Nowadays, businesses have a diverse workforce and are investing more time, energy, and effort into developing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs to make sure all team members feel respected, valued, and heard.
What is Diversity Training?
Diversity training is a professional training program designed to create positive interactions across diverse workforces by reducing prejudice, discrimination, and showing people from different cultures and life experiences how to work together in a team environment.
Topics that DEI training often cover have to do with awareness around:
- Race, culture, religion, ethnicity, language or nationality
- Age, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation,
- Physical and mental disabilities
- And more!
DEI training is about more than being “politically correct” or “woke” — it’s about learning how to respect and embrace differences among team members and reap the rewards that everyone’s unique inputs can bring to the table.
What’s the Goal of Diversity Training?
The goal of diversity training is to increase awareness of everyone’s racial, cultural, and diversity types, perspectives, inputs, knowledge, and communication preferences.
DEI training often highlights the benefits that can occur as a result of the uniqueness of each employee, and shows groups of individuals how to see, understand, and value those differences. The outcome is better collaboration that can be used to reach a common goal.
It also leads to inclusion and ensures that each employee is treated respectfully and equitably, and that employees are given opportunities and resources that suit them.
How to Do Diversity Training Right
Implementing a successful DEI training program requires time and effort — you can’t just walk around saying “this is how we do things now;” you need to get buy-in from your teams and help everyone feel included.
A word of caution: the wrong implementation of DEI programs can lead to more problems, causing employees to disengage, argue, or even leave the company altogether.
Here are some “best practices” in diversity training to create an engaging and effective DEI program:
Start With Yourself
DEI training is intended to have a positive effect on your workplace. It promotes the reduction (and eventual elimination) of biases and discrimination, and shows team members how to work together in a respectful way.
The first place to start is with yourself. Research training opportunities (like this one), read blog posts about the topic (like these) and make creating a positive and diverse workplace a goal you’re committed to achieving.
Have a Daily Practice
One of the best ways to incorporate DEI training into your workplace is to have a daily practice.
A great way to do this is to ask employees to identify historical events or special dates that are important to their culture or background, or align with their experiences and celebrate them together as a team.
Religious holidays associated with different faiths such as Islam, Christianity, and Judiasm, along with Black History Month, Pride Month, Asian Pacific Heritage Month, and others, are all great opportunities to learn about each other’s histories, beliefs, and perspectives.
Be Clear About the Goal
Being intentional is key to success, and DEI training is no exception. Make sure everyone is aware of the common goals and ask for input on an ongoing basis about how to continue to work towards and achieve those goals.
Understanding and appreciating what makes everyone unique can take time, especially in companies with larger workforces.
Conflicts can happen, and when they do, try to be understanding, compassionate, and firm in your commitment to DEI principles and creating a positive workplace for all.
Begin Your Diversity Training Today
There’s no better time than the present when it comes to helping your organization become a more inclusive, positive, and respectful place to work.