With globalization becoming more prevalent, the importance of diversity (D&I) training in the workplace increases multiple folds. Many employees are vocalizing their support for diversity training as they believe it can improve equality in the workplace. Having an effective diversity training program is an assured way to address biases and prejudices within the workplace.
Table of Contents:
- What is Diversity Training?
- What is the Need for Diversity Training?
- How to Create an Effective Diversity Training Program?
- What are the Benefits of Diversity Training in a Workplace?
Apart from the intangible benefits like making your employees feel safe and secure in the working environment, there are plenty of financial and business benefits of diversity training.
What is Diversity Training?
Diversity training can be defined as an initiative to create awareness about diversity within the workforce and bring about cohesiveness in teams. It aims at facilitating positive interactions, reduces prejudice and discrimination.
Diversity training in the workplace encourages employees to embrace people with their diverse cultures and backgrounds that include – race, color, ethnicity, language, nationality, sexual orientation (LGBTQ+), religion, gender, socio-economic status, age, physical and mental ability. Diversity training is about embracing differences among employees and welcoming fresh perspectives to contribute to your organization’s growth.
What is the Need for Diversity Training?
- To Raise Awareness about Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) – When employees become aware of concepts like unconscious bias in the workplace, they can realize how these concepts show up in real-world situations. Raising awareness about diversity and inclusion is important to create a happy and positive work environment.
- To Uphold Workplace Sensitivity – Diversity training helps employees to understand different perspectives of their colleagues and encourage them to think about how their actions could unintentionally offend someone. Increased workplace sensitivity is a strong step against discrimination and harassment.
- To Develop Inclusive Thinking & Actions – Diversity training allows employees to think about inclusion and how they can make conscious efforts to make everyone feel comfortable and valued. A supportive workplace encourages everyone to contribute to business growth.
How to Create an Effective Diversity Training Program
When done right, diversity training can make employees feel happy and valued, promoting equality throughout the workplace. And it goes without saying, a happy workforce is a highly productive workforce. Therefore, creating an effective diversity training program can go a long way in dictating your organization’s growth.
1. Develop a Clear Understanding of Diversity Training
The first step towards developing an effective diversity training program is to establish a clear, detailed definition of what the training program should entail. A clear path should be provided to help employees engage in respectful and positive interactions. Diversity training programs should address a range of issues and embrace diverse perspectives.
2. Create Common Goals & Confront Unconscious Bias
Laying out common goals is the best way to strengthen the bond between employees. As everyone has some unconscious biases towards certain things and/or people, it is important to spread awareness and help them take steps towards growing beyond these biases and perform like a team.
3. Make Diversity Training a Continuous Learning Process
For diversity training to be impactful it should be delivered over an extended period of time. It cannot be just an annual event that checks off the box for compliance. Instead, a series of programs, events, mentoring sessions, and online training modules should be rolled out for continuous learning.
4. Develop a Tailored Diversity Training Program
Organizations can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to their diversity training program. It should be tailored according to the diversity training objectives and inclusion challenges of each organization. You can design a training program for your organization through research and data analysis and develop training goals. The training modules should highlight data and examples specific to your organization.
Also Read: How to Deliver POSH Training Effectively
5. Include Employees Across Levels
Diversity training programs should be developed for the entire workforce irrespective of their designations. Everyone from a lower-level to a higher management level should be encouraged to participate in these programs and benefit from the sessions.
6. Take An Integrated Approach
You can integrate diversity training programs with other sessions that discuss company culture, employee satisfaction, and productivity, or career development. Training should integrate scenario-based learning so that employees can better understand the concepts. Another integrated approach is online learning or micro-learning courses.
What are the Benefits of Diversity Training in a Workplace?
Diversity training in a workplace paves the way for an inclusive workforce. It helps in creating positive team morale. 92% of leading business executives support diversity training for business growth.
There are various business benefits of an inclusive workplace as a result of diversity training:
1. Increased Employee Engagement & Retention
Diversity training programs build a sense of trust among the workforce. Employees view their workplace as a safe and secure environment. This encourages employees to involve themselves with their work on deeper levels and boost their engagement and retention.
2. A More Profitable Workplace
Diversity training helps the leadership to be more inclusive in their hiring practices and team building. Various studies suggest that diversity in the workplace is directly linked to increased sales revenue and profits. A team with greater diversity will always be more profitable than a homogeneous team.
3. Encourage Innovation & Drive Collaboration
Different people have different understandings and have unique approaches to solving problems. Organizations that understand and welcome perspectives of diversified groups, are more likely to come up with a comprehensive solution. Diversified teams learn and grow together towards creative solutions.
4. Brings Positive Change
With effective diversity training, power structures that are based on race or other extrinsic factors will no longer exist. This will ensure talent gets proper recognition based on the skillset and performance factors. Thus, diversity training can bring about positive changes in the organization and contribute to growth.
5. Developing Skill Sets to Manage Diversity
Managing diversity in your team requires a unique set of skills. Right from non-ambiguous communication and cross-cultural competency to conflict management and problem-solving, diversity training helps you master these skills that are important to lead and work with a diversified team.
6. Abiding to Compliance Training Regulations
To ensure that no employee violates rules about discrimination and bias towards certain groups, it is regulatory to provide diversity training to your employees. By doing this you are compliant with the regulations and moreover, show your employees that you care for their physical and mental well-being.
7. Builds Business Reputation
When you prioritize diversity training in your organization, you are sending out a message to the world that you care for your employees and that you create an equal work environment for women, LGBTQ+ community, and people belonging to different races and cultures.
8. Helps Employees Understand the Importance of Diversity & Inclusion
Employees in the workplace who do not understand the importance of diversity and inclusion are not going to get it without proper training programs. Ingrained beliefs and biases about different cultures take some effort to change. Diversity training helps everyone to treat others equally and respect their differences.
Let’s Wrap Up With an Example
Sephora faced a PR debacle when rapper and musician SZA reported racism at a Los Angeles store. The news story linked this to a similar incident with Starbucks. Sephora declared the closure of all of its stores in the USA to provide diversity training for a full one hour.
The leadership at Sephora stated this being, “the start of a larger diversity initiative that includes the creation of employee resource groups and social impact and philanthropic programs and more inclusivity training for managers.”
Diversity training is hailed as the best solution to many race and diversity-related discriminations in the workplace. The same training program and methods might not suit every organization. Therefore, it is important to put in research and thoughts to design the diversity training program according to your organization’s objectives. Putting in efforts to customize the training program for your employees can prove beneficial on various fronts.