Diversity Training at Toys "R" Us, Inc

            
 
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Case Details:

Case Code : HROB080
Case Length : 8 Pages
Period : 1998
Pub. Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Toys "R" US, Inc.
Industry : Toys
Countries : USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.



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"The culture of the company (Toys "R" Us) was very high in controlling. LIFO Training has helped raise awareness of this fact and has helped us both to select and to retain a more diverse group of employees." 1

- Lisa Walton, Director (Training), BCon LIFO International in 2004.

"Workforce diversity is the bridge between the workplace and the marketplace. And, it is anchored on ideals that guide how you see citizens of all countries as potential customers." 2

- J.T.Childs, Jr. Vice President of Global Diversity, IBM in 2004.

Introduction

In 1999, Toys "R" Us Inc. (TRUI) was awarded the Employer Pride & Excellence Award3 for its unwavering commitment to workforce diversity.

TRUI was one of the few companies worldwide that had included a formal workforce diversity program for its managers and department heads. This training program helped minorities and women employees to prepare themselves for higher levels of responsibility within the organization. The company also followed a 'promote from within' policy which sought to provide opportunities for minority and women employees to rise to important positions in the organization. The company's policy committed it to increasing the percentage of minorities and women in executive and other senior management positions, providing a harassment-free environment, and ensuring that each of the Directors in the Board shared this commitment to diversity and equality.

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Background Note

In 1948, Charles Lazarus (Lazarus) started selling baby furniture in his father's bike store, capitalizing on the post-war baby boom.

Soon, sensing that there was a growing demand for toys, Lazarus added baby toys and toys for older kids to his merchandise. In 1957, he opened the first supermarket in the US dedicated solely to toys and other kid stuff and named it Toys "R" Us. In the ensuing years, four such stores were opened. The stores were a business success, and Lazarus sold them to a company called Interstate for US$ 7.5 million in 1966 under a deal that allowed him to continue managing the business. In 1974, Interstate filed for bankruptcy. Lazarus convinced the bankruptcy judge to let him continue running Toys "R" Us. He took complete charge of the stores and steered them back to profitability. In 1978, Toys "R" Us became a public company - Toys "R" Us, Inc. TRUI was incorporated in the state of Delaware, USA.

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1] Jennifer Matterman, "Toys "R" Us achieves unity in diversity - and a dramatic drop in turnover," www.bcon-lifo.com, 2004.

2] Michael L Wheeler, "Capitalizing on Diversity," www.businessweek.com.

3] Pride & Excellence Awards are presented each year; they are given to honor an individual, a community organization and an employer, who have significantly advanced the principles of equality of opportunity in their different settings. The awards are given by the Kansas, USA-based Project Equality, an organization whose mission is to assist companies achieve workplace equity and diversity in order to advance social and economic justice. (Adapted from www.projectequality.org)

 

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