With many employees across multiple departments, it can be challenging to implement consistent learning initiatives. But diversity training in the workplace is one program that shouldn’t be overlooked.
It’s crucial that all your office locations are on the same page when it comes to creating an inclusive work environment.
After all, research carried out by McKinsey & Company shows diversity and inclusion training leads to increased employee retention, improved employee engagement, and even better financial performance.
So how do you take a diverse workforce and have them all working towards the same goals? Here are some tips for developing effective diversity training programs:
Read on to understand how diversity training works, its benefits, and how to develop it.
What is Diversity Training?
“Diversity training” is a name for the diversity education and training employers provide to combat workplace discrimination, harassment, and bias.
Usually, this type of training comes as a series of workshops or classes and can cover topics like bias, privilege, colorblindness vs. cultural awareness, microaggressions, and more.
Diversity training helps increase understanding of different groups and teaches participants how to recognize and appreciate individual differences.
The purpose is to help employees interact with different types of people and explain the challenges and opportunities that come with a diverse work environment.
Diversity and inclusion initiatives can include:
- Diversity training sessions
- Diverse staff recruitment strategies
- Inclusive work environment policies
- Diversity and inclusion communication campaigns
These initiatives help you ensure that all employees receive treatment fairly in the workplace and give them equal opportunities to succeed. If you have a diverse workforce, it has many benefits, including improving creativity, problem-solving, and a better bottom line.
Why Do Organizations Provide Diversity Training For Their Employees?
Organizations conduct diversity training in the workplace to implement equitable practices and reduce bias or discrimination against minority or underrepresented groups.
Here are highlighted reasons organizations and companies carry out diversity training in the workplace:
1. Increase diversity awareness
Diversity training is intended to increase diversity awareness and build the acceptance of differences.
In addition, it helps employees understand that diversity is a reality in today’s workplace, both with their co-workers and customers.
The goal of diversity training is to help employees understand, embrace and leverage diversity in an effort to benefit both employees and the employer.
This can be achieved through: the reduction of discriminatory behavior, increased productivity and creativity, better problem-solving and decision-making, and improved customer service.
2. Foster trust
Companies use diversity training to educate employees about unconscious bias to foster trust and create a safe atmosphere.
Generally, trust fosters teamwork and collaboration. This sense of trust is the foundation of more productive and effective teams.
In addition, If team members feel safe sharing their feelings and ideas, they will feel more empowered to take risks.
By taking risks, they are more likely to find creative solutions. Also, creative solutions often lead to breakthroughs in every aspect of the business.
3. Improve communication
By discussing the varying cultures of employees in a company, diversity training helps to improve communication between team members.
Diversity training is essential for breaking down barriers and boosting social and interpersonal skills in the workplace.
Communication improves relationships between employees and supervisors, among coworkers, and with customers.
Miscommunication is a leading cause of conflict at work and can lead to inefficient utilization of organizational resources such as time and money.
4. Attract talent and maximize organizations’ profits
Talent and talent development are critical factors in success. In today’s diverse and global workplace, ineffective diversity management directly impacts an organization’s ability to succeed.
Companies that provide diversity training can enhance their employer brand in the marketplace.
Cross-cultural skills make employees more valuable to their organization, and diversity training helps build a business case for managers making hiring decisions.
5. Eliminate biases and discrimination
Bias and discrimination are perhaps the most prevalent challenges that companies face today. So, diversity training gives employees a new perspective on the prejudices that might be driving their thoughts and behaviors without their knowledge.
In addition, this training can help employees change how they see diversity or behave non-discriminately.
The goal here is to improve personal awareness of possible biases and increase cultural awareness, which helps eliminate stereotypes, discrimination, and prejudice in a company.
What Are the Benefits of Diversity Training?
The reasons why you might want to invest in diversity training are many and can be achieved through a properly implemented training program.
However, here are some of the key benefits of diversity training for both organization and its employees:
- Drive bottom-line business success
- Deliver long-term value creation
- Increase productivity
- Avoid public relations disasters
- Bring in diverse talent with unique points of view
- Promote a healthy and inclusive organizational culture
- Improve employee retention
- Reach global markets and diverse talent
- Creates a positive working environment for all employees
- Boost employee morale
- Happy employees produce better business results
What Are The Types of Diversity Training In The Workplace?
- Awareness training
- Basic diversity training
- Skill-based diversity training
- Diversity audits
- Intermediate diversity training
- Mobile learning diversity training
How Do You Develop an Effective Diversity Training?
Companies are adopting diversity and inclusion-oriented policies to make their workplaces more welcoming, equitable, and fair.
Most diversity training efforts have been well-meaning but inadequate attempts that have often had the opposite of their intended effect. So what can you do differently?
Here are the key steps to developing an effective diversity training program.
1. Create common goals
A successful training program must demonstrate to participants how diversity training will help them and their organizations succeed. Common goals are an effective way to do so.
Make sure you and your employees are on the same page. Set up diversity training that includes discussion, which helps create goals and expectations.
In addition, it must include a plan to develop skills and competencies to get everyone where they want to be and stand up for others.
2. Focus on inclusion
Most diversity programs focus on awareness, education, and skills-building. But these won’t improve inclusion unless built on a strategic foundation of inclusion objectives, measurable goals, and explicit accountability for results.
Creating an inclusive workplace means building a culture where everyone feels valued, respected, and supported regardless of their differences. Inclusion requires ongoing attention and commitment from all levels of the organization.
3. Tailor the training to your company
You should also consider your company’s specific needs regarding diversity and inclusion. What is the demographic breakdown of your workforce?
In addition, do you have a representation problem? Are there certain groups that aren’t represented in your organization? If so, why not?
You must tailor the training to your company while focusing on general concepts. If you’re unsure what issues to address, audit your workforce by doing focus groups with employees, say experts.
Ask about their experiences and opinions about diversity in the workplace. This may sound basic, but it will be a waste of money if you don’t get it right and it doesn’t meet your needs.
4. Get everyone involved
Bring everyone in from the margins: diversity means multiculturalism. A society with multiple cultures living together harmoniously.
You can’t accomplish this if you keep people at arm’s length or push them into boxes or stereotypes that diminish their dignity as individuals or their contributions.
The difference between diversity and inclusion lies in engagement.
A diverse workforce that doesn’t feel included is not engaged. It’s not contributing its full potential to your organization, nor does it feel a sense of belonging or loyalty to your company.
5. Use an integrated approach
For diversity training in the workplace to be effective, it must target the factors most often cited as barriers to inclusion.
The problem is that each of these barriers has a different source; thus, there is no way to address them all by providing a single solution.
An integrated approach works best, consisting of classroom training plus other development methods such as mentoring programs, workshops, podcasts, blogs, newsletters, and other communications.
An integrated program will consist of five parts:
- An orientation – This consists of explaining to the participants why diversity training is being held and the objectives.
- A social identity workshop – This consists of helping people understand how their social identities influence their attitudes and behavior toward others.
- Implicit bias workshop – This workshop focuses on implicit bias, which is the unconscious attitudes and stereotypes that affect our judgments about people belonging to other groups.
- Prejudice reduction workshops – For instance, contact theory research shows that contact between members of the majority and minority groups increases feelings of similarity, reduces anxiety, improves communication, and reduces prejudice among individuals within these groups.
- Diversity skill-building workshops – These workshops provide individuals with skills they need to manage interpersonal interactions in diverse settings more effectively, such as cross-cultural
6. Bring in an expert to give the training
It is most important to have someone not from your organization come in and do the training, especially with a smaller organization.
Generally, when working in an environment with the same people day in and day out, you tend to overlook many things and get used to them.
It can be hard to change your thinking when you have been in the same place for a while. If you bring someone in from outside, they will see things you don’t. They will also be able to give an unbiased opinion.
When we are in our own space and atmosphere, it is hard to see what we should be looking at.
We often take things for granted instead of looking at them as they really are. Therefore, ensure you bring in someone from outside.
Is diversity training compulsory?
While organizations are often not required to offer diversity training, it can be helpful.
Diversity training assists your employees in becoming more sensitive toward those whose experiences and opinions differ from theirs.
This heightens communication inside the workplace, which aids in the productivity of an organization. It also heightens employee satisfaction by reducing workplace conflicts.
How do you make your diversity training work?
Set SMART goals: Instead of looking at diversity training as something you should or must do to avoid bad press, consider it an opportunity to grow your business.
Also, make it better at attracting and retaining top talent, innovating in your product development, expanding into new markets, or creating new ideas that might lead to exponential growth.
What is the cost of diversity training in the workplace?
While some companies spend less, others spend tens of thousands of dollars on diversity training programs in the workplace.
According to the balance small business, the typical costs of diversity training range from $25 to $50 per employee for an online employee course, while a workshop or game is around $500 to $2,000 for 20 to 50 employees, and DVD, $400 to $1,000 (per DVD).
Organizations must be intentional, strategic, and complex enough to meet the ongoing challenges of managing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Creating a culture that affirms and celebrates individual differences including, but not limited to, race, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, gender identity/expression, how we communicate, and how we create an environment where everyone feels safe.
Corporations that embrace a diverse workforce see the benefits in the form of highly satisfied employees.
Workers feel validated when the corporation’s management and HR recognize the benefits of representing various cultures.
For example, when different mindsets and perspectives come together, they often result in a richer pool of ideas, information sharing, and more innovation.
When diversity and inclusion training is successful, teams can communicate better, and customers will feel they can trust the company.
Finally, there are many benefits in putting your employees through important training. It can help you reduce legal liability, increase retention rates and lower turnover, improve employee morale, and increase productivity. So, I recommend you check out the important training for employees.
I hope you found this article helpful. Thanks for reading