Diversity, equity and inclusion training is an integral component of building a healthy work environment. Employees learn to respect each other without regard for differences, supporting one another with mutual respect and gratitude.
These courses also enable employees to recognize and address unconscious bias in the workplace and prevent microaggressions from taking place. Furthermore, there are various methods offered for learning about such important subjects.
Understanding the Business Case
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training has become an important trend in business today – for good reason! DEI training has proven its worth as an effective means of strengthening team collaboration or improving company culture while simultaneously yielding financial returns and other advantages.
Inclusion is the acceptance and appreciation of people from diverse genders, ethnicities, religions, disabilities, ages, sexual orientations socio-economic statuses or any other personal characteristics. Additionally it includes acknowledging experiences and skills from employees. A company with a diverse workforce committed to inclusion is often more productive, engaged and innovative than those without such practices in place.
Diversity within any group helps drive innovation by gathering together different viewpoints and ideas from people of various backgrounds, leading to improved solutions and greater creativity. Furthermore, it reduces employee feelings of undervaluing and leads them towards finding another employer who values them more – according to research by McKinsey & Co from 2020, companies which prioritize diversity hiring practices and support inclusive cultures tend to outperform those that don’t in terms of financial performance.
An effective DEI strategy starts in recruitment. Unconscious biases and inappropriate job descriptions, interview questions or hiring practices may prevent qualified candidates from landing jobs. Diversity and inclusion training is designed to educate employees about these unconscious biases so they can learn how to overcome them in future.
Once you’ve attracted top talent to your organization, it is critical that all employees feel they have a chance at succeeding within it. For example, if women or LGBT people lack career paths within it or do not participate in leadership roles then this may prompt them to seek employment elsewhere and take their skills elsewhere.
As such, it’s essential that a comprehensive diversity and inclusion training program be designed that addresses all aspects of an inclusive work environment. This should include learning about bias and prejudice impacts; recognizing barriers to diversity and inclusion initiatives; understanding leadership support of such efforts and the necessity of leadership support through online courses, books and other educational materials. Furthermore, providing regular diversity and inclusion refresher courses to all employees to maintain knowledge.
Creating a Culture of Inclusion
By adopting DEI practices within your organization, you can help foster an atmosphere that embraces diversity of both people and ideas. This will make your business more competitive while drawing talented employees who appreciate a workplace that treats them with respect – increasing longevity and productivity for the bottom line.
Your workplace can also become more inclusive by providing all employees with training to develop positive attitudes and behaviors toward people who may differ from them, thus decreasing bias or other forms of discrimination that could potentially harm its culture.
One of the best ways to provide training is via videoconferencing or e-learning courses. Workers can easily access these programs on their own time and at their convenience; additionally, they serve as reinforcement to other training methods like in-person classes or webinars. No matter which approach is taken, make sure all members of your workforce can benefit equally from any method chosen – this applies both for entry level employees as well as senior executives.
An effective way to bring everyone on board is encouraging leaders to participate in training and demonstrate their dedication to creating an inclusive workplace culture. Leaders can share how their own experiences and perspectives have informed their beliefs regarding diversity within the workplace as well as demonstrate how their leadership skills have helped promote inclusion within that workplace environment.
Training can also help people recognize the various identities that comprise a person and how these elements impact their work experience, including age, disability status, ethnicity, family background, gender identity and expression, race or national origin, religion or socio-economic status. Inclusivity training also can teach employees about any barriers that different abilities might face in fulfilling their job duties; such as physical or digital restrictions that prevent them from doing their jobs effectively.
Once your employees have received the appropriate training, it’s essential that you continue having regular and meaningful dialogues to monitor how their attitudes and behavior evolve over time. Furthermore, provide them with tools they need to develop inclusive habits while holding each other accountable for their actions.
Identifying Areas of Need
Step one in creating a diversity training program for your organization should be to assess where it currently stands on its journey. You can do this through surveys that assess employee satisfaction with current training programs and highlight any necessary improvements; alternatively you could conduct focus groups or interviews for additional insights.
Companies can choose from various levels of diversity training programs to suit their business needs. A basic awareness training program addresses diversity’s fundamental principles and how it influences workplace behaviors. This can be delivered either on-demand or live during training session and includes an overview of all of your employee roster’s cultures, races, genders, ages and religions.
Advanced diversity training programs feature strategies for mitigating bias while offering more comprehensive insight into the various identities in your workforce, including ability, age, class, ethnicity, family status, faith and gender identity and expression. One method of identification could include conducting recurring employee surveys that ask demographic data as well as open-text questions pertaining to activities they enjoy in their free time or whether or not they feel part of something at work.
Use these results to develop a training program tailored specifically to the needs of your employees. Repetition and reinforcement throughout the year is key – research conducted by McKinsey & Co. revealed that organizations investing consistently in diversity training were 36% more profitable than their less diverse counterparts.
Diverse and inclusive workforces also help companies establish a stronger brand image as businesses who take social issues seriously, particularly among millennials and Gen Z audiences. Companies known for supporting diversity and inclusion can attract talented employees that help maintain competitive advantages in today’s job market.
Creating a Training Plan
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives present an undeniable business case. Companies that prioritize diversity are more productive, innovative, and profitable; not just due to diverse employees bringing different experiences and perspectives into the workplace but also because people feel a deeper sense of loyalty for companies that care about them.
As part of an effective DEI program, the first step should be identifying areas in need of DEI assistance through surveys or conversations with employees. Once identified, training can be created to meet those needs – this could take the form of workshops, webinars, videos or online courses – but engaging and interactive training will provide better long-term memory retention and behavioral change than less engaging learning methods.
No matter how interesting or informative webinars may be, live training tailored specifically to each person’s workplace experience is still the best way to understand diversity and inclusion effectively. By showing real examples of how people in certain positions have had an effect on other colleagues in a more personal manner than abstract examples can offer, real understanding can be gained about the obstacles marginalized groups encounter in the workplace and foster empathy towards them.
An effective DEI training program should include topics ranging from unconscious bias and communication methods, to specific workplace issues like microaggressions and neutral language usage. Giving employees the tools they need for success is vital in creating an inclusive workplace that’s supportive of everyone involved.
Make sure that your leadership team is engaged in developing a DEI program, particularly those serving in leadership or people management roles, since these individuals often set the tone for company culture and lead initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion. Also involve younger workers as they are likely to respond well to DEI initiatives while sometimes even acting as sponsors for colleagues who wish to implement DEI initiatives.