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Effective Diversity Training Methods
Did you know that there are up to five generations in today’s workforce? Nearly one-third of the workforce consists of people of color, and nearly one-half of employees are women. These statistics continue to evolve as businesses begin to accept and understand the basic necessity for diversity. To ensure inclusion within your company, it’s imperative to adopt effective diversity training methods. Your employees need to learn how to respectfully affirm and interact with those of different backgrounds.
Why is Diversity Important?
To understand the best ways to train your employees in diversity, you must first understand why it matters:
- Respect. At a basic level, diversity is important simply because every individual deserves the same level of respect. It’s about acknowledging the differences of others and seeing others as equal despite these dissimilarities.
- Innovation. Dissimilarities are key to forming innovative ideas and out-of-the-box solutions. For instance, employees of the same background will likely think very similarly, whereas a diverse group can draw on varying experiences to come up with unique suggestions.
- Employee retention. A survey done by Korn/Ferry International revealed that, yearly, nearly 2 million people quit their job due to unfairness in the workplace. This equates to an employer loss of about $64 billion per year in hiring costs.
- Increased revenue. According to the American Sociological Review, the most diverse businesses bring in 15-times more sales revenue compared to businesses of the least amount of diversity.
What is Diversity Training?
Diversity training addresses the unique characteristics of your employees, such as:
- Sexual orientation
- Socioeconomic status
- Physical ability
- Mental ability
The goal is far more than getting your employees to simply “tolerate” differences. Effective diversity and inclusion training course should shift your team’s perspectives to fully accept, acknowledge, and see the value in the dissimilarities between team members. This is what fosters respectful communication between coworkers and cultivates a positive, inclusive workplace culture.
Top Diversity Training Methods
When you’re ready to design a diversity training program for your company, consider incorporating the following diversity training methods for the most effective results:
How can you improve diversity without knowing how employees feel about the state of diversity in their workplace? While your company may appear to be diverse on paper, this doesn’t reveal how diverse employees are being treated.
An effective way to gain an understanding of employee perception of diversity in their workplace is by administering an assessment. Create an assessment that gauges what degree diversity needs to be improved. This assessment should hone in on particular areas of need and if there are issues between workers (e.g. between equals, superiors vs subordinates, etc.). From here, you can build the rest of your training or take action to address key issues identified from the survey.
Teach Relevant Skills
Skills-based training is still applicable when it comes to diversity. There are specific soft skills that can help improve interactions between differing individuals. To promote an environment for diverse workers to thrive and feel included, prioritize equipping every team member with the following skills:
Include other relevant soft skills in your diversity training program as you see fit.
Diversity is about how individuals interact with one another. That’s why it’s important to actively talk through diversity and practice new skills with team members:
Consider starting the discussion on diversity with a relaxed icebreaker, such as Diversity Works from HRDQ. Beginning with a low-stress activity allows employees to ease into the learning process and feel more open to speak. This particular activity asks participants to work together to complete fun, problem-solving tasks that each have an objective pertaining to diversity. However, you could even start with something as simple as asking the group, “What does diversity mean to you?”
Another way to get employees talking about diversity and applying their newly-learned knowledge is through a game, like tossing around HRDQ’s Diversity Thumball. Each side of the ball features a different topic regarding diversity. Ask the participants to pass the ball and answer the prompt until each employee has spoken. There are also plenty of other diversity games you can implement, so feel free to pick one—or a few!—that you believe will help open the discussion.
Increase Diversity with HRDQ
If you need assistance implementing these effective diversity training methods, explore the full HRDQ Diversity collection today. Our training consultants are here to equip you with the tools you need to promote and encourage diversity within your team and throughout your business. Get started today!