Diversity and inclusion have, unfortunately, become buzz words in certain businesses. However, as studies have shown, organizations that are truly diverse and inclusive boost business results. Therefore, from a leadership and management perspective, it’s up to you to start the process of developing a diverse and inclusive organizational culture. You will be the one to reap the many benefits of an inclusive workplace ranging from increased staff morale and team effectiveness, innovation, improved business decision-making, and the building of strategic partnerships.
Differences are not only natural but essential to social and organizational well-being. We all belong to many social categories in the workplace with each impacting and shaping our lives in different ways. Therefore, unlike what some executives believe, D&I is more than just hiring people of diverse ages, gender, religion, ethnicities, or worldviews. It needs another level of engagement to forge a D&I environment that fosters a positive workplace culture. Being able to support all aspects of our personal and professional lives enables us to be more productive individuals.
How companies do diversity right
Too many companies simply invest in diversity because they believe that it’s good for their business reputation. So, they appoint someone as a diversity officer and believe that they have achieved their objectives. They set inclusion and diversity goals with little understanding of the work that goes into building a supportive workplace culture. Then they are surprised when it does not yield the type of results they expected.
What they fail to understand is that organizations that have strong D&I cultures do not approach the process in this manner. Simply appointing a diversity officer was not the key strategy that helped those companies forge a positive workplace culture. As part of building an inclusive workforce, it’s important that we bring together not only the interests of minority and underrepresented groups but also of the dominant social group.
Therefore, what makes their organization a “top organization to work for” started with strategic D&I training that was designed to eventually boost business results/outcomes from having diverse and inclusive teams in their workforce.
These organizations are genuinely interested in creating a positive workplace culture and building effective teams. They are deliberate with what they do and how it’s done. They take strategic steps tomake sure their workforce is actually inclusive and diverse instead of just in name only. This usually involves working with external professionals who bring an unbiased eye to determining the organization’s training needs and who specializes in diversity and inclusion training.
What is diversity and inclusion training?
Diversity training dates as far back as the 1980s and 90s in response to the civil rights movement and to settle civil rights suits. It extended to inclusion of other groups in the 1990s. As we have now found, and most successful organizations can attest to, diversity cannot exist without integration and inclusion. In fact, integration bringing diverse elements into the organization and helping to make them feel comfortable within the shared organizational culture.
Effective diversity and inclusion training help create a more collaborative and positive workplace leading to teams that deliver results such as better job satisfaction which leads to enhanced talent retention. A positive workplace is a space where everyone feels comfortable and welcome to the team.
The two types of training that organizations can invest in to get to this level of workplace culture is skills and awareness training. Skills D&I training are geared towards reducing unconscious bias and communicating better with diverse backgrounds for better inclusivity. For example, it trains individuals to identify potential issues of confirmation bias when hiring or working within a diverse culture. Awareness training helps individuals view the world from a multifaceted lens, for example, as someone of a different gender, race, age, etc. It enhances emotional intelligence which helps to make people more sensitive to their coworkers.
Diversity and inclusion training can take many forms. For example, some in-office workshops and seminars focus on small-group training which facilitates team bonding and the growth of internal networks. Others offer online sessions that can be done at an employee’s pace for easy accessibility and a personalized approach. Whichever method you choose, make sure it is designed to get your teams working effectively as collaborative and cohesive units.
How to make D&I work
As we’ve alluded to, when diversity and inclusion are done right, your organization can reap all the benefits of diversity. However, training cannot be one-off programs delivered in isolation.
They need to form part of a broader program that affects all aspects of your business. These areas include:
· HR policies
· Recruitment strategies
· Employee retention programs
· Promotion policies
· Customer relationship management
Next steps to building a positive workplace culture
Depending on your industry, diversity and inclusion training can help you achieve a variety of results. For example, if you’re in healthcare, it will help you address emerging issues affecting patient satisfaction. It helps nonprofits to deliver on their charitable missions. Private sector companies use D&I training for enhanced innovation and retention of top talent.
It’s time for companies to do more than give lip service to the idea of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
If you want a D&I training program built to drive results, contact Springs of Hope Consulting. We will assess your workforce needs to develop a diversity and inclusion training program that forges a positive workplace culture.
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