A typical diversity and inclusion training program educates employees to work alongside co-workers of different ethnicities, abilities, or backgrounds. It involves helping attendees to attain and implement the right mindset concerning harmony in the workplace.
The training is not only restricted towards raising awareness about different topics. In addition to this, it also helps an individual implement certain behavior changes that may positively benefit future interactions with co-workers. According to sources, diversity and inclusion in an organization can make it 36% more likely to see an above-average profit margin.
Why is a Diversity and Inclusion Training Necessary in Today’s Workplace
The characteristic of most modern workplaces involves two key aspects. The first being the number of individuals working together and the other being the diversity in the workforce. Both these aspects are a product of years of integration and cooperation between completely different individuals, either culturally or biologically. However, there can still be some friction between the employees for various reasons, which leads to the creation of a toxic workplace.
- Ignorance: The most devastating problem that crops up is the lack of knowledge that existing employees may have about different cultures or backgrounds of other employees. This ignorance can lead to discrimination or harassment in the workplace.
- Decreased productivity: An inability to work as a team would result in a decrease in the overall productivity of the workforce. This is especially evident in whether the employees are working on a group project or are required to relay information between departments.
- Short tenures: The less-than-ideal work environment will lead to many employees choosing to leave. These short tenures will possibly hurt the company.
- Unfavorable reputation: Another disadvantage of not including this training is that the bad experiences that employees go through will become public. Other individuals will refrain from joining the company due to this reputation.
Features of a Diversity and Inclusion Training Program
In order to counter the several problems mentioned above, diversity and inclusion training programs involve the following features:
- Cultural sensitivities
Since companies interact with several nationalities due to rapid globalization, the company must be capable of having positive experiences with any individual. Therefore, this topic, which holds a priority at the moment, can educate an individual on the complexities of a culture at a base level at least.
This means that the employees can refrain from making hasty decisions regarding the nationality of the individual. In addition to this, it will ensure that employees can interact with fellow employees better, knowing a little about their backgrounds.
The program teaches us to look past race, ethnicities, orientations and work together in relative harmony. A company can do well to put aside any preconceived notions or prejudices and work towards including all kinds of individuals in their operations. An inclusive workspace will require all the employees to make equal efforts to unify the group and overcome certain boundaries.
- Unconscious bias
It involves looking past the biases based on stereotypes that pertain to race, religion, or orientation. This can contribute a lot to the workplace as these stereotypes always tend to have a negative connotation. It also implies women who are vulnerable to social discrimination.
- Ethical practices
The program also approaches general workplace behavior. One can learn to be civil to not only fellow employees but customers as well. It brings awareness to certain topics like bullying and conscious favoritism in an attempt to reduce the chances of it taking place. In general, the program will outline model workplace behavior so that an employee can follow suit.
This is also known as general diversity. It involves determining the right way to approach an older co-worker. That is, treating them with respect but also as post-program interacting with an older coworker can be different in comparison to others. Therefore, the program makes it a point to make employees aware of situations or language that may affect an older colleague.
The Effectiveness of this Program
One may be tempted to think that just attending these programs will lead to a drastic overall change. All these ideas which are explored above in the training program should not be just ideas. Rather, the companies should make conscious efforts to put certain policies or strategies in place. These strategies will help to incorporate these ideas more seamlessly in a normal working day. This is possible by following a few steps post-program.
The first course of action would be to review the HR recruiting strategies. The HR activities can be a great place to start implementing the various ideas brought up in the program. For example, In the recruiting process, one should consider if the hiring gives everyone an equal opportunity to showcase their abilities.
The introduction of diversity managers is another way to ensure that every member of the organization feels valued. The role of the diversity manager is to reassess and monitor the activities of each department or the company as a whole. They will make an effort to find any standards or conditions that negatively affect an employee.
With all this being said, it should be mentioned that the effectiveness of a diversity program relies heavily on the way the company perceives it. For example, these programs should not be used as a punishment or as a mandatory activity rather than something voluntary. Therefore, the company should ensure that the employees attend these programs of their own volition as a way to better themselves and the environment they work in.
Benefits of Including a Diversity and Inclusion Training Program
From creating a more welcoming atmosphere to overall company growth, these programs can do a great deal for a company if implemented properly.
- Varied perspective: The most evident benefit is the increase in innovation that is seen. A company that possesses a diverse workforce is capable of receiving vastly different perspectives. These perspectives can lead to better decisions and more effective business operations. For example, minorities will make more effort to voice their opinions and feel more welcome to do so.
- More hiring options: Another advantage is the increase in talent. If certain privileges are given to certain groups while hiring, it can vastly decrease the number of eligible candidates for the job. Therefore, it is essential to let go of all kinds of biases, especially unconscious ones, when it comes to recruiting.
- Better representation: In addition to this, a diverse workforce is also said to be appreciated by customers. This is especially true for the companies whose employees are in direct contact with customers. For example, multimedia companies. Representation can help a customer relate to the company better.
Thus, a comprehensive diversity and inclusion training program will touch on all the possible topics that may hinder healthy workplace relationships. This is especially relevant to the current workplace, which is projected to increase by 37% in 2021 in the US.
In addition to this, the number of minorities in higher positions has also increased, especially in the technology industry. Therefore, all these external changes need to be met with certain behavioral changes as well.