This Month Only! >> $20 off and a FREE SHRM tote with your membership and code TOTE2018!
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 12 cities across the U.S. this spring.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
"Little Miss Sunshine," "The Great Debaters" and the biography "Frida" are three very different movies with a common thread—all have prompted lively discussions about diversity for employees who participate in the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) “Diversity Film Society.”
SHRM’s Diversity Action Committee (DAC) initiated the movie group to promote diversity education beyond the typical training session, according to Eric Peterson, Diversity and Inclusion manager at SHRM.
“Diversity [education] doesn’t have to be a one-time thing. It can be a recurring event,” Peterson said. “And discussion groups like this often show people that diversity messages are all around them,” he said. “People of different backgrounds will see the exact same [movie] scene and take completely different messages from it.”
In "Little Miss Sunshine," for example, “the women in the group so identified with this little girl” who wants to participate in a beauty pageant but deep down fears she isn’t pretty enough.
Other characters include a gay uncle and a person with a physical disability.
“There is this real message that’s constantly being snuck in: I’m not who you think I am, or I am who you think I am and I want to be something you don’t expect of me,” Peterson said. The movie portrays what it is to be different on a macro level, he added.
DAC initiated the film society in spring 2009. Its fourth selection, "Far From Heaven," was scheduled to be discussed in November 2009.
Employees receive notification of the upcoming film discussion and are encouraged to rent and watch the selection at home and then participate in a one-hour lunchtime discussion held at SHRM headquarters on a given date. A dial-in number is provided for employees working remotely. One employee called from Florida during the "Frida" discussion, Peterson said, and discussions have attracted from 10 to 15 employees.
Unlike some book clubs where participants use a reading guide when they delve into a selection, the DAC film society has a more relaxed approach. Knowing that they will be discussing the film is preparation enough for participants, according to Peterson, who noted that “they already had their antennae up a little bit.”
Peterson or another SHRM employee with a diversity background leads the discussion. While the moderator is prepared with a list of questions from which to spur conversation, the discussion is not limited to those questions.
He advises organizations to be sensitive to content and movie ratings when making movie selections for employee discussion, and to include a comedy in the mix.
“You can do this very, very cheaply,” he said, and a film society is an example of how a diversity initiative can be a recurring event. A discussion group like this one “teaches diversity lessons, but also teaches employees to become savvier as media consumers, to pay more attention to the messages they’re given,” Peterson said.
In the trailer for "Little Miss Sunshine," for example, there is a clip showing the family racing frantically back to the gas station where they have left the little girl, Olive.
The bright yellow van careens toward her and the door slides open and hands reach toward her as Olive jumps inside while her father shouts frantically, “no one gets left behind, no one gets left behind!”
Kathy Gurchiek is associate editor for HR News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies