Diversity Training For Executives: 5 Strategies To Implement
Conducting diversity training for executives is vital for ensuring a safe and friendly work environment. Executives are employees who have superior authority in a workplace environment. They have an added responsibility to ensure their decisions are not affected by their preferences or biases. The objective of this diversity training is to level the field to give everyone a chance despite their ethnic background, gender, disabilities, and family.
Diversity and Inclusivity can be in the form of exercises, simulations, and workshops. This training is often conducted by trained professionals who have prior experience as executives.
If you are looking for modern diversity training that is used by companies such as Blackberry and Stanford University to help build empathy through narrative storytelling while using effective tactics to reduce social and psychological barriers to inclusion, equity, and diversity, contact Impactly today for a free demo.
Benefits of Diversity Training for Executives
Diversity training gives the trainers a unique perspective into the daily lives and experiences of executives in leadership roles. Due to this experience, trainers can create an actual impact in the minds of the executives and hone them to be inclusive.
Apart from this, there are several benefits that a company can enjoy by conducting diversity training for executives. These benefits are listed below:
- Improves the Work Environment
Executives who have leadership or managerial roles play an integral part in creating a safe work environment for their subordinates. Since they are responsible for assigning projects and teams functions, they must do so without bias.
Diversity and inclusivity training teaches executives to make these decisions after considering the situation of the employee. A small example of this would be that a working mother would not be turned down to lead a project only because she is a working mother in a diverse and inclusivity-sensitive workplace.
- Improves Employee Retention and Recruitment
An increase in employee retention is one of the top benefits of diversity training. A company can retain the brightest employees because of all the positive impacts of diversity training such as a friendly workplace as well as knowing that their opinions are heard and respected. Similarly, diversity training also leads to an increase in recruitment. Because of inclusivity policies, employees are also willing to refer and recommend the organization to others. This way, the company can recruit new top talent.
- Leads to an Increase in Innovation
One of the best benefits of diversity is the diverse opinions and life experiences. These multiple opinions and perspectives can lead to innovation and creativity. If managers can understand and empathize with diverse backgrounds and opinions, they are more likely to listen to the employees' opinions and greenlight them. This camaraderie leads to creative solutions that can spark holistic improvement in the company.
- Increases Business Reputation and Profits
Today, the consumer market is largely young and well aware. This young consumer market loves to support brands that are diverse and cause-driven. So employing diversity and inclusivity policies can lead to an increase in revenue and profits. Similarly, brand reputation is crucial for a business. Companies have to focus on building a good brand reputation in this perception-centric consumer market. When the board of a company is diverse, the public can rest assured that their background is represented in the company’s messaging. This makes the public relate to the business and support it.
Diversity Training Strategies to Implement for Executives
There are several methods and policies to conduct this all-important diversity training for executives. Some of these training strategies are as follows:
- Reverse Mentoring
In this style of mentoring, the roles are flipped. Here, the senior executive is the mentee, while the employee is the mentor. This style of mentoring allows the more senior executive to get an insight into the junior employee’s life and background. The goal of this reversal is to sensitize the senior employee towards diversity. This reverse mentoring has some more added advantages as well. They are retention of younger employees, increased digital literacy due to younger mentorship, and improved leadership qualities.
- Community Forums and Discussion Sessions
Community discussions forums are a great way to open up a conversation about diversity amongst a safe space full of peers. Executives can discuss their opinions and personal life experiences related to diversity freely without judgment. Apart from opening up a channel for conversations amongst peers, these community forums and discussion sessions are also good places to seek advice and discuss incidents in the workplace.
- Creating a Diversity Calendar
A diversity calendar can help in keeping note of all cultural holidays. It is very important to have holidays for all cultures in a diverse workplace. Only prioritizing Christmas or western new year’s breaks can make other cultures marginalized. So creating a diversity calendar is a must! The calendar not only marks holidays but allows workplaces to accommodate for cultural leaves that employees may take.
- Organizing Cultural Events
Small cultural events such as poetry reading, singing competitions, and literature reading circles go a long way in making everyone feel included. Employees can use these cultural events as opportunities to express their culture and background. These events lead to an interesting and honest discussion on diversity which is integral in making workplaces a safe space.
- Using Food as a Medium for Inclusivity
Food is the most common way of showcasing different cultures and backgrounds. In a way, making sure that cafeterias provide diverse food options is a form of diversity and sensitivity training that can be imparted to executives.
Similarly, going to diverse restaurants for office dinners also counts towards inclusion. Since managers are the ones who usually take their subordinates out to dinner, it shows the manager’s respect and sensitivity towards employee backgrounds. So even food can be used as a diversity training tactic.
Tips to Conduct Diversity Training
Since executives are senior employees, conducting diversity training for them may be difficult. Here are a few tips and tricks to conducting diversity training:
- Using an Empathetic Voice while Training: Executives who have worked for a long time may not be actively biased but ignorant to the changing trend. So it is important to use an empathetic tone in training so that they react positively to diversity training.
- Setting Weekly or Monthly Goals: To see substantial results, it is important to set goals and track the progress of the executives who receive training. These goals can be in the form of filling a journal that details any diversity positive actions they undertook in the week or month.
- Creating Engaging Discourse Material: The teaching material used for diversity training must be interactive, engaging, and easy to understand. It is important to capture the attention of executives who are taking time out of their schedules to take diversity training.
Diversity training is equally if not more important for executives who are in managerial positions. These executives are responsible for several employee decisions. So it is only fair that they are inclusive in their practices. As seen above, there are several ways to conduct diversity training for these executives.
Some of the most popular methods from the ones listed above are reverse mentoring and discussion forums. But the most important virtue while undertaking diversity training is patience. It is important to remember that executives are set in their ways, and it takes time to break these ways and methods. But diversity training is proven to have results, and patience is the key to achieving them.