakthrough workshops to organizations seeking to advance their workforce strategies. The beheard.world approach integrates live performances and films into the workshop experience. "The power of art lies in its potential to make people feel," says Anna Myer, co-founder, and co-producer of beheard.world, who spent 30 years on stage as a ballerina before becoming a choreographer. "To create change, people need to connect at the emotional level. We have developed a series of performances and films that open peoples' hearts very quickly."
Based on feedback from post-workshop responses, over 95% of workshop participants reported that the workshop created a platform for deep and meaningful exchanges with people of different races and others of the same race. "We noted beheard.world workshops could accomplish more with racially diverse groups in three hours than many more traditional workshops can do in three days," says Dr. Jack Weltner, who oversees a Unitarian Universalist organization in Marblehead, MA.
Brother Lou, a Black minister in Boston who participated in a beheard.world workshop at Emerson College says, "It's a wonderful feeling, as a black man, to be talking to white people who are really wanting to find out what needs to be done and feel what I've been through."
Beheard.world's unique arts-based workshop approach to DEI topics is opening doors to honest conversations about race and inequality. Myer says, "we are dedicated to using our unique creative approach to help Black, White and Brown people come together to eliminate injustice and heal racial divisions in organizational settings"
Beheard.world, founded in 2015, is a group of racially diverse artists who create documentary films, live performances, and workshops that engage communities in essential conversations to advance social justice. Boston-based, beheard.world is a 501(c)3 with a 10+yr history producing a rich array of critically acclaimed performances and film work with artists of widely diverse ages, races, and aesthetic expression. Beheard.world also supports the inner-city artist and grassroots arts organization through creative collaborations. The goal of beheard.world is not simply to be another documentary film company or performing arts ensemble, but rather an organization highly committed to giving original expression to iconic, beautifully told stories that emerge from individuals, communities, and cultures that need to be seen and heard. For more information, visit www.beheard.world.
Jay Paris / Anna Myer