A Manager's Guide to Diversity and Inclusion Training

Although the conversation around creating diversity and inclusion in the workplace has started to shift, there is still an incredibly long way to go.

The Meetingnotes Team
February 26, 2024

Although the conversation around creating diversity and inclusion in the workplace has started to shift, there is still an incredibly long way to go. Women of color represent just under 50% of the low-wage workforce, with Black workers with degrees earning 23.1% less than white workers in the UK on average. Horrific statistics like these are still far from being correctly addressed across major industries.

COVID-19 also further exacerbated inequality within the workplace, with women’s jobs being 1.8x more likely to be cut during a crisis. This figure saw women, which make up 39% of the workforce, receive 54% of the total job losses.

Alongside creating a more equal workspace for everyone, creating a diverse team is also actually incredibly beneficial for your business. Over 75% of job seekers listed team diversity as one of their top factors when applying for positions. Teams that were monocultural often come across as outdated and old-fashioned, meaning that people are much less likely to apply for a job in those spaces.

Additionally, diverse teams operate better and produce more profits, with inclusive teams outperforming their competitors by 35% and being 87% better at making decisions. Yet, even with these powerful benefits, 78% of employees state that their organizations lack diversity in leadership.

The benefits of constructing a diverse workplace are endless, with your business conducting diversity and inclusion training being one of the very first steps you can take towards this.

In this article, we’ll be covering the basics of diversity training, pointing to its benefits, and including a template for an internal survey, you can do to begin to get the ball rolling with how your teams think about diversity.

What is Diversity Training?

Diversity training is normally delivered by an external HR firm or someone in the company that’s undergone a diversity training qualification. These sessions are conducted with all employees, with everyone from upper management to department team members all being included in the session.

This form of employee training focuses on challenging their beliefs, helping them to expand their knowledge of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. As workplace diversity is such an important factor that helps build an inclusive environment and ensure everyone in your team feels valued, this is a vital program that any company should go through.

Every diversity training program is different, but they will all touch on similar areas, covering a set range of topics that are likely to impact the workplace.

Diversity and inclusion training will normally cover the following areas:

  • Racial minorities
  • Bias and the impacts of bias
  • Sexual orientation
  • Sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Microaggressions
  • Countering unconscious bias and realizing its impact in the world
  • Planning for diversity
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Bullying and exclusion
  • Creating a diverse vision statement

As workplaces are broad cultures, the training one needs to be able to more effectively counter any discrimination in the workplace must also be extensive. These training modules will ensure that your hiring managers, team leaders, and team members are all more aware of how diversity fits into every single workplace.

Why is Diversity training important?

Fundamentally, awareness around this topic through diversity training ensures that civil rights violations are prevented while teamwork and inclusion are boosted. Yet, diversity training goes far beyond this, with these training programs inspiring a whole range of benefits in your business.

Let’s take a look at three of the main benefits:

  • Increase Your Talent Pools - By giving an equal employment opportunity to all applications, you’ll instantly be boosting the number of quality applications you’ll receive. With more applications comes a better talent pool, one from which you can select top candidates for your business and push forward with a stronger team
  • Improve Effectiveness - Diverse companies are 70% more likely to succeed when trying to capture new markets. If you’re looking to expand your business and create a successful culture, then having a diverse team is one of the most effective ways that you can do so.
  • Set Diversity and Inclusion As a Standard - By helping your teams to realize the importance of these training programs, you’ll be able to create a more understanding team. With this, diversity awareness will increase, helping everyone to be more inclusive at work and creating a much more positive workplace culture.

Diversity training is vital. Without a doubt, it is one of the most important changes that you can bring into your company to have a positive effect.

What’s more, due to the availability of online training programs, it’s never been easier to find a diversity and inclusion training program that all your employees can take.

Does My Team Need Diversity Training?

While it might be fairly obvious to an outsider that a particular department is lacking a diverse workforce, those inside the team might find it harder to realize. As a manager, one of the best ways of helping your team realize the importance of employee training around inclusion efforts is to give them an inclusion survey.

These questions are specifically designed to make your team take note of their own place in the workforce and help them to measure inclusion on their own. The purpose of these questions is to make people realize that the workplace is probably not as diverse as they thought while also bringing attention to the impacts that the lack of diversity and inclusion is having on members of the team.

Let’s focus on three questions you can include in your inclusion surveys:

Between 1-10, how comfortable are you when talking about your cultural and social background within the workplace?

When answering this question, your team will have to think about their own culture, testing ideas of acceptability and making them wonder if they feel accepted for exactly who they are in this space.

The additional benefit of this question is that when publishing the results, those that responded high on the scale will be shocked to find out that some employees responded very low, instantly triggering a conversation about what it means to have a diverse workplace and an inclusive work environment.

How Diverse Are Your Executive Teams?

This question forces workers to take a look at the hierarchies within which they exist. While their own team may be diverse, it’s often the case that this diversity stops the higher up in a business you go. Due to societal limits and unconscious bias, lots of restrictions are placed on people of color that attempt to move up the corporate ladder.

Over time, this has created shocking representation at C-suite levels, with only 8% of C-Suites including any people of color. When looking upwards, your team will suddenly realize that their workplace diversity stops at a certain level, provoking a conversation about how diversity and inclusion need to be a central part of the conversation going forward.

Where do you think our company can improve when it comes to creating an inclusive workplace?

Once again, this question urges employees to look inwards, helping with bias training and ensuring that they begin to think more actively about supporting diversity in the workplace. The answers to this question can often help display where your business is lacking in diversity, with particular minorities within a society having minimal visibility in your company a sure-fire sign that you are not constructing a diverse team.

As creating a diverse group begins with hiring, this bonus question will help bring awareness to your HR hiring process. Are HR professionals in the company doing anything to source candidates from underrepresented backgrounds?

This question, specifically made for HR, will help human resources to realize that they could be doing more to reduce bias, drive workforce diversity, and create an inclusive team.

What Are Leading Diversity and Inclusion Programs?

If you don’t have someone in your business that’s able to run diversity training programs, then you’re better off hiring an external firm or trainer. The most comprehensive diversity training program can normally be found online, making these sessions into an online learning platform through which all your team can train.

The best diversity training programs will depend on your personal access to them and the specific areas you’re looking for. That said, here is a general list to point you in the right direction:

If you’re looking for a diversity and inclusion training program in your area, then be sure to take to Google. By entering your location, you’ll be able to find the best diversity training scheme that’s most accessible to you.

With all the current tools we have and the interconnectivity that online meeting software gives us, there’s never been a better or easier method of accessing these vital courses.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to improve diversity in your workplace, be that in your hiring pool, current structures, or executive teams, then running diversity training programs is the very best way of doing so.

With some of the best diversity training programs available online, you’ll always be able to create an inclusive environment for all of your employees, with these sessions helping to make sure that your workplace culture is as open as possible.

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