DEI, or diversity, equity, and inclusion, is vital to any harmonious and respectful workplace. The initiatives helped shape modern workplace ethics and interactions, boosting employee coordination, productivity, and job satisfaction. However, successful DEI initiatives require proper training. This article examines DEI initiatives, their benefit, and what is included in the training.
Understanding DEI Initiatives
Before we examine DEI training, it’s best to understand what DEI initiatives are, what they stand for, and how an organization should implement them in the workplace.
DEI stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion. The three have been useful in shaping modern workplace culture and ensuring everyone feels welcomed and appreciated. It results in an inclusive culture where diverse perspectives are cherished and encouraged.
Diversity addresses challenges like discrimination in workplaces, ensuring everyone plays a vital role, despite their background, race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Diversity has also been a useful tool in attracting and recruiting top talent, with a promise of a hospitable and appreciative workplace. Diversity shapes how employees interact with each other, allowing improved productivity and coordination. It also creates room for a diverse workforce to interact and cooperate, helping shape the company culture and boost employee morale.
Equality ensures everyone gets access to workplace resources, information, and opportunities. Equality levels the playing field, giving every worker a chance to progress in their career and advancement. Equality also means anyone can take on workplace responsibilities regardless of their gender or race. Employees undergo basic DEI training that covers topics like gender identity, sexual orientation, race, and other overlooked workplace issues. An effective DEI training program equips employees with a better understanding of company culture and inner workings.
Inclusion helps bridge gaps within a workplace, ensuring everyone feels welcomed and as a vital part of the organization. Inclusion training has been beneficial to underrepresented groups who might feel marginalized in the workplace. Inclusion training covers sensitive topics like inclusive management training, cultural sensitivity training, and collaboration. Trainees also access employee resource groups that boost inclusion. An inclusion training program helps make marginalized groups feel like they belong within the organization.
Why DEI Training Programs Matter
Although DEI initiatives help to bring order and allyship in a workplace, employees need to undergo diversity training. The training’s length varies depending on the training model, employee numbers, and the trainer. However, it’s straightforward, with many details self-explanatory.
Here are reasons why DEI training matters:
Diversity, equity, and inclusion training helps to address common workplace stressors, mainly caused by other employees, that might interfere with daily workplace routines. For instance, diversity training might address how forming cliques based on race, religion, or beliefs could make others feel marginalized and left out. Instead, employees are taught how to eliminate these micro-groups and encourage company-wide interactions.
Free employee interaction helps workers feel appreciated and valued within an organization.
Working in a hostile workplace often creates pressure, anxiety, and resentment. It’s a known fact that many employees hate their jobs and only do them to pay their bills. Although the hate isn’t about the work and responsibilities, it’s always about the workplace, colleagues, and management.
DEI training programs address all these issues and eliminate anything that might make employees hate showing up for work. By creating an equal and inclusive environment, employees start to feel appreciated and valued, making them love their jobs more.
Productivity and Coordination
Diversity training helps employees collaborate more as they all feel as valued members. Doing so aids productivity, with an organization reaping more benefits. Employees tend to perform better, knowing their efforts are appreciated and valued. Productivity helps to boost company culture and create an inclusive organization.
DEI training also emphasizes coordination, ensuring employees work towards a common goal. Successful cooperation boosts team spirits and bonds workers for long. It’s common for comradery to form during this period.
Better Recruitment and Reduced Turnover
Great talents are known to prefer organizations where their skills and talents would be appreciated. Diversity, equity, and inclusion training is a great way to guarantee promising talents of their appreciation and support. Additionally, an accommodative workplace also helps to retain talent as everyone feels in place and valued.
An organization is only as good as its leadership. As the business world moves away from an authoritative leadership, where certain individuals within the organization hold more power, to a centralized one, there is a need for a different approach to leadership.
An inclusive leadership aims to empower and motivate the subordinates instead of commanding them. They lead and set examples, allowing others to learn from them. Diversity training also provides opportunities for leadership to underrepresented groups.
An organization’s reputation speaks more about it, and that’s why many companies go the extra mile to improve public relations. DEI training shows an organization’s will to project a positive image to the public. Doing so builds trust with customers and suppliers, helping it grow its business and market share.
How is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training Done?
DEI training can take two forms – in-person and online training. The method you choose depends on your preference, company budget, and the number of employees. Here is a rundown of how the two diversity training methods work.
In-Person DEI Training
In this method, the organization hires a trainer who comes to the workplace to help employees with the training. The method is preferred as the trainer works face-to-face with the employees and within familiar environments.
Additionally, employees could attend seminars outside their working environments. The method is preferred for workplaces that aren’t very busy, for new employees, or as a refresher course. Either way, it provides a hands-on learning experience.
In both cases, instructors use different learning methods to facilitate the training. Here are a few examples:
Role Playing – The best way to help address challenging workplace issues like bias is through role-playing. Employees experience first-hand how certain actions could lead to resentment, anxiety, and anger within a workplace.
Gamification – Although DEI training is crucial, it should also be fun to learn, and that’s why gamification helps out. Games like fact-finding missions challenge the employees to seek objectives while keeping the occasion entertaining.
Inclusive Language Games – Employees need to learn about inclusive language to make everyone feel at ease within the workplace. The words could be written on cards where employees are told to explain how they feel about each word. It works like a bingo game.
Interaction – Trainees tend to retain more information quickly when there is enough interaction. Dividing them into groups and simulating real-life situations help people see things differently and understand the training more.
Online Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training
Alternatively, DEI training can be done online using video conferencing software, online learning platforms, or using video series. Here is how this training method works:
Video Conferencing – Employees attend video conference sessions with the trainer who takes them through the entire learning process. Although it’s an effective DEI training method, it’s also exhausting and very expensive.
Online Learning Platforms – Employees can also complete DEI training using platforms like Udemy, Coursera, or LinkedIn Learning. However, the platform has to be sanctioned by the organization to ensure everyone receives the same training.
Video Series – This learning is the video conferencing alternative, where the instructor creates recordings of video series taking employees through the training. It’s considered effective to some extent, although there is no instant feedback from the trainer.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training Challenges
DEI training has several challenges, especially when implementing it for the first time within an organization. Here are common challenges to expect:
Resistance to Change
Change is good but always hard to accept. Employees are more likely to resist the change and would require time to get used to everything. It’s during this period that the organization provides support to facilitate these changes.
Unconscious Bias Training
The situation arises when some employees are judged or misjudged based on their background, race, gender, or association. For instance, women might be overlooked for a position because it’s believed the role is suitable for men. Workplace unconscious bias is common, especially when employees haven’t undergone DEI training.
Measuring Progress and Success
DEI training requires constant evaluation to ensure everyone progresses evenly. However, the progress tracking technique is difficult to attain, given that people have different learning capabilities. However, the use of progress-tracking systems has helped ease this burden.
DEI training helps to address workplace challenges like unconscious bias and discrimination. The training covers many grounds, including diversity, equity, and inclusion within a workplace. Unconscious bias training also helps to eliminate common workplace problems, creating an inclusive culture where diverse employees feel welcomed. It’s a great initiative to bring harmony within the organization, making everyone feel valued and appreciated.
To deepen your understanding of DEI in the workplace, we encourage you to peruse our selection of DEI-related blog posts. Our articles cover a range of topics from the fundamentals of DEI, and strategies for cultivating an inclusive workplace, to addressing and mitigating unconscious bias through comprehensive training programs. These resources are invaluable for any organization looking to promote a culture of inclusivity where every employee feels valued and respected. Discover new perspectives, gain actionable insights, and join the conversation on creating harmonious work environments by exploring our DEI blog series.