Diversity training is an integral component of any organization’s growth strategy, as research indicates that businesses with more diverse workforces tend to outperform those without.
Trainings like these provide employees with the knowledge they need to understand unconscious bias and effectively communicate with their peers, while emphasizing the value of supporting and promoting diverse cultures.
Creating a Culture of Inclusion
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training is one of the best ways to ensure all employees from various backgrounds feel valued, respected and empowered at work. It does this by addressing unconscious biases–stereotypes we form without awareness–and microaggressions (negative actions we take against people due to those biases). DEI training also helps teams work more effectively together as having diverse viewpoints can contribute to more thoughtful decision-making and comprehensive problem solving processes.
However, DEI training alone won’t make an inclusive culture happen; for that to occur they must also participate actively in workshops and training events, championing inclusivity with both words and actions.
Leader involvement is vital in conveying that diversity isn’t simply about creating an atmosphere where everyone feels welcome; rather, it should create an environment in which people feel they belong. A sense of belonging at work is essential for employee satisfaction and retention – without it, employees might not put forth extra efforts to ensure their work is recognized, valued and recognized; instead they might look elsewhere for this sense of belongingness.
Your employees need to feel like their work environment is truly welcoming in order for them to reach their full potential. In order to foster that trust, leaders should share personal experiences and struggles as a way of showing that they care about employees – this could include forums like Slack groups or employee resource groups (ERGs), as well as events or educational opportunities.
Culture of inclusion goes beyond making everyone feel welcome: it means providing all employees with the tools and resources they need to reach their full potential and meet the challenges presented in their workplace environment. One way this can be achieved is with Diversity & Equality Inclusion training (DEI), which offers actionable strategies while encouraging employees to speak out when they witness discrimination or prejudice in the workplace.
Unconscious bias training is an integral component of any DEI program. It occurs when people make snap judgments based on social stereotypes about other groups; often occurring unknowingly but having serious repercussions in the workplace.
Unconscious bias training aims to help participants recognize and avoid biases they hold within themselves, through various techniques including:
By providing specific examples of bias behavior, employees can gain a better understanding of what to look out for. Some of the more prevalent forms of discrimination include:
One way to combat unconscious bias is through inclusive language use. This involves employing phrases with multiple interpretations instead of ones that are overtly offensive or discriminatory – this helps create a more welcoming workplace environment for all employees.
Effective DEI training goes beyond simply eliminating bias; it also addresses any contributing issues. This may involve making sure the organization is accessible to all employees – especially those with disabilities or LGBTQ+ identities – as well as including everyone in company leadership by creating a diverse C-suite and providing diversity training to leaders at all levels.
For your company’s DEI initiatives to be truly effective, data-driven approaches must be used in their evaluation. For example, conducting employee surveys that assess demographics and workplace experiences as well as likes/dislikes/family status/religion can provide you with a clear picture of what works and what can be improved upon.
Assuming an inclusive workplace culture can be an excellent way to increase productivity. By eliminating barriers to inclusion and encouraging employees from all backgrounds to contribute, your company can thrive – giving it a competitive advantage over those with lower levels of gender and racial diversity. McKinsey found that companies with greater gender and racial diversity achieved 36% higher profits.
Creating a Safe Workplace
Building a safe workplace requires training that includes discussions about discrimination, violence and harassment as well as encouraging open communication among employees to ensure they feel they can speak up when they feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Furthermore, diversity training may include activities and workshops specifically designed to develop skills and foster empathy within employees.
These activities and workshops may include Allyship Workshops which aim to equip participants with skills such as active listening, advocacy and using privilege to support underrepresented groups. Culture competency exercises could also include sessions that help employees understand the intersectionality between various social identities such as race, gender and sexual orientation. An inclusive hiring simulation may also be included to encourage participants to identify their biases and select candidates based on skills and qualifications rather than demographic factors. An employee-led diversity book club could promote continuous learning and dialogue around topics related to marginalized groups’ literature, for instance. Furthermore, an intersectionality workshop may include creating personal social identity maps as a visual way for employees to explore the various components of their identity that connect together – providing employees an avenue through which they can discover themselves further and how these aspects intersect with one another.
Diversity training programs that succeed are those which draw from culture and focus on changing attitudes and beliefs that promote inequity. Such programs could include training on implicit bias – the automatic and unreflective assumptions we make that affect perceptions and judgments – or microaggressions, which are subtle forms of discrimination which may harm someone’s self-esteem and make them feel excluded or disrespected.
Diversity training should also address policies and procedures that perpetuate inequities, such as hiring practices, promotions and performance evaluations that could create inequity. Furthermore, training could cover how to create an equitable work environment through continuous learning programs, wellness initiatives or encouraging employee feedback; leaders at all levels should demonstrate leadership commitment by actively engaging in diversity efforts.
Creating a More Productive Workforce
People working for companies that appreciate diversity are more engaged and productive. Employees tend to share ideas, collaborate effectively and support each other more often – leading to higher profits and increased competition for businesses. Furthermore, employees who feel at ease in the workplace tend to produce better and are less likely to leave than otherwise, saving companies money on recruiting and training costs.
Training not only equips employees with the tools needed for success in a diverse workplace, but it can also prevent discrimination and foster a more welcoming environment for underrepresented groups. Training may address concepts like intersectionality – explaining how different aspects of an individual’s identity interact – such as being LGBTQ+ and neurodivergent can have profoundly different experiences both at work and socially. By emphasizing respecting differences during training sessions, employees become better prepared to achieve company goals together as a cohesive unit.
Diversity training also involves helping employees understand the effects of their biases and prejudices on the work they perform. This can be accomplished through explaining unconscious bias – the unsaid prejudices or preconceptions an individual might harbor about certain groups – as well as microaggressions (subtle forms of discrimination that go undetected by employees) as a method.
Education on these topics can also enhance employees’ abilities to communicate more inclusively with colleagues and customers. Employees may learn about different cultural traditions and holidays that help them be more respectful when communicating with colleagues from other backgrounds; by acknowledging that everyone has unique experiences, employees may develop empathy and become more accepting of different points of view.
At its core, leading by example is the best way to promote DEI within an organization. Employees will more readily support programs backed by top executives. Furthermore, many organizations have found that senior leaders who undergo diversity and inclusion training themselves tend to be more effective at creating an inclusive culture than those who don’t take this step themselves.