Importance of Diversity & Inclusion Training in the Workplace
Aug 26, 2021
Aug 26, 2021
There is a long list of benefits to creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce, including higher productivity, more innovation, and improved morale. To fully reap the benefits of diverse staffing, however, you need to provide your team members with diversity and inclusion training. It can help your team become more engaged with each other and promote inclusion across the board. While that may sound easy, creating a diverse workforce can be a challenge.
In some cases, team members have come to resent diversity training and experienced negative impact from diversity training. That certainly wasn’t the goal when employers set out to implement inclusion training. This has led many companies to look for better ways to implement diversity and inclusion practices into their business. But, first, you need to understand the importance of diversity and inclusion training in the workplace.
Diversity and inclusion training is essentially a way to educate your team members about how to work with individuals from all different backgrounds. This is typically broken down into two types of training: awareness training and skills training.
Awareness training provides your staff with information that helps them empathize with fellow workers who are different from them. Differences might include age, race, gender, abilities, etc. This type of training is to simply open your staff’s eyes to how other individuals might feel or how they might approach certain scenarios differently.
When it comes to diversity and inclusion, skills training focuses on interpersonal skills. Most of the time, your training program will center around effective communication techniques and reducing bias. Both of these types of training can come in various forms. You can provide materials for your team members to read through on their own time, assign online assignments, or have a training facilitator come in to lead training. In the end, all of this training will hopefully lead to a work environment where team members of all backgrounds feel comfortable collaborating and working with each other.
Now that you have a good idea of what diversity and inclusion training entails, you may be wondering why it is important. As an employer, proper diversity training can help your company realize the many benefits of having a more inclusive workplace. This means higher financial returns, increased innovation, and a happier staff overall.
Training is a critical component of building diversity in your organization. After all, if your team members are still showing bias in their daily decisions or lack empathy, you won’t meet your diversity goals in the long run. By having a diverse hiring initiative, but not an inclusion initiative and training, you risk increasing the turnover in your organization. Money suck!! One without the other is not a successful strategy. The more you can educate your staff to other people’s perspectives, the more performance will improve. You need to run regular training programs to display your commitment to diversity in the workplace.
Be sure you are running your programs on a few different levels as well, meaning a personal level, team level, and company level. This will help ensure that everyone within your organization is covered when it comes to receiving the proper training. On an individual level, each person should have training resources provided to them. As a team, you might consider role-playing exercises and team-building exercises that place a focus on diversity. Company-wide you should take all of your communications into consideration. The way you interact with your team members should send the message that diversity and inclusion are an important part of your organization as a whole.
It is important to note that creating a diverse workforce won’t happen overnight either. You must implement various programs over time that promote diversity. Take a close look at your recruitment strategies, policies, benefits, promotion opportunities, and retention programs. Each of these things will have an impact on whether or not your diversity and inclusion efforts will be successful.
Providing proper diversity and inclusion training will have profound benefits for your organization. Believe it or not, building a more diverse workforce and inclusive work environment can help you make more money and improve morale amongst staff. A study by Boston Consulting Group, referenced by Forbes, looked at 1700 different companies across 8 different countries, with varying industries and company sizes. They have found that increasing diversity has a direct effect on the bottom line.
It has been proven that having a more diverse and inclusive workplace will help your business make more money. This is because more diversity in the workplace promotes productivity and creates a happier place to work all around. It will also make your customers happier in the long run because they will feel they are represented among your workforce, across generations, ethnicities, backgrounds, walks of life.
Many businesses have also found having a more diverse team leads to more innovation. This is because when you portray that your organization is dedicated to inclusion and diversity your team members will feel included. When they feel included, they are more likely to speak up with new thoughts and ideas. On top of that, when your team members have differing opinions and ideas, it will spark conversation.
As mentioned above, proper diversity and inclusion training will help your staff make better decisions on a daily basis. They will be able to take everyone’s point of view into consideration before moving forward with any decision. Decision-makers will be able to receive a fresh perspective from the people they work with and come up with solutions to problems that benefit everyone on the team.
The more diverse your company is, the larger the talent pool you will have access to will be. When you limit yourself, say to only men, or allow bias in your hiring decisions, you are limiting your access to talent in a huge way. Making your organization more accessible to people from all different walks of life will double the amount of talent you are put in touch with. Additionally, more people will want to apply to work with your company if they know you are inclusive.
One initiative HireLevel utilizes to open up talent pools is the 2ndChance program, reducing barriers to employment for eager job seekers who were previously justice involved.
Not only will you be able to attract more talent to open positions within your organization, but you will be able to better retain your team members as well. Workplace diversity has proven to be an important factor for all team members, whether they benefit from diversity policies directly or not. As mentioned above, it creates happier team members and a better work environment, which both help increase retention rates.
Having a more diverse workforce will also bring awareness of different trends and demographics to your organization. This will allow you to better serve those who may have been underrepresented in your target market before, leading to increased brand awareness. It will also give you the ability to speak to your customers in a way that they truly understand.
There are plenty of things that can go wrong when it comes to diversity and inclusion training. Usually, this training fails because it is not consistent Consistency is still always #1 when it comes to your human resources. That being said, you can create a training program that will actually work if you follow these best practices.
Start with why. Some team members may feel thrown off by diversity and inclusion training if they feel it comes out of nowhere. You need to explain the “why” behind pushing for more inclusion in the workplace. Start with explaining how it will have a positive impact on your business. Then break it down on a more individual level. Talk about how the training will make each person perform better and describe specific outcomes they can expect.
As mentioned above, there are two types of diversity and inclusion training. You should offer a mix of both awareness and skills training. Obviously, educating your team members about bias they may not have been aware they had will help them see things from a more even perspective. Once they are aware of potential bias, then help them build skills to use in the workplace. You might consider role-playing exercises and other techniques to help them hone in on good communication skills.
While it may seem like the individuals in your organization who need the training the most are the least likely to show up, making it voluntary is key to the program being successful. Forcing your team members to show up for diversity training isn’t likely to give you the results you are looking for. Instead, reiterate the benefits of attending training. Talk about the skills they will gain and how they will help them grow professionally.
As previously mentioned, you will want to implement other programs to build upon your training. A mentoring program is a great way to encourage diversity in the workplace. This gives your team members the chance to pass along their skills and knowledge to other people in the organization. In some cases, this may pass valuable knowledge to underrepresented individuals in the industry. It will also help your more seasoned team members conquer their own biases by interacting with people from various backgrounds.
To instill the fact that diversity and inclusion truly matter to you, you should try and incorporate it anywhere you can. Be sure it is present in other training programs and all of your communications with your team members.
Oftentimes, when employers consider diversity and inclusion, they only think of gender and race. There are other factors that should be thought of as well. Be sure you are taking different religions, ages, and abilities into account too.
You should set goals for what you want to achieve with diversity and inclusion. Do you want a more diverse leadership team? Do you want to have a wider representation of women or underrepresented individuals working with your organization? Do you want to find ways to make your hiring materials more inclusive? Whatever your goals may be, be clear about what you want to achieve and how it will benefit your bottom line.
Then, decide how you will measure success with diversity and inclusion. If you want to achieve more equality in our organization, gauge how you will measure that. If you would like to see a change in the attitude of your team members, perform surveys to see if the diversity and inclusion training has paid off.
One great way to improve diversity and inclusion within your organization is by working with a recruitment partner. They can help you by hiring more diverse candidates by avoiding bias and pulling talent from their already-established, diverse talent pool. After discussing your diversity and inclusion goals, a staffing firm can put together a plan for more inclusive staffing and training programs.
A staffing partner can also take the time to educate you, as an employer, about diversity recruiting and how your business will benefit from increased inclusion practices. Recruiters can help you consider what demographics you might be undeserving. For example, how do you cater to individuals with disabilities that want to interview with your company? Are you able to make proper accommodations? Recruiting experts can help you figure out how you can appropriately conduct an interview with someone that has special needs.
Beyond that, working with these workforce solutions experts to improve diversity will also help you make sure that you are within compliance in your industry. Many sectors have implemented policies to increase diversity and inclusion industry-wide. Working with a firm can help you ensure you are meeting these requirements.
HireLevel is equipped to assist you in meeting your diversity and inclusion hiring and recruiting goals. Contact us to learn more about how our team of professionals can help you.