Diversity and Inclusion at Various Levels
Diversity refers to the differences that people bring to a discussion by virtue of their understanding of gender, age, culture, language, thought process, etc. It has been found that diverse teams and organizations are more innovative and produce better results in the financial arena.
The problem with diversity is that it is simply a question of numbers – how many diverse individuals does the organization have; however, this is insufficient. What really makes diversity work is an inclusive culture. In an inclusive culture, diversity is valued, people are comfortable with their differences, and all perspectives are considered. Only when there is an inclusive culture can the benefits of diversity be reaped.
However, despite all the benefits of diversity and inclusion, humans are not wired to be comfortable with diversity. Evolution has resulted in humans viewing differences as a threat. As a result, people who are seeking to become inclusive and build a diverse organization need to be trained to change their mindsets. Therefore, training plays a crucial role in making an organization diverse and inclusive.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION TRAINING ORGANIZATIONS MUST UNDERTAKE AT DIFFERENT LEVELS:
- Campus Hires - New hires from college campuses and universities should be trained on the company culture as well as the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Understanding the types of diversity and the importance of inclusion is the first step in this process. It is essential that they identify acceptable and unacceptable behaviors related to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. In addition, training on unconscious bias is essential. Most organizations concentrate D&I training on mid-level and senior managers while ignoring the large numbers of new campus hires. Campus hires represent a significant proportion of the overall workforce, and it is also easier to align them to the culture and expected behaviors at this stage.
- Individual Contributors - The next set of individuals that organizations should focus on training are individual contributors. While the individual contributors in an organization may not be managing teams, they must practice inclusive behaviors regardless of their position. Individual contributors need to be trained regarding unconscious biases, acceptable and unacceptable workplace behaviors related to diversity and inclusion, as well as allyship and championing skills to drive diversity and inclusion efforts within the organization.
- Managers - Another type of diversity and inclusion training should be provided to managers. As team culture is built by people managers, they should be aware of the importance of diversity and inclusion, as well as how to drive that culture within the team. Managers should also be trained in unconscious biases, particularly with regard to hiring practices. Additionally, they should be trained on how to identify and deal with micro exclusions.
- Leadership – Without the support of leaders, D&I initiatives will not succeed. Keeping in mind that culture begins at the top, training leaders on diversity and inclusion is extremely important. Training leaders on unconscious bias and behavioral change is important, but it is equally important for them to be able to build a D&I vision, align people towards it, and ensure its effective implementation. Leadership training should focus on creating a D&I vision or charter, as well as policies and practices that promote inclusion.
Although there are many types of diversity and inclusion training, remember that the “one size fits all” approach does not work. Training programs should be customized to meet the needs of the organization and the audience.
Contact us if you are interested in a diversity and inclusion program that is tailored to the needs of your organization or team.