Diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) training is an integral component of creating a productive workplace culture. Employees gain knowledge on how they can understand and support others from diverse identities in the workplace.
Employees may also benefit from working together to address unconscious biases that could negatively impact them and their colleagues, and ultimately provide all with more sense of inclusion at work and make everyone feel like part of a community.
1. Understand Your Role
Diversity equity and inclusion training requires every participant to understand their role. You should set clear goals and expectations for your training program, communicate them to participants and equip them with resources necessary for meeting those objectives.
Before embarking on any training program, setting your objectives is key to its success. Do you wish to promote an inclusive culture at work or provide employees with resources they require for success in diverse work environments or create a safer work environment?
Your objectives should also address how you plan to measure the success of training. Perhaps employee retention rates or satisfaction with DEI initiatives, or which demographics within your company, might provide useful metrics.
Once you know your goals, it will become much easier to assess how much training is necessary and whether it meets them adequately. Once that has been determined, a DEI training strategy that helps meet them and foster an inclusive workplace culture will become necessary.
While all workers should receive training on DEI, leadership and management should take an especially active role in encouraging inclusive practices. As these individuals often have more influence within an organization than anyone else, it’s crucial they be empowered to lead by example and tackle bias from within.
As leaders take a stand for diversity and inclusion in their workplaces, it sets an empowering precedent that can contribute to increased inclusiveness and equality over time. Bold, courageous leadership at all levels is essential in building an ethos of diversity and inclusion within any company or institution.
2. Understand the Impact of Unconscious Bias
Unconscious bias has an impactful presence in diversity equity and inclusion training that HR professionals must understand. Recognizing everyone has biases can have serious ramifications on hiring decisions, candidate assessments and day-to-day work activities.
Unconscious biases are stereotypes and prejudices held against certain groups, whether based on ethnicity, race, gender identity, religion, age or physical abilities.
Some forms of unconscious biases may be more prevalent, so it’s crucial for leaders to become knowledgeable on all forms of bias that may impact the workplace and to help their employees recognize how such bias can impede performance and career success. Furthermore, employees need to recognize its effect on job performance and career advancement.
LGBTQ community members, in particular, are particularly susceptible to biases and discrimination in the workplace. One study revealed that nearly one out of every ten LGBTQ employees said they had left their job due to perceived lack of support for their sexual orientation.
LGBT members generally feel more valued and appreciated when part of an inclusive company culture, and many companies are making efforts to cultivate one by providing their employees with resources for combatting bias.
Employees can benefit from engaging with various resources that address unconscious bias, such as podcasts, webinars and online programs that explore it. Furthermore, employees can learn how to recognize when their own biases cause issues in the workplace and take steps to change them.
3. Understand Your Employees
As an organization, you should have an in-depth knowledge of your employees and how they operate. This will allow you to set appropriate diversity equity and inclusion training goals as well as ensure all team members receive the assistance they require in order to maximize their time at work.
McKinsey research indicates that employees who perceive an inclusive workplace environment are more likely to remain employed and actively contribute within their organizations, in addition to feeling motivated and appreciated as individuals by their employers.
However, according to another survey conducted on women, ethnic and racial minorities and those who identify as LGBTQ+ often face additional barriers when trying to become part of your team. Therefore, it’s essential that your workplace creates an atmosphere in which all team members feel respected and valued.
Diversity equity and inclusion training is an excellent way to achieve this. Through such training, employees will learn how to recognize biases and stereotypes within themselves and others.
DEI training can assist employees in understanding the significance of diversity in everyday life and how they can create an inclusive workplace environment. They may also learn ways to be better communicators with both colleagues and managers.
Employee resource groups (ERGs) can be an excellent way to foster diversity in the workplace. Tailored specifically to your team’s needs and offering an open forum where employees can safely discuss any of their feelings or concerns about diversity issues, ERGs can also serve as a great way to build workplace diversity.
Mailshake, an email marketing company, demonstrated their dedication to diversity by increasing female applicants by 10 percent in four steps. Their recruiting process now features more female candidates while job descriptions have been revamped to be gender neutral. Lastly, mentorship programs were implemented so new hires can quickly integrate and form part of an inclusive team environment.
4. Understand Your Company’s Culture
Every organization has its own culture, and understanding how to identify and assess it is crucial if a company wants to become an inclusive workplace.
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training can assist an organization in reaching its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) goals. DEI courses equip employees with tools necessary to foster an inclusive workplace culture.
Companies can foster an inclusive workplace culture by including all employees in decision-making processes, hiring practices and leadership development opportunities. Furthermore, this requires taking time to discuss what matters most to employees as well as their impression of the current state of the company.
Communication of this message across the board is also key; using slogans or pictures may help, but don’t forget to live it yourself!
Setting clear expectations for communication between management and employees is also vitally important, helping each employee understand what is expected from them within the company.
As well, the culture of a company typically reflects its leaders’ core values such as sustainability, kindness or equality; values which define an organisation typically translate to their leadership styles.
An inclusive culture fosters teamwork, cooperation and inclusivity while celebrating success and rewarding employees for their hard work.
Start developing your company culture by sitting down and outlining its values, which will serve as the cornerstone for everything else about it.
5. Understand Your Employees’ Needs
In developing a diversity equity and inclusion training program for your employees, it’s crucial that you understand their expectations. They should feel safe being themselves while being accepted at work without feeling judged for doing so.
As part of training, it’s also essential that everyone involved can benefit from it, either voluntary or mandatory. Either way, be flexible when tailoring a program specifically to your organization.
Utilizing surveys to gather feedback is an efficient and effective way of learning about what your employees are feeling and experiencing in their workplace, providing vital insights that will assist in creating more inclusive working environments and providing the basis for future training programs.
There is an array of diversity equity and inclusion trainings that can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your organization, such as facilitated conversations, cultural sensitivity trainings, unconscious bias trainings and accommodation workshops.
DEI programs that have proven most successful are those that empower employees to take an active role in creating an inclusive work environment, according to Jeremy Greenberg, founder of Avenue Group. Such training sessions may also focus on company culture, leadership development or career advancement.
Employers that encourage employees to be themselves can help foster an atmosphere of belonging and community, leading to higher employee performance as well as happier, healthier workers.
Research shows that companies that commit strongly to Diversity & Equal Inclusion (DEI) tend to be more successful. Leadership support for DEI initiatives is necessary in order for them to be implemented and enforced properly and set an example for your employees.