An effective DEI training program is an effective way of recruiting and retaining top talent, while at the same time combatting larger societal issues like racism and inequity.
Finding a training program tailored specifically to the needs of your company is of utmost importance; generic approaches will likely not yield desired results.
Creating a Culture of Inclusion
Employees who feel appreciated as individuals at work tend to be more productive and content in the workplace, leading them to be more efficient workers who enjoy greater job satisfaction and productivity. Employers that offer inclusive environments benefit from diverse teams being more innovative, resilient and meeting customer needs more efficiently than ones without diverse teams. But creating an inclusive culture takes more than simply recruiting an atypical team; creating it involves an overall shift in mindsets, behaviors and practices throughout an entire organization – this is why diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) training should be prioritized over just recruiting atypical people from one another – making DEI training imperative in creating inclusive cultures within organizations.
DEI training refers to any program designed to teach individuals to become more welcoming of others, less prejudiced against certain groups, and generally support those different than themselves. DEI programs may take the form of webinars, workshops, one-on-one coaching or group sessions and its goal is to foster an environment in which individuals can share experiences while learning from each other.
Training participants learn to identify barriers that prevent people from being included, including unconscious bias. Unconscious bias occurs when an individual makes decisions or acts upon beliefs without realizing they are discriminating against certain groups of people; for example, when hiring panels prefer male candidates over female applicants with equal qualifications. That would constitute unconscious bias.
By understanding their own biases, individuals can make conscious efforts to be more inclusive at work and foster a harmonious workplace environment where everyone is treated fairly regardless of gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
Diversity is good for business, and more companies are taking steps to implement diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies and training. HR should not solely shoulder this responsibility – each employee and manager has a role in cultivating an inclusive company culture.
Companies that prioritize DEI can take various steps to meet their goals, including instituting training programs, creating a diversity committee, and soliciting consistent employee feedback. Companies may also consider hiring an DEI specialist who can develop a personalized plan for them that addresses all their specific needs and goals – perhaps via workshops or seminars, or perhaps offering personal coaching for more complex issues.
Education employees on diversity issues and the effects of bias is an essential first step toward eliminating unconscious and structural discrimination at work environments. Diversity training equips leaders, people managers, and all other employees on how to recognize and overcome bias as well as create an inclusive workplace culture for all employees regardless of background or identity.
Diversity training enables employees to understand and appreciate differences among themselves and their co-workers, thus improving team cohesion. Furthermore, diversity training increases awareness of cultural practices such as understanding religious customs as well as celebrating various ethnicities and identities in the workplace. Research indicates that businesses that prioritize ethnic and cultural diversity are 36% more profitable than companies in the bottom quartile – creating loyalty among workers as a result.
Morally, DEI-focused initiatives make an compelling argument: in a workplace where everyone feels welcomed and appreciated, individuals will be better equipped to contribute their strengths to and succeed at fulfilling the company’s core business.
Not only can diversity training educate employees on how their background or identity might impact their work performance, it can also equip managers to understand privilege, history and discrimination more accurately in order to make decisions that do not disadvantage marginalized groups. For instance, managers trained on the importance of valuing diversity may be less likely to institute policies which penalize absence and lateness as these tend to disproportionately affect minority employees or women employees.
Making DEI programs sustainable requires making them part of an ongoing initiative rather than an isolated initiative. Diversity and inclusion take time, but the results can be substantial when all employees remain conscious of their biases and learn ways to reduce them, creating a more inclusive workplace for all employees. Therefore, ongoing DEI training must continue and keep momentum moving, even if additional work needs to be completed during this process.
Creating a Safe Workplace
Employees participating in DEI training gain skills for recognizing and understanding differences that help reduce tensions in the workplace, improve communication, lead to more creative decisions and decision-making process, as well as encourage retention at companies that value diversity and inclusion; employees that stay at these companies often work harder and go above and beyond their responsibilities to reach company goals while engaging with peers and managers more than those that don’t value diversity & inclusion as such; studies show that top quartile companies with ethnic and cultural diversity are 36% more profitable than fourth quartile ones with ethnic/cultural diversity (top-quartile companies with diversity being 36% more profitable than their counterparts without).
DEI training enables employees to overcome biases and prejudices that may be keeping underrepresented groups from excelling in the workplace. This can include uncovering unconscious bias – stereotypes formed without being conscious – as well as recognizing and mitigating microaggressions.
Companies that fail to prioritize diversity and inclusion are missing out on an incredible talent pool. Employees want to work for companies that value their contributions while treating all employees equally based on gender, race, caste or religious belief. Employees working at those that prioritize these issues tend to be more productive because their sense of teamwork grows stronger while they feel supported by peers – making training employees on diversity and inclusion essential in ensuring all workers receive fair treatment.
Ideal, DEI training should be integrated into the new hire onboarding process to make employees feel welcomed by your company from day one. This could involve videos, presentations or role-playing activities and should include multiple approaches for maximum engagement. It is also important to take into account any cultural holidays your employees might celebrate so you can ensure team members are aware of them while avoiding scheduling meetings during major holidays.
Implementing a culture of diversity and inclusion should not just be HR’s responsibility; rather it must become a company priority. Through methods such as highlighting unconscious bias, providing strategies to counter it, or setting SMART goals for your team members, DEI training is an integral component in creating an inclusive work culture.
Creating a More Innovative Workplace
Diversity can be invaluable to businesses, helping to fuel innovation. But diversity alone won’t do; employees need to be included in workplace culture and leadership positions to maximize their talent. That’s why companies require an inclusive training program in diversity, equity and inclusion for maximum benefit from talent pool.
DEI programs focus on five core areas that will meet each company’s training requirements:
Inclusion: By giving these groups a voice in organizational decisions and including their perspective into business strategies, inclusion means providing resources and encouragement so all employees have equal access to opportunities necessary for them to thrive at work.
Unconscious Bias: Unconscious bias refers to assumptions, beliefs and thoughts we hold subconsciously which shape how we view others. Unconscious bias often arises as a result of society and experiences with those different from us; DEI training programs strive to raise awareness and identify any unwitting biases or prejudices among workers before providing instruction on how to overcome them.
Building an inclusive workplace: Investing in diversity and inclusion training encourages employees to be themselves in the workplace while also giving them a deeper insight into the challenges marginalized employees are experiencing, creating empathy towards them. Furthermore, these programs enable employees to feel respected and valued by their company – increasing employee retention rates over time.
Employees from underrepresented groups will not be motivated to work hard for an organization that doesn’t recognize their contributions, while one that values equality and inclusion will attract these workers and be more competitive on the job market than those that don’t prioritize this issue.
Experts agree that an ongoing diversity and inclusion program can significantly improve workplace environments while engaging, loyal employees. A systematic program may prove more successful than one-off training sessions in this regard.
When it comes to diversity and inclusion training, hiring an expert team that can tailor a program specifically to the needs of your company is the best approach. Cornell ILR School’s eCornell online program features interactive modules taught by experienced faculty from Cornell’s ILR School that take two months to complete and come with a certificate from Cornell.