Over the past few years the pandemic, polarizing politics, and movements for racial and social justice have brought the push for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) to the spotlight in companies big and small.
But creating a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace is easier said than done; it requires many moving parts to work together at once. This includes:
- Developing a long-term strategy
- Getting buy-in from leadership
- Allocating the right resources
- Coordinating communications, training, and education
- … and more!
From HR and training perspectives, a diversity program is one of the most important elements of improving workplace culture and fostering inclusive attitudes.
Training should rely on flexible tools that can help you to communicate your DEI goals and expectations, create opportunities for feedback and dialogue, and improve everyday relations between your team members.
These five training topics will help you foster a more welcoming, inclusive, and positive workplace culture:
1. Understanding the Difference Between Diversity and Inclusion
Most people know what diversity means, but the concept of inclusion takes it a step further and often needs to be broken down.
If diversity is a mix of people with different backgrounds, abilities, cultural histories, experiences and perspectives, then inclusivity takes this to the next level by involving underrepresented or marginalized people at all levels of an organization’s workforce andleadership.
Inclusive managers invite and listen to underrepresented voices and encourage interactions between different departments, roles, and management levels.
2. Increasing Awareness of Unconscious Bias
Unconscious bias, also known as hidden bias or implicit bias, is one of the biggest challenges to DEI.
Unconscious bias can be good or bad, but it happens when people (usually unintentionally) make assumptions or judgments about others based on stereotypes about their gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, or other factors.
Training for all employees and leaders, including hiring managers especially, can help people understand and recognize the unconscious biases they may have and minimize its influence on workplace practices and policies.
3. Recognizing and Addressing Microaggressions
Microaggressions refer to everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental insults, slights, or snubs that communicate derogatory or hostile feelings towards people in an underrepresented or marginalized group.
Some examples of microaggressions are:
- Always interrupting women during meetings
- Assuming someone’s sexual orientation by their appearance
- Assuming a person of colour is an immigrant
Microaggressions are toxic to healthy workplace cultures and to DEI because they may not seem important in the moment, but over time they can lead to workplace burnout, health problems, and other negative issues.
DEI training helps employees recognize what microaggressions are, how to respond to them, and how to handle microaggressions whether they’re witnessing, receiving, or being called out for them.
4. Encouraging Allyship and Intervention
Bystander intervention – when someone sees a microaggression or other kind of inappropriate behaviour – is one of the most effective ways to have a positive influence on your workplace culture.
Being an active bystander helps DEI efforts by teaching different ways to be advocates and allies of coworkers who are the target of bias, microaggressions, and other non-inclusive behaviour.
5. Recognizing the Link Between Diversity and Preventing Workplace Harassment
DEI training offers an opportunity for companies to reinforce anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies by implementing procedures and encouraging team members to speak up and report misconduct.
A study commissioned by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that diversity is one of the best ways to reduce workplace harassment. This doesn’t just apply to gender and race; a lack of respect for diversity of thought can also lead to harassment within the workplace, so it’s essential to foster environments where team members feel safe and supported, regardless of differences of opinion or personal viewpoints.
Start Implementing DEI Today
DEI training is part of a holistic, long-term strategy that helps all employees benefit and enjoy working with one another, which helps with recruiting and retention.
To start taking your workplace down the path to diversity, equity, and inclusion, sign up for our self-paced DEI program today.