Though businesses have made significant strides towards prioritizing diversity and inclusion in recent decades, the surge of social movements over the past year has made one thing clear: there is still room for improvement. As public outcry for social reform reaches new heights and federal grant initiatives seek to support underrepresented populations, now is the time to reflect on your business’s own efforts towards protecting marginalized workers.
Diversity and inclusion training offers a way to achieve this goal. Without it, interpersonal biases could limit your employees’ abilities to work easily, productively, and even safely with employees who are different from them. Let’s discuss the benefits of conducting this type of training, as well as some tips to ensure your program is effective.
Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion Training
Diversity and inclusion training aims to help employees identify and challenge their own unconscious biases. Because unconscious biases can affect thoughts, words, and actions in a variety of ways, it’s important that your employees be taught exactly how it presents itself, with examples and guidance on how to address each form.
Your diversity and inclusion training should seek to promote respectful and positive interactions in the workplace while reducing discrimination and prejudice between individuals based on factors like gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, age, religion, physical and mental ability, and socioeconomic status.
Benefits of diversity and inclusion training, include the following:
- It helps protect individuals in the workplace from harmful acts of discrimination, from milder forms of harassment and interpersonal conflict to full-fledged verbal and physical assault.
- It encourages collaboration by enhancing the interpersonal skills of your employees and empowering underrepresented groups to feel more valued and respected by their fellow employees.
- It drives up the value of your operation, leading to increased productivity, raised morale, lower turnover, and greater customer satisfaction overall.
- It offers a way to safeguard a healthy company culture during a time when person-to-person contact has become largely limited.
- It shows your dedication to creating a truly inclusive workplace, something that can help mitigate legal risks.
Tips for Creating a Diversity and Inclusion Program
Like with most aspects of your organization, your diversity and inclusion training won’t look the same as your competitors’. Your workforce and the specific needs of your workforce will require a customized approach for optimum results.
That said, there are some standard guidelines for creating a diversity and inclusion program:
- Take time to research and plan. Assessing your operation’s diversity and inclusion needs can be invaluable for constructing a relevant and actionable program. Surveys, one-on-one meetings, and focus groups can help with assessing your company’s inclusion weak spots and identifying unresolved issues that could have greater consequences down the road.
- Clearly define the goals of your training. The objectives of your program should be well- established and identifiable by all those participating, regardless of your approach. For example, you might choose to deep dive into subjects such as microaggressions, unconscious bias, and cross-cultural communication.
- Make your diversity and inclusion training ongoing. Spreading diversity and inclusion training over an extended period of time, instead of having it once a year or during onboarding, could have greater results for your operation. Pacing out lessons can help employees retain information and connection to the values of your organization more consistently.
- Train employees at all levels. Confronting conscious and unconscious biases is not limited to just new hires or lower-level employees. Therefore, you need to make sure that all your employees participate in training regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. Workplace diversity has been found to be weakest at the leadership level, so make sure managers are held especially accountable.
- Go beyond training. Creating mentorship programs or support groups is another way to take your diversity and inclusion efforts to the next level. Watching videos or having cyclical in-class trainings may not be enough to get your workforce unified and embracing others’ perspectives. Additional measures can go a long way.
Train with a Learning Management Solution (LMS)
Diversity and inclusion training is a lot easier when you have the power of a Learning Management Solution (LMS) backing your business. These powerful HR solutions offer a way to train your employees, defend them from various industry hazards, and maintain compliance. They also offer a way to communicate your business’s values and nurture a healthy, diverse company culture.
EPAY Learning was created to handle all the content relevant to your hourly workforce and adapt seamlessly to your training needs. In addition to a catalogue of courses and customization options, our LMS can track the completion of employees’ training courses and monitor individual performance with ease.