Diversity training is defined as a training program that encourages positive interactions between a group to minimize discrimination and prejudice. It is a gradual process that teaches individuals the value and importance of diversity in both personal and professional life.
From the perspective of corporate culture, diversity training helps people to understand each other so that they can work together effectually.
Meaning of diversity training
Diversity training can be described in simple terms as a method of educating employees in a workplace to work together with other people who belong to a different cultural background. This type of training encourages people to accept others with a clear understanding that would not have been there at the initial stages. The project managers often face several issues in managing people from varied background and this training helps to smooth their road so that the employees can give their best to the project.
People can easily travel to any place in the world and work in an international company nowadays. This has resulted in a mix of ethnic and racial diversity in the workplace. Diversity training is raising awareness in a workplace about individual differences and how to combat issues by increasing knowledge, attitude and awareness so that working together becomes smooth once again.
Although diversity training in a workplace will not be able to change the mindset of a person completely, they at least will gain relevant knowledge that will act on their conscience and forbid them to do things that they would not do. The increased awareness will help to accept diversity and the related differences by breaking down the existing barriers.
Most organizations believe that diversity training will help them to bring understanding amongst the workforce, whereas there is a section that categorically believes that diversity training can backfire anytime. It can result in emphasizing and pinpointing the apparent differences in the various cultures. This will deepen the existing bias and lead to racialism and discriminatory complaints in the workplace.
The objective of diversity training
The objective of diversity training is as follows-
- No violation of civil rights in a workplace
- Reinforce affirmative defenses
- Enhanced knowledge
- Help in employee retention
- Boost tolerance levels
- Attracting customers and retaining them
- Better management of people belonging to different cultural background
- High employee morale
- Mitigate legal risk
- Facilitate open communication
- Increase culture awareness
- Offer support to ongoing recruitment
- Promote better and effective teamwork
- Boosting harmony and understanding within a workplace
- Increase efficiency and productivity of a team and of course the organization
How to create a diversity training program?
Take the following steps to create an effective diversity training program
1. Understand the necessity
You cannot just stand aside and hope to make a difference because the only way is to move forward and accept the fact that diversity exists and it often leads to discrimination in the workplace. It is not easy for a person to tackle existing prejudices alone.
This is why organizations are making every effort to provide support to their employees. This is possible via diversity training programs.
2. Create common goals
The first step is in creating a detailed program that is clear and precise and touches on almost every issue that you can think of. Make the diversity training program compulsory for every employee so that they can have a basic knowledge of various cultures and understand them better from then onwards.
Remember, it is essential to have a common thread because it makes it easier to tie people in conventional bonds. Keep your focus on details so that the comprehensive training program could find creative ways to make people understand.
3. Develop an understanding of diversity and confront bias
If you are looking for creating effective diversity training programs, then it is imperative to develop an understanding of diversity. The program is a concrete way to engage in positive interactions in a respectful manner, understand the viewpoints of a diversified group and make changes in your thinking process.
Remember diversity training is one of the best ways to minimize prejudice, bias, and discrimination based on factors like socioeconomic status, mental ability, physical ability, religion, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, and ethnicity.
4. Keep your focus on inclusion
The diversity training program should target every employee and thus put its emphasis on making inclusion a necessity. It should touch on all the issues related to diversity without hurting the sentiments of any particular group. Talk about cross-cultural communication, aggressions, and unconscious bias. Tie the diversity training program to the mission, vision, goals, objectives, and values of the organization.
The training will encourage employees to become tolerant about the differences so that every one of them can embrace diversity with an open mindset. Valuing diversified perspectives will help an employee in his dealings with customers, clients, co-worker and community at large.
Keep your focus on inclusion if you are looking for ways to create an effective diversity training program as it will assist in mitigating risks of legal nature, support retention efforts and make a positive contribution towards a productive workplace.
5. Extend the diversity training over time
Do not expect that attending one or two diversity training programs will be enough for the employees in an organization. It needs to be a continuous process that should be extended for some time so that everyone can become quite familiar with it. Remember the diversity program is very useful as it is capable of influencing the mindset and thought-process of the employees positively
. It has a direct impact on behavior and attitude, and it is easy to see the difference between the person who was before the training program and the one who was after attending the program. Make the diversity training and awareness program a part of company culture so that the message is reinforced at every turn. Do not plan one-time workshops instead try for a series of programs, mentoring opportunities, celebrations, and events for continual learning.
Change for the betterment is always right, and the adjustment and modification in the behavior of the employees after the diversity training program is to be seen to believe. The difference is astonishing and awe-inspiring as people come out being the better version of themselves.
The best part of attending a diversity training program in a workplace is that even if a considerable time has passed since the last meeting, people will generally remember and yet will be reminded of the things they came across during everyday life so that they can remain true to their changed belief.
7. Customize diversity training
If you are looking for an effective diversity training program, then customize it to suit the specific needs of your company. Every organization is different hence make a program that is tailor-made to suit your requirements.
Are there very few people of diversified culture in your company or is the number large, are they treated moderately or did discrimination exist, Is it amongst co-workers or it has spread amongst every nook and corner, and even seniors are showing prejudice and bias easily are some essential queries that need to be addressed via the diversity training program. Fundamental understanding of the culture, mission, and vision of the company will help to create a customized diversity training program that will be more effective than a common one.