Diversity training in a workplace is defined as an initiative to understand the diverse workforce irrespective of their race, color, ethnicity, etc., and to cherish the uniqueness that every person has. It aims at implementing positive interactions, and avoid any prejudice and discrimination that one has among the other.
Need for Diversity Training in the Workplace
- To raise awareness about diversity and inclusion
Diversity training helps in raising awareness by collaborating with people of different cultures, races, genders, ethnicities, beliefs, experiences and ideas to create a happy and positive work environment. Developing inclusive thinking and inclusive actions will lead to a more positive, productive work environment for everyone.
- To uphold workplace sensitivity
Encouraging employees to be aware of different perspectives and the different comfort levels of others, and how their action may unintentionally offend someone. Diversity training in the workplace helps employees develop skills that foster better teamwork and decision-making.
- Leading by example
The employees expect leaders to be role models, setting the expectations of a culture that values everyone and treats everyone with respect. Diversity training in the workplace offers a flexible platform for communicating and reinforcing the organization’s values and expectations.
Organizations, realizing the benefit of a diverse workforce, are creating diversity training programs at the workplace as a part of a holistic approach to build a diverse and inclusive culture. Diversity training in the workplace helps employees become aware of unconscious biases and barriers to diversity and inclusion. It motivates positive behavior and attitudes, essential to creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace.
Benefits of Diversity Training in the Workplace
- Helps create a healthy force and a successful business.
- Increased employee engagement and retention builds a sense of trust and security among the workforce.
- A diverse team will always be more profitable than a homogeneous team.
- Brings together different ideas to the table.
- Encourage innovation and drive collaboration as different people have their unique approaches to tackle a situation and come up with a comprehensive solution.
- Encourages a positive change that ensures talent gets proper recognition based on the skillset and performance factors.
- To ensure no rule violations by employees concerning discrimination and bias towards certain groups.
How to Create an Effective and Successful Diversity Training Program?
An effective diversity training workplace program can make employees feel appreciated and contribute to a more productive workforce. Here’s how you can create one.
1. Develop a clear understanding
It will help if you begin with a detailed definition of what the program should entail. Diversity training workplace programs should target all employees and address issues like unconscious bias, microaggressions and cross-cultural communications. You must understand that the training must go beyond surface-level understandings of the differences in culture. Different traditions and customs, proper greetings, major holidays, or religious times are important for raising awareness and boosting understanding.
2. Creating common goals and confront unconscious bias
Common goals help create and strengthen bonds between employees. Everyone has unconscious biases towards a section or another. Being aware of these biases can help employees check their behavior and work as a team.
3. Diversity training in the workplace – A continuous learning process
For diversity training in the workplace to work, it needs to be delivered over an extended period. It cannot be another annual event organized by HR. To change the attitudes and biases that some people have is the sole concept of this training. The scenarios covered in training helps them retain and expand on the information they learned. So, it needs to be reiterated for better understanding.
Also, the organization needs to come up with new ways to promote awareness throughout the year. This can be done in two ways :
- Celebrate and organize small events for heritage months like Black History Month, Women’s History Month, LGBT Pride Month, etc.
- Include more religious holidays and practices in your workplace. Most workspaces celebrate a few selected days based on the majoritarian view but aiming to include some other in your calendar promotes inclusivity and encourages employees to participate in their coworkers’ celebrations respectfully.
4. Build a tailored diversity training program for your workplace
A one-size-fits-all approach will not work for a diversity training program. It needs to be tailored according to the training objectives and inclusion challenges faced by each organization. You must utilize the research and data analysis to develop training goals. Design a unique program specific to the needs, history and culture of your company. The training modules should highlight examples specific to your organization.
5. Include employees across levels
Diversity training should be mandatory for all employees.
6. Take an integrated approach
There are many approaches you can integrate diversity training in your company:
- With other training sessions that discuss company culture, employee satisfaction and productivity, or
- Scenario-based learning where the employees can better understand the concepts
- Through online learning or micro-learning courses.
7. Hire an expert
Hire a professional from outside, which is independent, has experience leading these specific sessions, serves as an authority figure based on expertise and doesn’t bring any institutional ‘baggage’ because they are not an employee.
8. Taking perspective into consideration
Include activities in your program that allows an individual to slip their shoes into the life of a minority and express the challenges they feel they would face. Observe these responses and hold discussions. Such activities can help improve pro-diversity attitudes and behavioral intentions towards such groups.
Types of Diversity Training in the Workplace
Gamification brings together different groups to solve a problem or reach a goal. The employees interact, learn and apply a new skill together on the platform.
Microlearning breaks the training modules into small bites for employees to understand easily.
- Mobile learning
Employees can access your workplace diversity training when they have free time and at any place to give it the attention it deserves. It gives them a sense of control, and they can learn at their own pace.
Do Diversity Training Programs Work?
The writers at Harvard Business Review conducted a study to investigate the effectiveness of diversity training by creating a diversity training program and testing the results. The results of the study indicate that there is no one-size-fits-all diversity training program. Organizations must focus on tailoring the training program by addressing your company’s unique problems and thinking about how their employees might respond to the different training variables.
Impactly diversity training programs help build empathy through narrative storytelling, point of views and experiences. It utilizes practical debiasing techniques to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. The program encourages employees to be empathetic and connect. This program aims to create a productive environment where people feel welcomed, valued, respected, and heard. When the workplace becomes inclusive, employees become more productive and the company thrives.