What Is Diversity Training?

When people hear terms like diversity and inclusion in the workplace, some of them might just assume it has something to do with “political correctness” or “affirmative action” and leave it at that. But it’s actually about teaching employees and managers how they can embrace their differences and work together for their advantage. 

Diversity and inclusiveness can have an encouraging effect on many aspects of an organization, from business strategies and financial returns, to positive work environments, and even consumer opinions within the wider community.  

As more and more companies are understanding just how important a history of diversity and inclusion can be in the workplace, this kind of training will continue being an imperative part of any modern business.

What is diversity training?

Diversity training is the most effective tool for promoting inclusivity within the workplace by addressing differences in a positive light. These can be differences in gender, age, religion, and sexual orientation, or nationality, ethnicity, and language, as well as differing socio-economic statuses or abilities.  

And the training is used to educate employees about their interactions with people they come into contact with, from other co-workers and team members, to customers, suppliers, and everyone else. 

Also sometimes called inclusivity training, effective diversity training helps improve how each employee works together by teaching them about the unique and valuable perspectives they all provide as a team for your company.  

By training your employees how they can leverage inclusivity to work together better, it also helps increase their awareness of any possible diversity issues, whether they’re in the form of their beliefs, assumptions, misconceptions, or any other unintentional and unconscious bias. 

This form of training teaches important skills regarding how employees can interact better with others, even though they may be from different backgrounds with different opinions or contrasting perspectives.  

In other words, diversity programs provide them with the requisite abilities they need to collaborate, interact, and work together better as a team. So, not only does it emphasize the benefits of celebrating diverse workforces, but it also addresses how each individual is represented within the company and in the community.

 

Why is diversity training important in the workplace?

When diversity and inclusion training has been carried out correctly, it provides a wide variety of benefits and advantages for the workforce and the company as a whole.  

By empowering underrepresented individuals within your company, not only they will feel more confident, but different people working together can also help them become more diligent, harder-working, and extra creative. Besides, by implementing a program for sensitivity training is the best way to reduce the risk of harassment and discrimination within your workplace. 

From a business perspective, these benefits can include increased innovation, improved decision-making, and reduced discrimination in the workplace. Simply by removing any barriers to an inclusive working environment, diversity training helps everyone feel comfortable to be authentic when they bring themselves to work.  

It’s this kind of employee engagement that ultimately fosters a company's culture that inspires positive attitudes and behaviors. All of which are essential for building and maintaining a diverse workplace that’s always respectfully inclusive. 

Not only does workplace diversity training enhance creativity, but it can also improve financial returns for many companies. That’s because whenever a diverse team people from diverse backgrounds are working together as a group, they often tend to find the most innovative ways of solving problems. Thanks to their uniquely different experiences and perspectives, their better decision making actually leads to much more effective results. 

Beyond the many business-related advantages like boosted engagement and employee productivity, promoting workplaces that are comfortable, accepting, and tolerant of diverse employees is exceptionally valuable in other ways too.  

It’s an ethically conscious decision that not only helps ensure your entire company has zero tolerance for discrimination, but also that your community as a whole is a much better place to be.

 

 

What are some of the difficulties with diversity training?

As you can see, diversity and inclusion training can be hugely beneficial for almost any company, as long as it’s been done right.  

That’s why the vast majority of management positions within the business world are still predominantly white males. So these large corporations are still slapped with lawsuits for discrimination, despite them spending billions each year attempting to manage their diversity effectively. 

As it can be quite difficult to do this type of training effectively, it’s important that you use a reputable provider. Because even discussing cultural diversity or inclusive culture in some workplaces can cause feelings of anxiety and create conflicts.  

Instead of providing employees with the instructions and insights they need to learn how they can work more effectively together as a team, it sometimes does the opposite and actually reinforces the differences between them. 

When this training hasn’t been provided correctly, the diversity within a group has been shown to increase discomfort and conflict when employees are interacting or tasked to work as a team.  

In fact, some research has shown that when training is only focused on some aspects of diversity like gender or nationality, it can cause issues between employees who feel left out due to their difference in religion or ability. That’s why it’s so important that diversity and inclusivity training is done right.

How to correctly implement diversity training?

When types of diversity trainings have been implemented correctly, it helps combat the inherent risks of workplace harassment or discrimination. There are also the additional benefits of improved awareness, heightened morale, increasing diversity, as well as exceptional productivity within the workplace.

But if your staff doesn’t know how to work well together as a team, your company will most likely be unsustainable so you won’t reap these benefits.While adequately diverse representation in the workplace is important, simply having an equal employment opportunity is only one small part of creating a truly inclusive workplace.  

The best way to cultivate inclusion when implementing this training is by making it voluntary while also pointing out the obvious benefits of a diverse workplace. That way each participant won’t feel as though they’ve been forced to get involved, while understanding why this training is so beneficial. 

There’s no way this type of training could ever be effective if it’s just a 30-minute workshop that HR manages once every year, especially if it’s only being done due to company compliance, the request of human resource management, or just so there is a certificate hanging in the reception.  

In order to properly promote inclusivity and become an effective part of the overall company culture, this type of training should always be ongoing. That means it may need to be updated over time and maybe even custom courses modified to suit the learning experiences of each individual employee. 

It’s also very important to be aware that this kind of diversity inclusion training is not some kind of silver bullet for diversity in the workplace. But with regular reinforcement of inclusivity goals as well as a series of ongoing workshops and programs, diversity has a much higher likelihood of becoming an integral aspect of your business.  

And when your managers learn how to coach employee attitudes, the training will eventually become less about a set of workplace rules, and will be on board with reinforcing inclusive behaviors.

How to become a diversity trainer?

Awareness of inclusion and diversity training for business has been rising consistently over the past decade, and this is not likely to change. If you’ve committed to investing in an employee training to deliver successful diversity training in an ongoing capacity, the importance of diversity is to ensure they have the right skill-set and experience required to deal with it.  

In order to be an effective diversity trainer, they must not only have exemplary communication skills, but also a deep and honest understanding of what inclusivity means in the workplace, the broad range of issues that may be involved with this topic, and how to promote better working relationships within diverse workplaces. 

Once you have a reliable employee who has diversity certification as a qualified diversity professional, they can then start learning the required skills to train more of your employees to become diversity trainers. 

Employees learn a wide variety of critical skills so they can provide engaging, helpful, informative, and factual training sessions to your other employees. Your new trainer of diversity trainers will then be able to effectively teach them how to analyze, facilitate, and manage a variety of difficult situations which are centered on diversity topics.

 

 

Find out more

While inclusion and diversity training programs obviously helps preventing bias, discrimination and harassment at work, there is always so much more that can be done. We all need diversity and inclusivity in our workplaces if we ever hope to grow, change, and evolve.  

That’s why so many companies are now starting to regard this type of training as not just a crucial aspect of their ongoing growth, but also as a competitive advantage when hiring new employees. And once your employees all learn how they can embrace the diversity within your workplace, the more they are going to feel like they are an important and productive part of your team.

The CFS Team
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