Diversity training is frequently an aspect of employee development that is either nonexistent or archaic. Employees dread undergoing diversity training and they often see it as outdated and unnecessary.
Unfortunately, this can be detrimental to an organization.
The benefits of good diversity training include:
- An improvement in overall employee morale.
- More efficiency in the workplace because of an enhanced level of communication amongst employees.
- Mitigation of risk that can occur in a work environment that’s not culturally sensitive.
- Better employee retention.
- More acceptance of a wide variety of viewpoints that can be beneficial in a business sense.
So how do you reap these benefits and avoid the common misconceptions about diversity training?
By making it engaging.
Consider these ideas that will help your diversity training program flourish and resonate with your employees, rather than being met with eye rolls and reluctance:
- When you’re creating diversity training, it shouldn’t be “just because.” You should be able to highlight clearly what your business objectives are, and make a case for investing in it just as you would any other type of training. Define your goals and align them with strategic business plans. Your employees and stakeholders will be more interested in the prospect of diversity training if it feels relevant to their job and the organization.
- Consider making it optional. Often training managers make the mistake of forcing employees to participate in diversity training. When that’s the case, it can come off as inauthentic and something that’s only designed for legal compliance. By making it optional employees are more likely to see it as something that’s being done for their benefit and the benefit of the business.
- Emphasize the role diversity training plays in corporate culture. Corporate culture is a buzz phrase right now, and it’s something big name corporations like Amazon and Google are highly focused on. Create diversity training with an eye toward improving corporate culture and employees are more likely to be interested and see its value.
- Look at diversity training as a process, rather than a one-time occurrence. It should be considered a progression, as with any type of employee development program. Create a diversity training program where each concept builds on the next and leads to a progressive learning experience.
- Use the technology at your disposal. If you don’t want diversity training to feel outdated, make sure it isn’t. Diversity training works well when you involve collaborative and social elements, so people are invited to share their experiences and their feelings. Use a learning management system that offers collaborative tools to ensure diversity training feels contemporary and exciting.
- Make sure everyone is involved in diversity training. This type of training is one of those rare instances where everyone can and should get involved, regardless of position, experience level or seniority. Show your employees that everyone is dedicated to creating and maintaining a more diverse and culturally sensitive workplace.
- When creating training, consider working with a third-party expert. Diversity training is very unique and may require the input of an expert. When you’re designing your virtual training consider outsourcing to someone with a great deal of experience in the area of corporate diversity training. If you’re using hosted webinars or online discussions, invite an expert to host a few of these sessions. It will broaden everyone’s perspective and strengthen training.
These are some of our tips to make diversity training resonate—what do you find works well in your workplace? Where are some areas you feel as if your diversity training could be strengthened?
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