In recent times, diversity & inclusion training for employees have become increasingly common. These trainings are aimed at making everyone sensitive about others and pave way to working closely with everyone. Organizations also look at Diversity and Inclusion Training for Employees as an opportunity to reap the benefits of an inclusive culture.
To answer the most basic question, what is diversity and inclusion training, it is a way of letting people know the intricacies in working style of people from varied background. Diversity and Inclusion Training can be further broken down into two, one is awareness training – spreading awareness to the employees about how different people perceive, think, act, etc. The second part is skills training – wherein enabling people to develop some skill like communicating with different people, creating a bond, etc.
Like any other training, diversity and inclusion training for employees can be conducted in the classroom sessions. But it can also be delivered through online/ virtual classes, even eLearning videos can be used as part of the diversity & inclusion training.
As mentioned, diversity and inclusion training for employees has lot of benefits. There are proven researches which indicate a diverse and inclusive organization has better financial returns, increased innovation, stronger decision making and committing to the decision, etc. But to be clear just a one-off training or series of sessions on diversity & inclusion does not pave way for an inclusive workplace. It is a longer process, where there needs to be changes in policies, HR cycle, etc.
Having said that, diversity and inclusion training is a crucial aspect of creating an inclusive culture. Training enables the employees to gain awareness and develop some broader perspectives which reflect in their performance.
Benefits of diversity & inclusion training
Though diversity & inclusion training have lot of benefits, articles also shows that there are several trainings that fail miserably. So, there are certain crucial aspects that need to be carefully paid attention to provide effective diversity & inclusion training for employees.
- First, start with the why component. This means for any training to be successful employees must be oriented about why the program is being conducted, why they are the target audience, what is expected from them, etc. In diversity & inclusion training it also means explaining the business case, highlighting why it is essential for the business. This way the buy-in can be gained from the employees.
- Second, don’t just focus on anyone way of training. Combine both skills and awareness training. This is because most benefits can be gained only when people are aware about the differences, unconscious biases at the same time are able to apply these into practices like communicating better, improving cohesiveness, etc.
- Third factor is to keep the nominations for the diversity & inclusion training voluntary. After giving the purpose as mentioned in the step in it is ideal to keep nominations voluntary. This could end up as people who require diversity & inclusion training will not nominate, but research suggests forcing them attend also does not provide desired results.
Finally, combine diversity & inclusion training for employees as part of other trainings as well to get the most out of it. Like making communicating with different cultures a part of the communication skills training or managing different teams as part of managerial effectiveness, etc.