When it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), we know there is much work to be done. From increasing cultural awareness and a sense of belonging among team members, to improving pay equity and representation, DEI must be ingrained in many aspects of business.
Workplace diversity training can help on this journey.
This is not a one-and-done task, but rather an ongoing program that brings your team closer to reaching your DEI goals. Topics can range from broad—such as unconscious bias training and sensitivity training—to specific—such as LGBTQ best practices and hiring the formerly incarcerated. And they may be delivered in many different formats, including workshops, live speakers, and online micro learning platforms.
In turn, workplace diversity training can help your team:
1. Recognize and overcome biases
Everyone has implicit bias. It stems from our brain’s tendency to seek patterns, and is influenced by social conditioning and life experiences.
Unconscious bias training is a good first step toward learning to recognize and overcome these biases. For instance, we may be biased against a woman for a promotion if she is too assertive, while we may be biased toward a man with the same trait. Questioning these biases—in ourselves and in others—can create a more equitable workplace.
We may even be able to re-program these biases through cultural awareness. Learning about topics like Black history and religious holidays can bring about greater understanding and respect. Try booking a speaker during Black history month, or share interesting facts about holidays in a Slack channel.
2. Build a more inclusive recruitment process
Your recruitment process may be repelling—or screening out—candidates from underrepresented groups. Diversity recruitment training can help you craft better job descriptions, source for diversity, and build an overall more inclusive recruitment process.
Interviewer training may also help create a more equitable recruitment process. For example, interviewers should know how to conduct structured interviews and how to complete their interview scorecard. These help create a more consistent experience for all candidates, so they’re on a more even playing field.
A more inclusive recruitment process can help your organization attract, engage, and close a more diverse slate of candidates. You may also see a boost to your employer brand, helping you attract even more candidates from underrepresented groups.
3. Build a more inclusive workplace
Without an inclusive workplace, your diversity recruitment efforts will be all for naught. Team members who don’t feel they belong may not be comfortable sharing their diverse perspectives, thus hindering collaboration and innovation.
Sensitivity training can help increase belonging and inclusion. For instance, it may help leaders better understand and manage neurodiverse team members, or it may help younger workers better communicate with older workers. When team members are more respectful of their colleague’s differences, everyone can feel more included.
An inclusive workplace will encourage team members to bring their authentic selves to work. This can lead to higher employee engagement, as team members feel their opinions and contributions are valued. Engaged employees often go above and beyond in their work, leading to higher productivity and profitability for the company.
4. Maintain compliance and mitigate the risk of litigation
Discrimination laws can vary by country, state, province, county, and city. In the United States, for example, workplace discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information is illegal. Discirimination claims can lead to government action, lawsuits, and damage to your company’s reputation.
Workplace diversity training can help you better comply with the law. For example, pay equity training can help you understand how to measure pay equity, and how to address inequities you may find. Other compliance training may help you understand a pregnant or breastfeeding mother’s rights, for example. Many laws have been put in place to ensure workplace equity, and following them can both keep you out of trouble and help you create more inclusive culture.
There are certainly no shortage of workplace diversity training opportunities, so it’s in your best interest to focus on those your organization needs the most. For instance, if you know turnover is higher among women because they don’t feel they’re fairly paid, focus on pay equity training. Keep an eye on your HR data to track your progress as you advance toward your DEI goals.