CASE STUDY :
DIVERSITY AT TOYS
‘R’ US INC.
About TOYS ‘R’ US, INC. ……
TOYS ‘R’ US, INC. is the world's leading toy and baby products retailer , offering its
customers a differentiated shopping experience through its brands.
It currently sells a merchandise in nearly 1,550 stores including 847 Toys ’R’ Us and Babies
‘R’ Us. Stores in the United States and nearly 700 international stores in more than 30
countries, consisting of both franchised and licensed outlets.
A MESSAGE ON DIVERSITY FROM TOYS“R”US, INC. CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE
OFFICER, GERALD L. STORCH :
Excellence through diversity is more than just a philosophy at Toys“R”Us, Inc. – it is a core
component of how we play to win, achieve business results and distinguish ourselves as
an employer of choice. Our commitment to diversity includes embracing both similarities
and differences in our customers, employees and suppliers. As a company that operates
in many different markets worldwide, our employee base includes people of diverse
backgrounds, cultures, religions, ages and lifestyles – and we value those differences.
We recognize that diversity encourages creativity and innovation, and by taking
advantage of a wide variety of perspectives and experiences, we are able to be more
creative and ensure we are meeting and exceeding the needs of our customers.
Our performance-based culture encourages open communication and learning from
each other, and by sharing our varied experiences, we can collaborate more
effectively, which strengthens our ability to succeed.
We believe that a great workplace includes colleagues who share their knowledge and
experiences, listen actively and demonstrate mutual respect. By cultivating an
environment that empowers our employees to incorporate diversity into all aspects of
our business, we can continue to create a competitive edge that benefits our
customers and supports our mission of being the world’s greatest kids brand
Gerald L. Storch
Evolution of Toys ‘R’ Us, Inc. ……
• In 1948, Charles Lazarus, a visionary of his time, started selling baby furniture in a small
store of his father, catering to the post-war baby boom era.
• Sensing a growing demand for toys, Lazarus added baby toys and toys for older kids into
his merchandise and in 1957, opened the first supermarket in the US dedicated solely to
toys and kid stuff and named it TOYS ‘R’ US. He took the complete charge of the stores
and ran them single –handedly and steered them to profitability.
• In 1978, Toys ‘R’ US became a public company - Toys ‘R’ Us, Inc. TRUI was incorporated
in the state of Delaware, USA.
• Within years TRUI expanded its operations and made its presence felt in various
locations. Also TRUI launched many websites to offer a wide range of products like
baby furniture, infant care products, clothing, toys, video games, gifts etc. to its
Toys ‘R’ Us, Inc. settled the name with a backward ‘R’ . Although the name drew a lot of
fire from parents and teachers for the grammatical error, but Lazarus knew that this was
surely an attention seeker.
The “R” Team – growing and developing the employees by cultivating a great place
to work culture that fosters teamwork and collaboration, is based on trust and
respect, draws on the diverse perspectives and experiences of their employees and
encourages inclusion of all.
At Toys“R”Us, Inc., it is believed that by being rapid, real, reliable and
responsible, they will best serve their
customers, employees, shareholders, communities and kids!
• Rapid: They believe that speed is a reflection of their culture. Their team
is focused and clear with common, user-friendly processes and solutions; fast
and urgent in decision-making and speed-to-market; and quick in adapting to
• Real: Their team is urgent, sincere, authentic, helpful to work with
and confident. T hey are “Playing to Win!”
• Reliable: Being reliable means working as a team so everything can move
faster. They are a company that is dependable, and we produce what we
• Responsible: They believe that honesty, integrity and compassion are the
foundation upon which they work together and conduct their
business. Keeping kids safe is a cornerstone of the brand.
THE WORKFORCE DIVERSIY PROGRAM…..
TRUI started its Workforce diversity program in late 1990s. The program was scheduled
over three days and was conducted for the mangers who were associated with TRUI for
over an year.
Life Orientation (LIFO) workshops were aimed at improving the communication skills of
the employees, minimize employee resistance, increase acceptance of new ideas, create
an open atmosphere and resolve differences. This was done by formulating the
communication styles according to the suitability of the employees. The program trained
the employees on how to secure support from their superiors/peers/subordinates.
With improved communication, the workforce diversity program became easier to
The program was taken up in three different sections and each section had its own aims
and objectives to improve the workforce diversity:
• The initial stage of the program was focused towards ’managing differences’ at the
workplace. It was explained that how organizational culture, assumptions and
differences can impact the performance of the employees at different levels. The
issues affecting women and minorities were also explained. This stage of the program
sought to make the employees aware about the various cultural differences and
provided them with the skills to manage those differences.
• The second stage of the program focused on the minority employees
and how they can adapt their behavior according to the
organizational culture without losing out on their uniqueness.
• The final stage of the program encouraged the employees to create a
positive work environment. The employees were taught to work
together with responsiveness, trust and flexibility.
• Over the years the program has helped the TRUI reduce its employee
turnover and has also given some unexpected boost in terms of
internal communication and performance.
WHY WORKFORCE DIVERSITY PROGRAM
Workforce diversity program was needed because of the following
• For attracting and retaining talent from diverse sections of the
• To help the organization smoothly operate in diverse markets.
• To help provide the company a competitive advantage in selecting
• To cater to the different needs of diverse customer base.
• To help improve employee morale and also help the employees
build strong relationships with each other.
• To incorporate dynamism in the organization and develop a
congenial environment for growth.
• To encourage fair and equal treatment to minorities and women
and their inclusion into the workforce.
• To create a work atmosphere based on understanding, trust and
cooperation and pull down the attrition rate.
BRAIN CHURNING SESSION
Q1. Was it necessary for TRUI to include diversity training in its training
A. Yes, It was necessary for TRUI to include diversity training in its training program
due to factors which were company specific as well as industry related .
TRUI had started understanding the advantages that a diverse workforce can provide
in customer service.
• Also TRUI was facing high level of employee turnover, affecting the productivity and
performance of the organization and also pushed the costs up. Workforce diversity
program would make the organization more aware about the fact that employee
are representative s of different cultures and thus, a formal training regarding the
same would help the employee and the company blend in well together.
• They realized that a diverse and trained workforce would provide different skills
required to deal with the challenges in the diverse markets.
• TRUI was a signatory of ‘Fairshare’, an initiative of NAACP, and thus they had to
commit with the cause of equality and indiscrimination with colored people.
• TRUI wanted to make its workforce more diverse to represent the changing trends
in cultures and gain the trust of minorities.
All of these reasons gave opportunities of advancement to women and minorities in
TRUI, thus the company could generate a goodwill.
Q2. Do you think TRUI succeeded in its efforts to train its employees on diversity
issues because it included LIFO to improve the lines of communication among its
A. Yes, TRUI succeeded in its efforts to train its employees on diversity issues. LIFO
was an important part of the training program because it aimed at improving the
communication skills of the employees, to create an open atmosphere for working,
resolve differences etc. Communication skills are something in which every
employee needs to be perfect as it forms the basis of an employee personality. If an
employee is able to communicate well then all the hurdles are easily solved. These
skills are as important as much as the other business skills are. They are important
not only for success but also for adapting to the changes in the business
environment. They help in explaining the employees what is happening and to
motivate them to work. The employees must be able to express their ideas verbally.
The program also focused on creating a positive work environment for its
employees. It is important as it increases the work productivity there is peace and
harmony in the organization, the employees are comfortable with each other and
are able to share their views and experiences. Therefore the LIFO program was very
much needed to train its employees on diversity issues.
Q3. Do you think diversity training is suitable only in workplaces where there is a
diverse set of employees? Or do you think that it can be included at all companies
because of the fact that every employee is unique and requires to be trained to
deal with differences with his peers/superiors/subordinates?
A. No, diversity is not only suitable in workplaces where there is a diverse set of
employees. It can be included at all companies because apart from people
adjusting with various kinds of cultures or religion of people, they also need to
adjust to different people’s age, personality, attitudes, skill set, knowledge. The
focus of workplace diversity now lies on the promotion of individuality within an
organization, acknowledging that every person can bring something different to
the table. There are various opinions, approaches and perspectives of people from
different backgrounds. By promoting workplace diversity the company becomes
attractive because it is open to new ideas which many people may appreciate.
Conducting diversity training would help employees learn and deal with the
differences with his/her peers/subordinates. Also this can benefit the organization
as a whole, as happy, satisfied and friendly employees working unitedly in a
congenial work environment can contribute better to the company's profits and
diversity training is an effective tool to train the
employees to accept and appreciate the diverse
needs, skills, talents and contributions of their coworkers. At the same time, recognize their similarities.
Success can be achieved in diversity initiatives if
companies follow a systematic and methodological way of
conducting such a program.
• For effectiveness, the program can begin with
‘positioning’ of the organization to ensure the
complete commitment of the top mgmt. and to check
the readiness and ability of the organization to hold
such a program.
• Then it can move to ‘ designing and implementation’
of the diversity program. While designing, it should
take care of the necessary elements for building a
• Lastly, for a training program to be successful , the
results should be continuously monitored and fixing
accountability with suitable managers/supervisors for