Sandra Bledsoe

Cultural Diversity Training: Everything You Need to Know

Cultural diversity training is a program to motivate positive group interactions, eliminate prejudice and discrimination. It is important to teach individuals to work in harmony irrespective of their differences.

Why is there a need for Cultural Diversity Training?

Companies are approaching a holistic approach for building an all-encompassing and diverse culture. This training is a tool to achieve that. It modifies the thinking of the employees and encourages them to implement this thinking in their everyday behavior. The training includes interacting with colleagues, business partners, vendors, and many more people.

Taking into account McKinsey’s research, racially and ethnically diverse companies outclass industry norms by 35%. By promoting this training, the risk of harassment and discrimination lawsuits can be reduced. It raises awareness regarding issues that are personal and sensitive to people with different socio-economic backgrounds. 

This training also stresses understanding concepts of various cultures, gender, beliefs, ethnicities, and races. By applying them in real-world situations will make the work environment a healthier place for all. A study by Bersin by Deloitte showed that diverse companies generate two and a half times higher cash flow per employer with a period of 3 years compared to non-diverse companies.

Different types of Diversity in the Workplace

  • Race and ethnicity

The race of a person refers to biological heritage. This includes physical features like skin color, hair type, etc. Ethnicity, on the other hand, is about the culture the person grew up in. For an individual race and ethnicity, there can be more than one. These diversities bring unique and individualistic perspectives to the company.

  • Age and generation

Age is usually sorted by generation. For example, millennials, Gen Z, baby boomers. There can be similar thinking patterns between people belonging to different generations or not. To put it into perspective, the world with the internet and cell phones has changed drastically. People belonging to the 1990s might not relate to it much.

  •  Gender identity

Equal representation of men and women is crucial for any company. It is not limited to having equal numbers of men and women employees. Concerning issues like the gender pay gap has to be addressed. Restrictions related to outfits and promoting male employees over a woman employee are supposed to be crushed. The companies’ employment of an equal number of men and women produces up to 41% higher revenue.

  • Sexual orientation

This is about whom a person finds attractive. It’s a personal choice, and employees have a right to feel safe in expressing their orientation. There should be no discrimination regarding it. The LGBTO+ community has various groups of people, and there should not be any restrictions or backlash for such personal matters. The workplace should be a harmless and safe place for all of them. 

  • Religious and spiritual beliefs

The world comprises many religions and distinctive spiritual practices. Each individual has his/her own beliefs. A workplace should not be biased or promote one religion. The employees should be free to follow them without forcefully interfering or influencing other colleagues. Like wearing a cross or hijab should be permissible.

  • Disability and ability

Disabilities are not restricted to physical disabilities only. They also include psychological disorders like ADHD or vision disabilities. There should be accommodations for disabled people to provide them a workplace that encourages and helps them. This also helped to be productive irrespective of their disability. 

  • Socio-economic status and background

The environment and economic setup can have an impact on them. People who grew up in poverty may have different perspectives than someone who grew up comfortably. There should be no discrimination or mocking between the employees. The approach for recruiting employees should be broader. This way, it can reach people of different classes.

  • Thinking style and personality

Different thinking capacities of the employees are an invaluable asset for the company. There is a scope for innovation and improvement. The teamwork between employees should be cheered and motivated. Each person’s thought process is unique to them. Thoughts should be moraldable. You must change your thoughts for the better and evolve them with the culture.

  • Personal life experience

Life experiences are the most generic but distinctive category. They will affect a person’s work performance, attitude, thinking, compliance, etc. Recruiters have to consider them while hiring. A person who has served in the military and has emigrated from another country will affect the workforce. This should be helpful to assess the candidates but not to discriminate against them.

Planning an Effective Diversity Training 

Crafting a diversity training plan is individualistic to the company. Depending on your company’s scope and reach, your diversity planning should fall in place with that. Following are important points that can be used as guidelines to form a plan for your company.

  • Have an outline for the training

The first step is to have a clear and comprehensive definition of what the program entails. It should touch a range of issues, comfortably addressing diverse outlooks. Your training model should be diverse and should be presented innovative and creative to the employees. They should not see it as a task but as a learning opportunity.

  • Confronting unconscious bias

Awareness regarding general and prevalent unconscious bias towards specific groups of people is vital. Common goals and aspirations of the employee help to strengthen the bond. There should be a focus on helping them unlearn the biases they may have regarding their employees.

  • Continuous and comprehensive learning

This training should not be an annual or monthly event to tick off the task list. It should be delivered repeatedly over an extended period. Approaching diverse issues in creative and interesting ways is important.

  • Participation of all

This training should be encouraged and promoted for all the employees. The entire workforce, regardless of their titles, should participate. This will create a bonding and a common ground between the employees.

Types of Diversity Training

For training to be efficient, different approaches are to be taken. The concept of acceptance isn’t something you can force-feed someone. They have challenges and change their perspectives on their own. With diversity training, you are providing them information and a platform to do so.

  • Awareness training

This training aims to focus on producing understanding and creating empathy related to diversity issues. This helps find common ground, be vocal about their problems, and be aware of the expectations.

  • Skill-based training

Here, the tools to change their perceptions and be more accommodating of the diversity are given. This training has intended to make the employees identify and mitigate unconscious and conscious bias. Employees learn mandatory work requirements with colleagues of different cultures. They are also taught to communicate and understand their cultures and to think beyond them as well.

 

  • Diversity audit

This requires the HR department to evaluate and analyze the work environment and manage employees’ attitudes across various fields. Diversity audits are crucial for managing the viewpoint of employees in the organization.

Cultural diversity training is the need of the hour. It helps the companies to steer clear of damaging image lawsuits. Also, influences change and understanding in a person. This incorporates a change in society and eventually helps to make the world a better place. 


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