Diversity Training 101

by: diversio

In today’s global, distributed workforce, it is easier than ever before to hire employees from different places, backgrounds, and cultures. But simply making diverse hires may not be enough to create a truly inclusive workplace, where these differences are valued and respected. Inclusivity is not an attitude: it’s a skill, and it can be taught. That’s where diversity training in the workplace comes in.

What is Diversity Training?

Diversity training is a formal workplace training and information program that teaches employees how to engage in positive interactions, reduce unconscious biases, and work together effectively. Diversity training is often customized for different departments, with specialized courses for company leadership, human resources, and diversity training for employees. Diversity training teaches the practical skills they need to:

  • Communicate more effectively with people of different backgrounds
  • Recognize unconscious bias in themselves and others
  • Build trust and cooperation
  • Celebrate the value that diversity brings to workplace products and projects

In order for diversity training to be effective, it cannot be simply tacked on to existing employee onboarding procedures, or adopted in response to a public relations problem or crisis. Diversity and inclusion need to be fully integrated into the company culture and recognized as part of the shared goals of the leadership, the workforce, and the customer. In fact, it is only when differences are celebrated, rather than tolerated, that a company begins to enjoy the many benefits of having a diverse workforce.

Why is Diversity Training in the Workplace Important?

Simply put, when diversity training is effective, it unlocks the ability of all your employees (not simply the diverse ones) to achieve their full potential. Diversity training for employees makes a workplace more inclusive and accepting of the differences of others. Inclusivity in the workplace has a host of benefits, including:

  • Fostering innovation. In today’s competitive business environment, innovation and creativity matter more than ever. Studies show that, when working toward a common goal, diverse teams are more innovative than homogenous teams. When they are empowered to contribute meaningfully, diverse employees bring alternative experiences and perspectives to products and processes and can pose new alternatives and solutions.
  • Improving workplace morale. Diversity training includes communication skills and empathy training that benefit all employees, reducing microaggressions and improving collaboration. This has a positive effect on employee satisfaction and morale, making employees happier and more satisfied at work.
  • Boosts employee retention. As you might expect, happier employees stay longer. Low retention rates can be a huge drain on company finances and resources, and research shows that employees’ perceptions of diversity and inclusion improve loyalty and retention.
  • Increases company performance. Finally, and (for some business leaders), most importantly, diversity improves performance and profits. Multiple studies show that diversity improves productivity and financial returns, especially at the highest levels of leadership.

On the other hand, most literature indicates that companies only enjoy these benefits when diversity is embraced in a culture of shared values and mutual collaboration. When companies make diverse hires without truly including them, they typically don’t gain the full benefits of diversity, no matter what the statistical composition of the workforce may be.

Why Choose Diversio for Diversity Training in the Workplace?

As the research indicates, there are several criteria for diversity training in the workplace to actually be effective in creating an inclusive workplace. Here are three characteristics of effective diversity training for employees:

  1. Based on data and analysis. Every organization is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all diversity strategy. In addition, many business leaders may not have objective insight into their biggest diversity challenges. When diversity training is based on a foundation of fact-finding and data, it is more likely to meet the specialized needs of an organization.
  2. Integrated into company culture and shared goals and values. Diversity training cannot simply be a day-long seminar and then everyone goes back to “business as usual.” Instead, employees need to be immersed in a culture where differences are celebrated, and alternative viewpoints are valued as contributing toward shared objectives.
  3. Includes measurable goals and outcomes. Effective diversity training includes measurable goals and outcomes and works toward achieving those metrics.

Diversio’s comprehensive, data-driven diversity solutions are designed and led by industry experts and tailored to the unique needs of your company. Our comprehensive D&I portfolio can empower all your employees, unlocking their potential and driving measurable change. Contact us for a virtual tour of the Diversio platform.

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Diversity Training 101