Why is Diversity and Inclusion Training Important?

Group of multi-racial hands on top of each other

For those unfamiliar with diversity and inclusion training programs, the concept can be confusing or seem unnecessary.

After all, unconscious bias prevents people from seeing how their thoughts, words, and actions can impact the people around them without meaning to. A well-meaning comment about a co-worker can be taken negatively, and transform an otherwise good day into a bad one.

So how do you create a safe environment for all employees? Respectful and positive interactions are key, as well as an effective diversity and inclusion program that will teach employees about diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Why Diversity and Inclusion Training Programs Matter

Diversity training helps raise awareness about unconscious bias in the workplace, as well as how underrepresented groups are impacted by it on a day-to-day basis.

A training program designed to highlight these experiences will educate employees on how diverse teams succeed together when they combine their unique and diverse backgrounds towards a common goal.

Diversity-related issues are not something to be ignored. With successful diversity courses, you can improve employee satisfaction throughout your business. An inclusive culture unites diverse perspectives across different backgrounds to help co-workers not only get along but work together.

How to Get the Most Out of a Diversity & Inclusion Training ProgramGroup of Employees Taking part in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Training

When creating or going into a diversity program, it’s important to go in with an open mind. While the training program may seem unimportant or like a waste of time to you, consider it from someone else’s perspective.

A co-worker may be struggling to feel welcome and included based on comments made about them in the workplace or in how they are treated. Such actions may not be intended as malicious but can have a devastating impact on the employee’s morale.

Remain focused on the point of the diversity program: diversity and inclusion.

Even if the content does not seem to apply to you, it’s important to pay attention so you can recognize any diversity issues that occur. Your company culture depends on every employee taking action to create an inclusive environment at work.

What Do You Learn in a Workplace Diversity & Inclusion Program?

With a workplace diversity training program, there are several things employees will learn to conduct respectful and positive interactions amid other extrinsic factors in the workplace. The goal of the program is to unite diverse cultures across the company by raising awareness and starting the conversation about diversity throughout the entire organization.

Employee morale is subject to company leadership taking this important step to create awareness in a safe space for employee training on diversity so that every member of the team feels not only heard and seen but included.

Creating Diversity

When a company has many employees, the team members will all come from different cultures with different perspectives. A company needs to be aware of not only ethnic diversity in the workplace but gender diversity as well.

However, diversity goes beyond the inclusion training program. Diverse groups of people are made up of people who differ in gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and religion. Racial and ethnic diversity is key to a businesses ability to attract and retain talent, create comfortable working environments, and more.

To create a diverse workforce, team building must begin with putting aside biases and getting to know each other beyond a surface level. That doesn’t mean becoming best friends with everyone but instead developing an understanding of each other. Creative solutions to real-world situations can only occur when an inclusive workplace comes together.

Inclusive Thinking Skills

Diversity and inclusion programs are meant to boast the importance of inclusion and equity training. This goes beyond how people act day-to-day in the office. Inclusive thinking skills are developed when employees look beyond surface-level thoughts and actions and take a step towards change. Seeing a problem in the workplace and identifying it is the first step, while the second involves taking action to correct it.

To develop inclusive thinking skills in training programs means taking action to level the playing field for all employees. Effective diversity courses helps both coworkers and leadership recognize their role in cultivating their company culture. A company-wide inclusion program can educate employees on the benefits of effective diversity and make them feel valued and connected to the people around them.

Workplace Sensitivity

Some situations require conflict management that could have been avoided altogether. For some, it is easy to forget that coworkers are individual people. A detailed definition of greater diversity may serve as a reminder that the diversity training program is about more than racial diversity.

Diversity programs teach employees how to serve others who are different from themselves in some aspects, treating them with respect and dignity regardless of their background. The mental ability to be respectful, encouraging, and supportive is highly prized in the workplace as a core value.

Workplace sensitivity also includes understanding where boundaries are at work and how to establish and maintain what is appropriate in the workplace.

Best Hiring Practices

Micro learning courses can assist the leadership team with identifying hidden biases in the hiring process. They may not be intentional, but they can hinder the company culture in real-world situations by excluding brilliant minds from the company. Diversity and inclusion is important for the hiring process to ensure every applicant is treated equally, regardless of what their background may be.

Sometimes, this involves omitting the applicant’s race and gender from the resume to limit any unforeseen discrimination. Additionally, having cultural competency among the hiring team will help create further diversity. Many employees would rather be interviewed by a diverse board of hiring managers than a single one that may not have the necessary training to review them in an unbiased manner.

Diversity Equity and Inclusion Word Cloud

Cross-Cultural Competency

Establishing cross-cultural competency means engaging with diverse cultures across the company. This means ensuring that conversations are respectful on both sides so that the employees can come to an understanding without harming one another’s relationship.

For some, this means staying focused on company goals and values to ensure a smooth conversation. Even if you strongly disagree with a coworker, you can find common ground within the company.

An effective diversity program will highlight the importance of being able to communicate with coworkers that have different views, beliefs, and identities. Inclusion training further details the importance of learning about other cultures.

You may not fully understand them before meeting with a client or coworker. Still, a basic understanding and the ability to view the situation from a new perspective will prove fruitful for all parties involved.

Career Development

Diversity and inclusion are crucial to career development. Different perspectives may clash, but these differences will ultimately improve the business’s reputation by uniting many voices toward the same goal. When it comes to career growth within the company, diversity programs can help remove the unconscious bias toward those seeking a promotion.

By incorporating diversity and inclusion into career growth, those who would be otherwise overlooked due to unconscious bias will be able to compete at the same level fairly. Diversity and inclusion training will enable employers to unlearn hidden biases they have and create new, healthy relationships with employees. These relationships will establish team-building skills and enable the business reputation to improve when employee diversity is valued.

Business Benefits

When it comes to the bottom line, business success depends on diversity and inclusion playing a major role in the company culture. Companies that have higher rates of diversity and inclusion tend to perform better overall and reap the rewards. This is due to the unique backgrounds of each team member all coming together to create a more profitable plan of action.

Companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion on average see better profits throughout the year. Inclusion training can help hiring managers and those in leadership positions recognize the advantages of creating a more diverse workplace and fostering diversity within the company culture over an extended period. Each member’s unique experiences lend them wisdom that can be used to further the company’s goals. An inclusive workplace should be the goal for all employers as it benefits employees and the employer, alike.

Group of Diverse Employees Walking

What Diversity Programs Accomplish In The Workplace

Within the workplace, diversity and inclusion training programs establish the standard expectations for employees. Diversity and inclusion training enables those who were unaware of the practice to learn the skills they need to foster diversity and inclusion on a day-to-day basis. For those who’ve undergone diversity, equity and inclusion training before or have experience with it, it serves as a reminder of what makes a workplace successful in the long term.

Additionally, there are perks to diversity programs that will better benefit the company and the leadership team across the board. A diverse workforce and an inclusive culture usually leads to a successful business and a happy workforce. Also, knowing what to include in your Diversity Training will ensure you get the most bang for your proverbial buck.

Competent Team Leaders

The skills learned in inclusion training programs educate the leadership team on how to run the business smoothly. Conflict management skills are further honed to be respectful to all parties involved without sacrificing the decisiveness of the decision-making process to keep the company from standing still. With competent leadership comes happier employees.

A management team that not only listens but treats the staff with respect and understands the unique backgrounds they come from can mediate better than a management team that follows protocol to the letter without hearing the human side of things. Since many underrepresented groups don’t appear within the management ranks, it’s important to take that into account when hiring your next Manager.

Above Average Profit Margins

As mentioned before, the profit margins are higher for a company that promotes diversity. Not only does diversity and inclusion training assist in the hiring process, but at the executive level as well. While on average women of color are the least likely to hold executive positions in a company, the companies that do see higher levels of revenue each year. Having a diverse leadership team enables employees to see themselves represented and respected.

Positive Work Environment

Diversity training programs helps coworkers feel connected and respected. When employees can understand one another without asking potentially offensive questions or using harmful language, productivity in the workplace increases. Employees are also happier knowing that they are surrounded by people who see them for who they are. Managing diversity does help morale and employee retention.

A positive work environment is integral to a business reputation, as people are more likely to report good things about a company that makes them feel valued. Fostering a positive and encouraging work environment also ensures that employees do their best, as they are more likely and more willing to go the extra mile when they feel connected to the workplace.

When employees are happy to show up to work, you know you’ve created a diverse team of people who work together to create the working environment they care about. This extends further than the average employee, reaching upwards to management and corporate levels that are responsible for maintaining the environment.  This idea of a diverse, happy, and productive workforce makes your human resource management tasks much easier.

What You Can Do After Completing a Diversity & Inclusion Course

After completing a diversity, equity and inclusion training program at work, it’s time to implement the skills learned. Discuss the subject matter with coworkers and ask each other questions to ensure you all have the same general understanding. Reach out to management with additional questions to verify you are following along with the training.

Keep an eye out for your coworkers. Some of them may have a harder time noticing problems with diversity or struggle with calling attention to it. Focus on the singular relationships with coworkers so that you can establish ground rules with them or come up with a signal or phrase to alert you to a problem.

Additionally, be mindful of your own words and actions while at work. Think twice before speaking, making sure that what you’re about to say is not malicious or potentially harmful. Watch your tone as well, as that plays a vital role in how you are perceived and how your words are received.

So, Why is Diversity and Inclusion Training Important?

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training is essential to nurturing a positive workplace environment for a company. It may seem overwhelming or unnecessary at first, but the benefits go beyond the personal level. A team that feels valued is bound to be more efficient and dedicated to the company, bringing higher profits and success to the business.