28 Jun How to Get the Most Out of Diversity Training
It’s one of the top buzzwords in the industry today — diversity training — and odds are it’s been on your mind a lot in the past few years.
But what is it, and why does it matter? Why should your company devote time to diversity training, and what does it provide employees?
Diversity training is an umbrella term to any kind of education and instruction that helps people think differently about their words and actions and how they might affect people of various backgrounds and ethnicities. If you grew up in a community that looks largely like you do, there’s a whole world out there for which words and concepts you take for granted are completely unfamiliar. Unfortunately, that means a diverse pool of job candidates might overlook your company or might not feel comfortable working with your organization if language and ideas are embraced that don’t resonate with them or help them feel included or eligible.
Here are some suggestions on how to make diversity training beneficial for all your employees.
Make a daily habit of it.
Something that is discussed and front-of-mind every day is much easier to learn and understand than a concept that is only brought up once a year. Diversity training doesn’t have to be a big, dedicated block of time but can be broken down into monthly or weekly themes or the observance of culturally significant holidays and events, from Hanukkah and Kwanzaa to Women’s History Month and LGBT Pride Month. Make notes of these observances on the company’s internal calendar and provide literature in common areas to help spread the word and explain the background of each.
1. Show support from the top down.
It’s a little thing, but showing that the whole company is behind this effort and making it clear this is a priority from the CEO down through the ranks does lend weight to your initiatives. But try to take it a step further and extend any training or special events to your clients and customers to build a network of committed, unified organizations that share the same values and dedication to building a more caring and compassionate world.
2. Establish goals and hold to them.
This falls squarely on management’s shoulders: If you’re going to commit to diversity training, what do you want the outcome and result to be? Do you want to hire a more diverse staff? Do you want more engagement in special observances? Do you want to expand your outreach to minority communities? Determine your goalposts and set benchmarks and intervals for reaching them, then see how you’re doing as time goes on. If you want to help your employees start to think differently about the world around them, it might be a little more challenging to measure, but it can be done.
3. Keep in mind the other benefits of a diverse workplace.
If your company is taking on a diversity initiative because it feels social pressure to do so, that’s one thing. But there are financial and other benefits to having a diverse office and client base. Research indicates companies that embrace and prioritize diversity expand their markets faster, outperform their competition, are viewed more favorably, and can attract better job candidates than companies who shrug off diversity efforts.
4. Ask questions and listen to the answers.
As your company rolls out its diversity training program, give it some time and space to resonate with your team. Then ask your employees whether the training is helping them in any way, large or small, thinking about the world around them differently. Do they see habits they’ve had all their lives that might need to be reconsidered? Do they look at people with new eyes? Have they learned anything surprising or taken any key points to heart? Find out what’s working and what isn’t, then make some changes and keep moving forward. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s worth working for.
Our world will continue to be more diverse, meaning the talent pool for new employees will become more diverse as well. Making your office a safe and welcoming place for people of all backgrounds is an important goal and can help add to your success.
Connect With LeadingEdge Personnel
For more information on diversity training or to help find new job candidates to join your team, contact LeadingEdge Personnel. We have the resources to help you get where you want to be. Call LeadingEdge today, and let’s get to work!