It's 2021, and unless leaders actively strive to introduce workplace diversity training, the chances are that business results may also see a dip.
Now that people are talking about this topic, companies need to focus on their diversity training programs. Leaders must also know how to implement them, improve them, and what works and what doesn’t.
Diversity and inclusion training programs encourage positive employee engagement amongst employees. It is a way to minimize discrimination and prejudices against people with various identities, sexual orientation, gender, racial minorities, etc.
It is a critical process for turning a diverse work environment into an inclusive one. A good training program will effectively help re-educate your employees on being respectful and open-minded in their daily lives.
From a human resource perspective, diversity training helps employees understand each other and work together to create an inclusive environment.
Therefore, read this article to know more about what diversity training course includes and how you can build an effective program in your company.
What is Diversity Training?
In simple words, diversity training is a program that teaches employees how to interact and work with people from underrepresented groups respectfully. This kind of training educates people to embrace everyone's uniqueness.
Many managers face issues while managing their workers who come from varied backgrounds. But with the help of these training programs, one can know their employees on a personal level.
In today’s modern world, traveling is not a constraint. People can move from one place to another in just a few hours. And this enables people’s movement for work in international companies.
Also, remote working has become the new normal due to the ongoing pandemic. As a result, companies are hiring and recruiting from various countries as workers can work from the comforts of their homes.
As a result of this, we can see:
- A mix of ethnic and racial diversities in workplaces.
- Increased awareness about individual differences
- Ways to tackle issues due to diverse ideas and perspectives
- Smooth workflows and healthy employee relationships
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace cannot change a person’s mindset completely. But, they will be able to gain adequate knowledge and will refrain from discriminating against their peers. Thus, increased awareness helps in breaking existing barriers.
Many companies and leaders like to believe that such training programs help in:
- Developing a sense of understanding amongst coworkers
- Emphasizes and celebrates the cultural, and ethnic differences
- Celebrates gender diversity in the workplace
- Reduces workplace harassment
- Eradicate unconscious bias
- Encourage timely complaints against discriminatory behaviors.
Recommended Resource: Diversity And Inclusion In The Remote Workplace
Objectives of Diversity Training
Before we learn about implementing diversity training in your company, we must know the objectives this training includes. They are as follows:
- Not to violate civil rights in the workplace
- Reinforce affirmative defenses
- Enhance employee knowledge
- Increase employee retention
- Elevate employee tolerance level
- Attract diverse customers and retaining them
- Promote workplace equity
- Boost employee morale
- Easy mitigation of legal risk
- Create an inclusive company culture
- Spread awareness about culture, sexuality, gender, etc.
- Promote team collaboration and bonding
- Encourage a harmonious and inclusive work environment
- Increase employee productivity and efficiency for organizational success
How to Create a Successful Diversity Training Program?
Merely building a bias training or compliance training is not enough to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. To witness increased employee engagement, companies must focus on diversity training.
Here are 7 practical steps to create an effective program that encourages diversity in the workplace.
1. Understand the Necessity
You can’t make a change just by standing aside. The way towards making a difference is moving forward and accepting that diversity exists, and it often leads to discrimination in the workplace. It is difficult for a person to handle prejudices alone.
The first step is to bring the senior leaders on board. have a diversity expert bought in to make respectful decisions. Additionally, decide the budget, people who will be responsible for it, and promote the program.
Keeping this in mind, companies must make an effort to provide support to their employees. The pandemic has lead to isolation as well as online hate and discrimination.
To eradicate such issues, employers can organize online training, Zoom meetings, etc.
2. Create Common Goals
Identifying and planning out the common goals is an essential step. A detailed program without any direction will turn out to be ineffective in the long run. It's necessary to make the training compulsory for everyone in the company.
By doing so, employees will gain basic knowledge about various underrepresented groups and develop a curiosity to know more.
Having a common goal is imperative as it ties people in conventional bonds. You must focus on the details and find creative ways to make your staff understand the comprehensive program.
While creating the common goals, ask yourself these questions:
- Are the goals feasible?
- How will you track the progress?
- Who will be responsible for tracking the progress?
- What amount of resources and time will be invested in the training program?
3. Expand the Meaning of Diversity and Confront Bias
While creating an effective diversity training program, you must understand and expand the meaning of diversity. This program acts as a catalyst for positive conversations, respect, and a commitment to building an open culture. It is about understanding the viewpoints of a diversified group and changing the way we think.
Let’s not forget; these programs are one the best ways to eradicate prejudice, bias, and discrimination based on socioeconomic status, mental health, disability, race, religion, gender, sexuality, etc.
4. Focus on Inclusion and Include every Worker
The training programs must target every employee, and that makes inclusion a necessity. It must focus on every issue without hurting or offending anybody’s sentiments.
Talk about diverse communications, aggressions, and unconscious bias. Ensure you align the program with the company’s vision, mission, goals, and objectives.
The training teaches tolerance to employees and the ability to embrace individual differences with an open mindset. When employees begin to value different perspectives, it benefits their interactions with customers, peers, and the community.
If you want an effective diversity training program, you must focus on inclusion because that helps mitigate legal risk. According to a study, It also attracts retention and leads to a productive workplace.
5. Make the Training Extensive Over Time
If you’re thinking organizing one or two programs will suffice, well, the answer is no. It is never enough. Instead, this is a continuous process that must be maintained over time for everyone to get familiar.
Keep in mind, such training methods influence the mindset and positively impacts employees’ thought process. To make it more engaging, make the training a certificate program that will add to employees’ resumes.
It impacts a person’s behavior and attitude, and one can see an individual transform before and after the training. Making these programs a part of the company culture is essential to reinforce the message at every turn. Do not opt for one-time workshops. Instead, go for a series of sessions, mentoring, celebrations like Pride Month, and events for constant learning.
6. Need for Change
Change is unavoidable, but it is beneficial to employees. Also, you must measure the modification and changes in employees after the training. You’ll see a shocking difference as they turn out to be the better versions of themselves.
People who attend the diversity training program in the workplace will never forget the things they learned. And if they like it, they will never fail to apply them in their daily lives. That is the best part.
7. Customize Diversity Training
Customizing diversity training is a significant step to creating an effective program. Every company or industry is different. Thus, making a tailor-made program to suit the company’s needs is the best option.
If you’re thinking about how to customize? Here are a few examples:
- Analyze what the number of diversified people in your company is?
- Do they get moderate treatment, or have they faced discrimination?
- Are there differences amongst coworkers, and how do they deal with them?
- Has the indifference spread across the office, or is it confined to related individuals only?
- Do you see any signs of prejudices or bias from senior officials?
These are some of the instances you can consider while building a diversity training program.
Once you’ve analyzed the data and fixed the objectives and goals, you are ready to design the program as per your company’s needs, history and culture. Your program must leverage data and examples specific to your company.
Some employees learn about diversity and inclusion in business schools, and some don’t get that opportunity. So, this is a chance for you to introduce this training program to your employees for higher employee engagement and improved employee experience.
Live training based on workplace experiences holds more significant value than just reading and learning. This way, employees get a complete understanding of diversity and how a diverse workforce works.
Most people think they are modern, but they fail to accept their casual homophobia, racism, and stereotypes. To eradicate such situations, employees need to attend diversity training.
So, to create a successful diversity training program, follow the 7 steps mentioned above.