Diversity and Inclusion Training
Leading businesses are making efforts to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the aftermath of significant social and political changes over the previous few decades. Even though businesses of all kinds have made great advances toward being more diverse and inclusive over the past few decades, many still find it difficult to get past the prejudices that prevent certain employees from seeing individuals who are different from them. This is where diversity and inclusion training can help.
What is Diversity in the Workplace?
When an organization values diversity in the workplace, it means that its workforce reflects the society in which it was founded and conducts business. As a characteristic of a company’s culture, diversity in the workplace is when the workforce is made up of workers with a variety of backgrounds, including those related to gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, languages, abilities, professional backgrounds, socioeconomic backgrounds, and educational backgrounds.
Sadly, it’s not that easy to pinpoint what makes a team diverse. Even though there are countless ways in which people differ from one another, most of us unconsciously define variety in terms of a small number of social constructs, such as gender, race, age, and so on. Diversity and inclusion training addresses and helps counter such biases.
What is Inclusion in the Workplace?
Although it is frequently used in conjunction with diversity, inclusion is a distinct idea.
The attainment of a work environment in which all people are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can fully contribute to the success of the company is inclusion, which is defined differently from diversity.
Inclusion in the workplace is based on respect and understanding. It is critical to make sure that everyone’s ideas and opinions are heard and fairly considered to foster a more diverse workplace where everyone feels respected. It is extremely challenging to establish a workplace where everyone feels welcomed and takes part in decision-making; success depends on continuing support.
Diversity and inclusion training helps foster an inclusive workplace where everyone feels their opinions are worth sharing and their efforts are appreciated.
Diversity vs. Inclusion
Inclusion refers to the actions and social standards that make sure individuals feel welcome, whereas diversity refers to the features and characteristics that make people unique. The success of diversity initiatives depends on inclusivity, and fostering an inclusive culture will increase employee engagement and productivity.
Although inclusion focuses on efforts to make employees – with all of those varied attributes (plus thousands more) – feel safe, happy, and valued, diversity focuses on the demographics of your workplace, such as gender, ethnicity, age, professional background, and sexual orientation.
Although inclusion and diversity may not be the same thing, neither is possible without first creating a culture that values other points of view. A narrow-minded work environment will ultimately fall short of supporting any pretense of inclusion or diversity. It is the duty of leadership to openly recognize the value of other viewpoints.
As a company becomes more diverse, inclusion becomes increasingly crucial. The goal of inclusive efforts must be to make every employee feel valued and trusted, regardless of their background. Implementing successful diversity and inclusion training efforts is crucial for developing a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Diversity and Inclusion Training
Implementing diversity and inclusion training programs is one method to foster more inclusive workplaces that recognize differences and give a voice to people who are frequently underrepresented. Diversity and inclusion training has the ability to help organizations combat prejudice and bias. According to studies by McKinsey & Co., these advantages can also result in some significant financial gains for businesses. According to the study, businesses with varied workforces are 35% more likely to have profit margins that are above average than those with more homogeneous labor bases.
A well-crafted diversity and inclusion training program can improve customer happiness, employee morale, and corporate profitability. Increasing collaboration, improving interpersonal skills, and enabling underrepresented groups to feel more appreciated and respected at work are all facilitated by a diversity and inclusion training program.
How to Make Your Diversity and Inclusion Training Successful?
Take into account the following advice to get the most of your diversity training and avoid some of these pitfalls:
- Get knowledge about diversity and inclusion training.
Creating a precise, comprehensive outline of what the program should include is the first step in establishing a diversity and inclusion training program for your company. While reducing prejudice and discrimination based on things like gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, age, religion, physical and mental ability, and socioeconomic status, a thorough diversity and inclusion training program offers practical ways to interact in a respectful and positive way in the workplace.
Team members should be included in diversity and inclusion training programs, which should cover a variety of topics like unconscious prejudice, microaggressions, and cross-cultural dialogue. Good training teaches employees how to collaborate effectively while valuing different viewpoints, going beyond merely urging them to tolerate differences.
Diversity and inclusion training programs should tie diversity and inclusion to the vision, mission, values, and goals of the organization, and then move into how to value all aspects of diversity with coworkers, clients, customers, and the community at large. Appropriate and effective training can mitigate legal risks and bolster affirmative defenses, support ongoing recruitment and retention efforts, and contribute to a more productive workplace.
- Extend and maintain diversity and inclusion training over time.
Diversity training must be given over a long period of time if it is to be as effective as feasible. Although training improves workers’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors toward other groups, attitudes may revert to pre-training levels over time.
These training’s intended effects may last over the long term because the attitudes they aim to change are typically powerful, emotionally driven, and connected to our individual identities. But, when coworkers or even the media bring up training scenarios, people are more likely to remember or elaborate on what they learned.
Bias-and-diversity training must be a once-a-year activity that merely ticks the box for corporate compliance to be most effective.
The culture of a corporation must include diversity awareness and focus in all areas. Regular reinforcement of the message is necessary for training to be effective, and managers must teach their team members when they observe actions or attitudes that are incompatible with a diverse workplace.
Develop a succession of initiatives, celebrations, events, mentorship opportunities, and other learning opportunities instead of yearly training days or one-time workshops. Integrate diversity and inclusion into your company’s culture so that it becomes the standard. By doing this, it shifts from being a yearly lecture on all the laws and regulations to more of a reinforcement of good behavior.
The most successful firms don’t perceive workshops as a one-and-done event but rather an opportunity to reinforce and build on a bigger cultural commitment. The message and the messenger are just as important as the program.
- Tailor diversity and inclusion training to your company.
Training on diversity and inclusion should be customized for the organization delivering it. Corporate diversity training initiatives must be built on a fundamental comprehension of each organization’s particular diversity and inclusion goals and problems.
Businesses can’t design their training program in a one-size-fits-all manner to achieve this. Every organization needs to take the time to reflect on itself, carry out some fact-finding projects, evaluate the current business culture, and pinpoint any unresolved disputes and problems that employees may be experiencing. Information can be gathered through surveys, focus groups, and employee audits, among other methods.
The company must first conduct a thorough self-assessment before developing and implementing effective training. The most helpful such assessments are carried out by outside experts who bring a new perspective, objectivity, and a commitment to identify the major barriers to diversity and inclusion.
You can construct a program for the needs, history, and culture of your firm once you’ve completed your research, examined the data, and set your objectives and goals. The program content should make use of information and examples unique to your company.
Putting the effects of bias into a context that all of your employees can comprehend is a crucial part of creating a place of understanding. For instance, you can use information or snippets from your own employee survey to give concrete instances that your employees can connect to rather than discussing bias or microaggression in the abstract. The long-term effects will be significantly stronger if these problems start to affect their friends, family, or coworkers.
- Plan an integrated approach.
Training sessions on diversity and inclusion are most effective when they are provided in conjunction with other activities, including mentorship or networking clubs for professionals of color. Employees are more driven to learn about and comprehend these social concerns and apply them in their daily interactions when firms show a commitment to diversity.
You can combine courses on company culture, employee retention and happiness, or career development with training on diversity and inclusion.
Both more modern delivery techniques, including gamification and mobile learning, as well as several older means, like in-person delivery, webinars, and video, are available for reaching your target audience. The objective should always be to include participants as much as possible, regardless of your strategy.
Employee understanding of the problems can be improved through high-quality, engaging content. To help participants understand the concepts being given, the sessions ought to include role-playing (when facilitated in person) and scenarios based on real-world events. Moreover, interactive exercises keep participants interested throughout the session.
eLearning or micro-learning courses are another way to give diversity and inclusion training. These are abridged courses that can be offered all through the year to supplement more extensive training.
- Include workers of all levels.
Only lower-level employees should be required to attend training. Regardless of their position within the organization, all employees may and ought to gain something from the meetings.
All employees, including senior leaders, must take part. The leadership level is when workplace diversity is least strong. For their own benefit and to demonstrate the organization’s commitment, leaders of various racial backgrounds, gender identities, and sexual orientations must take part in any training program.
Even if you are the CEO of your company, you must attend the diversity training just like the rest of the group. By doing this, you demonstrate to others how seriously you take this matter and that everyone can get better via training.
We should all acknowledge our prejudices and attempt to identify them. Some biases are straightforward, while others are more contentious. The aim of diversity and inclusion training is to understand that we are all different and that these variations should not limit anyone’s ability, opportunities, or participation on the team, rather than to agree with another person’s perspective or orientation.
- Hire an expert.
Look for a professional to handle the program if you want to give your employees high-quality, competent training.
It is tempting to designate a team member, such as the HRO or CFO, to lead the session, but this is frequently not the best course of action. Instead, appoint a person who is independent, experienced in running these sessions, acts as a subject-matter authority and is free of any institutional “baggage” because they are not an employee.
4 Dos and Don’ts for Diversity and Inclusion Training
Successful training implementation requires ongoing work. The following four suggestions will help you use it successfully:
- Do link the initiative to corporate objectives
Explain how your organization’s wider goals will be supported by your diversity and inclusion training program. To introduce training in the context of your company’s values, send an email. Alternatively, incorporate a welcome video from the CEO endorsing the merits of this specific program.
Helping individuals understand how the information supports the mission and expansion of the firm will improve the results of your training.
- Avoid expressing shame.
The goal of diversity education for your team is to foster a welcoming environment. Realize that everyone has the chance to learn more by making use of this opportunity. Those who haven’t yet experienced a variety of surroundings could find some of the concepts unfamiliar. Others could have experienced discrimination at work in the past.
Make it clear that this is a learning environment. And be clear that your business will assist individuals in their efforts to report and address any instances of prejudice. People will engage more fully if they feel secure learning from and acting upon the material.
- Recognize that D&I is a continuous process.
One-time training will not result in real growth. Continue the discussion with ongoing training and reviews. By “living the talk,” make diversity and inclusion an integral part of your culture.
Throughout your workplace communications, use the training’s vocabulary and techniques. Moreover, confirm that team leaders are following up with their direct subordinates regarding any issues or inquiries.
- Don’t forget to measure your progress
You must track your diversity and inclusion training program’s effectiveness and make necessary adjustments if you want to create one that is truly effective. After receiving training and a few months later, poll workers. Take a pulse on what they are experiencing at work and inquire about their knowledge of the principles.
Do they observe the concepts at work? Do they feel secure speaking up for their team and the entire company?
And make excellent use of the metrics your LMS collects. Run reports to determine how people are participating, how they are doing on tests and quizzes, and where they may be falling short. You can see what’s lacking from or where you might make improvements to your training program using both sorts of measurements.