Workplace diversity training is gaining more and more ground. Companies are moving towards actual diversity measures instead of merely talking about them. As a result, organizations are experiencing many benefits–and this is just the beginning.
What Is Diversity Training?
The most recent diversity training definition expanded the concept from DEI to DEIB – diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. The need for diversity training goes all the way from hiring practices to the boardroom. Through training, each stakeholder in this extensive group comes to understand the ideals of DEIB and practice it across various operational activities. It even includes behavior that is not directly connected to work.
This is because the attitudes and actions that go against diversity can occur anywhere. It won’t do much good for HR to hire for diversity targets while managers fail to promote equitably.
What’s that “B” About?
One of the original workplace diversity concepts revolved around DEI. This definition was meant as a guideline for designing an organization around three principles – diversity, equity, and inclusion:
Diversity at work means that employees represent the richness of society. A diverse company will include people from all walks of life according to characteristics including (but not limited to):
- Gender and sexual orientation
- Birthplace and nationality
The idea of equity means that diverse employees all get whatever resources and chances that they need to advance.
There was a time when companies were more interested in equality. In this system, every worker is given the same tools and opportunities within the company, regardless of how they started out. So, for example, two new managers would be graded in the same way on their productivity.
But that has the potential to be really unfair. What if one manager came from a privileged background and one did not? What if one of the managers faced systemic racism at work, while the other benefited from it?
Today, companies are instead aiming for equity, in which all employees enjoy the same right to advancement. In the above situation, the manager from the disadvantaged background would be given additional L&D courses; have their review process moderated to avoid bias; and would receive support from all stakeholders in light of the greater challenges that they face. Through the elimination of the structural barriers that often exist in the workplace, the underprivileged manager would have a fair chance at promotion and better performance.
One of the key factors in job satisfaction is being heard. Everyone deserves a voice, and nobody should be put in a box. The idea of inclusion is essential when thinking about equity – how can people go places in a company when nobody listens to them?
When issues like homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, and racism are present, many employees don’t want to speak up. Often, they are not even allowed to as more privileged people de-legitimize them. As a result, the organization suffers from issues like groupthink and biased decision-making (what is it with elevators?). To make everyone feel welcome to express themselves, organizations need to ensure the inclusion of everyone’s point of view.
As companies began DEI programs, they discovered that it was difficult to figure out if their efforts were succeeding. It was realized that the best measure of a successful DEIB initiative tracks how underrepresented groups feel about their work, coworkers, and managers. Do they feel as if they belong? Note that “only true DEI leads to B.” If you have a workforce that is truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive, then disadvantaged employees feel safe. If not, then there are weaknesses in the DEIB plan which need revision.
What Are the Obvious Benefits of Diversity Training in the Workplace?
DEIB provides benefits to all stakeholders. Even though effective diversity programs have been a standard way of doing business (for many companies) only for a short time, they are already proving themselves on many levels. Let’s examine a few organizational priorities and how they are impacted by DEIB.
It just makes sense that employees who are included in decision-making and feel a sense of belonging are more engaged with their work. Imagine the opposite – a workplace where minorities are ignored and feel like outsiders! That’s why a strong DEIB culture leads to a 60% greater chance of employee engagement.
Nobody wants to work in an environment where employees don’t feel safe. Instead, they want companies to show clear acceptance of all cultures and voices. In particular, “belonging” is a factor that is important for retention. When workers feel like they belong, 40% of employees give little thought to moving jobs.
Improved Hiring Practices
In general, Millennials and Gen Z are more concerned with social issues than other generations. In light of this, for younger generations, a diverse company is often a must-have when choosing an employer. A study by Deloitte revealed that 80% of Millennials see an inclusive company as an important factor for their work environment.
At the beginning of the push for DEI, many companies were skeptical of how these efforts would affect the bottom line. They believed that sticking with old ways of hiring and handling people was a safe bet. But no longer – the results are in! According to a survey by Deloitte, organizations with both diverse and inclusive cultures are:
- Twice as likely to meet or surpass financial goals
- Three times as likely to show high-performance
- Six times as likely to demonstrate innovation and agility
- Eight times as likely to experience better business outcomes
Different Types of Diversity Training in the Workplace
There are many barriers to achieving diversity in an organization. As our societies become more complex, and employees demand more DEIB action, these barriers will only increase. That’s why organizations should aim for courses that promote pro-DEI decisions: ensure adherence in all situations, and constantly reinforce the latest related concepts.
Re-imagined Decision Making
When a company is truly diverse and inclusive, a new range of knowledge, experience, and perspectives is gained. These factors introduce a much more effective process for making choices. In fact, companies that build DEI cultures are 87% better at making decisions.
A major reason behind this achievement is the elimination of unconscious bias against marginalized employees. In an inclusive organization, the viewpoint of each worker is respected, so any decision includes a wider range of options. In addition, managers will make fewer decisions against the interest of minority workers, which is essential for maximizing the talents of the team.
The Holistic Nature of DEIB
Employees who really understand DEIB concepts will internalize them. See this as the opposite of “unconscious bias.”
This is an incredibly crucial element of diversity training. Nowadays, as part of “always connected” generations, employees are taking part in conversations on a global level. But, even when they are not at work, employees are seen as representatives of a company – and of the success of their company’s DEIB programs.
If a worker tweets something controversial today, their manager will definitely hear about it tomorrow. Then HR will hear about it and have to deal with the fallout of employing someone who has apparently not accepted the principles of diversity. One infamous example of this is the divestment from Kanye West’s various product lines.
Many of the ideas related to diversity are constantly evolving, just as the concept of DEI became DEIB. This is because our society is changing rapidly. For example, white people recently became a minority in New York City. With every similar change, the training related to diversity will need to be updated.
In addition, we are far from winning the war against racism and other barriers to real diversity. Institutional racism and unconscious bias are just two examples of how deeply rooted these problems are. It will take years, perhaps decades, of DEI education to rid organizations of such issues.
Diversity Training Programs Your Organization Should Adopt
There are literally hundreds of DEI courses out there. But, as we’ve seen, DEIB can be interpreted as a value chain. To achieve belonging, you need to first understand diversity, equity, and inclusion. Maybe the best way to plan a diversity initiative is by providing programs for each factor in the DEIB lexicon which:
- Explain the need for each factor (why?)
- Discuss practical steps towards personal and organizational action (how?)
- Outline measurement techniques (how much?)
Here are some selected courses that might fit your DEIB bill:
Diversity and Inclusion
Examples of Diversity in the Workplace
It’s amazing how DEIB has affected companies from every industry – which is diversity in itself! Here are only a few examples of major organizations that are making the workplace a better and more productive place for everyone.
If you’ve ever watched a police action video, chances are that it was recorded through an Axon body-worn camera. Axon’s “JEDI” program focuses on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion as part of its decision-making processes, product choices, and operational activities. Because of JEDI, Axon has been successful in building employee engagement and fostering a sense of belonging.
GoDaddy is the world’s main source for registering Internet domain names. With more than 21,000 customers and 6,500 employees, GoDaddy needs to manage both employee and customer relationships for an incredibly diverse range of people. To this end, GoDaddy relies on award-winning DEI programs. One of GoDaddy’s notable moves as a DEI-oriented company was to hire pioneering female race-car driver Danica Patrick to be the face of the organization.
General Motors has been one of the world’s main car manufacturers for over a century. The company has shown a commitment to equity of many kinds by, for example, supporting a female CEO; Mary Barra is the first woman to lead a major American car company. Similarly, General Motors has donated millions of dollars to black causes in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
To Manage Learning Diversity, Go for GrowthSpace
Diversity training must cover the entire company. Considering the huge range of subjects, stakeholders, and learning preferences, organizations need a powerful tool for managing it all. GrowthSpace delivers an automated platform to enable DEIB initiatives at scale, through learning experiences to suit any and all needs and abilities.