In the U.S., workplace discrimination is one of the main reasons for employee-initiated litigation. For instance, in 2020 alone, American employees filed about 68,000 discrimination cases, 37% of which involved accusations of racial prejudice. It is worth noting that diversity training is essential in any diverse workforce as it helps to create awareness of the differences among workers, enables them to appreciate diversity, reduces discrimination, and fosters positive intergroup interactions. Other than creating a healthy work environment for your employees, diversity training can also help increase productivity at the workplace. Here’s a detailed look at diversity training in the workplace and how you can implement modern workplace learning.
Tips to Implement Effective Diversity Training Programs in the Workplace
A successful diversity training program ensures that no employee faces discrimination based on their gender, ethnicity, age, disability, and sexual orientation. This promotes peaceful coexistence at the workplace, which, in turn, builds a positive brand image and a good reputation for your company. To implement effective diversity training in your business, you should do the following:
#1. Set Clear Goals
According to the University of Minnesota, setting goals is an important part of any training program. It is the only way you can determine whether your training program was successful in the end or not. That said, ensure you set clear goals and make them known to your employees before starting the training program.
#2. Gather the Necessary Materials
In the modern world, there are myriad diversity training programs that can help you achieve your objectives more efficiently. With this in mind, don’t use the same materials on different audiences considering each audience requires specific training materials. Instead, customize a training program to suit each type of audience.
#3. Aim for Tolerance and Respect
When conducting diversity training in workplaces, your main focus should be to promote respectful and tolerant behavior. This way, your audience can focus on accepting others and respecting them regardless of their diversity aspect.
#4. Engage Your Audience
Diversity is a practical topic, and its training can be best delivered practically. That said, ensure you engage your audience in practical activities that will help foster diversity in the workplace. For instance, you can ask your audience to form diverse teams and give them tasks that require teamwork and tolerance. Diversity videos can also work well with some teams.
#5. Organize Diversity Events
Your business calendar should include events aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion at the workplace. It could be sporting events, corporate meetings, seminars, or parties. Such events greatly enhance social interactions, build work relationships and increase productivity in the workplace. That said, ensure you organize frequent social events that give every employee a chance to directly interact with others on a diverse platform. You can also invite speakers from companies that have successfully implemented diversity programs in their workplaces.
#6. Conduct Post-Assessment
Once the training program is over, you should assess the results to determine whether you achieved the goals or not. For instance, signs of successful training include workers speaking openly and positively about diversity, reduced wrangles and discrimination at the workplace, and improved team performance. Even so, there are more measurable ways of analyzing the results of a diversity training program. If a diversity training program does not yield expected or better results, analyze its weaknesses and improve on them. Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to drop it and implement other programs for effective diversity training in workplaces.
#7. Be Consistent
When starting a diversity training program, it is prudent to note that it won’t give you results overnight. In other words, you may have to try different training programs for a long time before you start noticing positive changes in your workplace. With this in mind, ensure you set both short-term and long-term goals for all your training programs and stay consistent with them.
#8. Aim for Deeper Understanding of Diversity
It’s worth noting that diversity at the workplace is more than just accepting or being tolerant of each other. Rather, it should involve practically respecting other people’s culture, religion and beliefs. That said, you should train your employees on how to greet people properly, respect holidays and religious times and know how to handle themselves around people of different diversities. Apart from just accepting each other regardless of their ethnicities, your employees should also know which words can be offensive when said to a certain race and avoid them.
#9. Be Patient
Consistency goes hand in hand with patience. Your workers may not respond to your diversity training at the speed you expect them to. For this reason, you should make diversity training an ongoing process rather than an occasional event and be patient. With time, you will start seeing changes in how your employees handle themselves and others concerning diversity.
The Role of Managers and Leaders in Ensuring Harmony among the Diverse Workforce
While diversity training programs are essential in every diverse workplace, the management should also play their role in ensuring harmony among the employees. For instance, if the management team is diverse, they should lead by example by coexisting peacefully and working together. Here are ways through which managers and leaders can ensure harmony in a diverse workplace:
The company leadership is responsible for developing strategic plans aimed at promoting diversity in the workplace. The strategy developed should guide on creating and implementing diversity training programs, as well as give direction on promoting diversity using other methods. In the modern workplace, there are different strategies for ensuring harmony in a diverse workforce. Therefore, management should leverage the available tools and resources to implement a feasible strategy to foster diversity.
Whenever the management communicates something to the workers, they will likely listen and respect it. As such, the management should communicate about the importance of diversity in the workplace and train employees on how to implement it. More specifically, they can communicate formally through memos, notices, verbal communication, diversity events, meetings, and the company constitution. Even so, they should lead by example by putting the diversity training tips into practice.
Every company works by abiding by certain policies which are formulated for the good of the business. Most U.S. companies have anti-discrimination policies aimed at protecting their workers and giving them equal opportunities, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). By setting the right diversity policies, every member of the organization will adhere to them, promoting diversity in the process.
The management should portray a good image to the subordinates and other stakeholders by supporting diversity. This should start from personal principles to company policies that support diversity. A diversity supporter is more likely to teach others the importance of diversity in the workplace. As such, business owners should start by building diverse management and then train them on the best ways to foster diversity and be good examples to the workers.
Overall, diversity training for employees can foster harmony, improve workers’ mental health and enhance productivity in your business. If you need assistance in training your employees, reach out to the experts at Economic Development Collaborative in Camarillo, California. Our team will help you with the human resources and leadership training necessary to build a harmonious and productive workforce.