In our rapidly evolving world, companies are faced with managing an increasingly diverse workforce. While creating an inclusive and diverse workforce can be challenging at times, it is a key component in ensuring the efficient operation of a business. Implementing an effective diversity training program should be at the top of your to-do list for this year.
By definition, diversity training can be defined as “an initiative taken by most companies to create awareness of diversity issues and bring about cohesiveness in teams.”[i] Diversity training covers a variety of topics including disparities in race, religion, background, gender, and opinions of people. [ii]
Diversity training is typically split up into two sections. The first section is Awareness-Based Training, which solely focuses on making employees aware of the importance of diversity in the workplace. This also covers how lack of inclusion can affect the work environment. The second category is Skill-based training, which prepares employees to handle diversity and promote inclusion within the workplace.[iii] Building awareness and knowledge of how to handle diversity are both equally important parts of diversity training. Having strong diversity and inclusion can be extremely helpful in creating a positive brand and reputation for your organization.
What Other Organizations Are Doing About Diversity
Companies like Starbucks are in the midst of correcting their failed diversity training programs. Many organizations are making great strides within their diversity programs. For example, last June, Google hired Danielle Brown as Vice President and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer. Danielle now contributes to leading Google’s equity, diversity, and inclusion strategy efforts. [iv] Also, Uber hired Bo Young Lee as their first-ever Chief Diversity Officer this past January. Lee will oversee diversity and inclusion strategies, such as diversity hiring, training, and employee support groups. [v] These large corporations are setting the standard for diversity programs.
If your organization is just now beginning the journey towards creating a diverse and inclusive culture, it can be helpful to take a look at Global Leaders in Diversity & Inclusion and attempt to model their behavior. Johnson & Johnson has been a front runner in the area of diversity since its founding, 130 years ago. When the organization first began, eight of the first 14 employees were women.
Since Johnson & Johnson promotes such an inclusive and diverse corporate culture, leaders of the company now rank among Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women. Johnson & Johnson was also named by DiversityInc to the 2017 Top 50 Companies for Diversity. Johnson & Johnson states that “they are never satisfied with their progress toward creating more diverse and inclusive workplaces, and that they are constantly innovating and improving. The key to Johnson & Johnson remaining a Global Leader in Diversity & Inclusion is their dedication to continuous improvement. Johnson & Johnson is always doing more to create a place of diversity and inclusion.” [vi]
While diversity training may seem to be an additional expense, it provides numerous long-term business benefits. The importance of diversity training in our increasingly diverse workforce cannot be overemphasized.
Here Are Just A Few Ways That Diversity Training Could Positively Impact Your Organization:
- Create a positive work relationship
- Create greater productivity/Increased employee performance
- Appeal to a wider audience of consumers
- Enable the sharing of different perspectives and approaches to solving business problems
- Increase employee retention
- Reduce harassment within the workplace
Diversity training is one of the most popular topics for training this year. Your image and reputation as an organization are at stake if you neglect to cater to your diversity and inclusion programs.
Keep an Eye out For These Workplace Diversity Trends in 2018: [vii]
- Adopting a more diverse definition of diversity
- Using technology to avoid unconscious bias
- Sourcing candidates with non-traditional credentials
- Testing diversity initiatives with data
- Standardizing the interview process to reduce bias