What Is Diversity Training? (With 15 Tips)

Madeline is a writer, communicator, and storyteller who is passionate about using words to help drive positive change. She holds a bachelors in English Creative Writing and Communication Studies and lives in Denver, Colorado. In her spare time, shes usually somewhere outside (preferably in the mountains) — and enjoys poetry and fiction.

Here’s what happens in a diversity training

What is the purpose of diversity training?

Diversity training helps educate professionals and encourages them to consider perspectives and experiences other than their own. Diversity training also helps team members who are minorities feel more welcome on the team and helps others adjust their behavior and thought-process to be more open and considerate. This allows professionals to work better on teams, which increases productivity and ensures a healthy workplace culture.

Diversity training also brings awareness to certain issues that some professionals do not understand or know about. Educating these individuals helps promote social justice and fosters kinder and more knowledgeable employees.

What is diversity training?

Diversity training is a human resources initiative that raises awareness about diversity issues to educate professionals and foster a stronger team bond. Companies conduct diversity training through group exercises, presentations and guest speakers. Some employers require professionals to complete this training in order to ensure professionals are practicing ethical and healthy working habits regarding their relationships with their co-workers. Most diversity training programs include topics of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and disabilities, though they often focus on one of these subjects at a time.

Benefits of diversity training

Diversity training greatly benefits both individuals and companies. Here is a list of some of these benefits. Diversity training:

Diversity training categories

Companies use different types of diversity training practices depending on their intentions and the needs of their employees. Professionals separate these types into two different categories:

Awareness-based diversity training

Awareness-based diversity training focuses on educating professionals on the issues of marginalized communities. This practice also encourages empathy for those who face issues regarding their culture and identity. Awareness-based training often seeks to amplify similarities between members of minority and majority groups and provides a basic understanding of the legal requirements to treat others equally and with respect.

When using this type of diversity training, companies often hold meetings and presentations to provide knowledge on different cultures and identities. This allows professionals to consider the challenges professionals in marginalized groups face and provides helpful feedback on how to improve the workplace culture.

Skills-based diversity training

Skills-based diversity training gives professionals and other community members the tools they need to create an inclusive environment for their community and workplace. In this type of training, professionals work to recognize their internal biases as well as the systemic issues surrounding their particular diversity topic. Skills-based diversity training often yields more tangible results because it offers actionable solutions to inequality and exclusion in society.

When implementing skills-based diversity training, companies may hire guest speakers and organize professional exercises to address topics such as providing necessary workplace accommodations, recognizing and preventing microaggressions, improving allyship and understanding cross-cultural communication.

15 Tips for diversity training

When implementing diversity training at your company, consider following these tips:

1. Start with members of management

While its important for the diversity training at your company to reach all employee levels, consider starting with supervisors and managers. This allows these professionals to lead by example and demonstrate the behavior and empathy the company expects from other employees. Having members of management start diversity training before other employees also ensures these professionals are available to answer any questions their team members may have during training.

2. Be proactive

Try to start diversity training programs at your company before there is an unfortunate incident in the workplace. Being proactive keeps all employees safe and ensures your companys diversity training efforts are genuine and helpful. This practice also allows you to reinforce the idea that your company is committed to inclusion and values diversity.

3. Hire diverse professionals

Its important to recognize your companys possible biases in the hiring process. Try to hire professionals of various backgrounds and consider implementing programs for underrepresented individuals. This allows your company to find and hire a more diverse team of professionals, which helps your company to grow stronger.

4. Continue dialogue about diverse issues

In order to ensure professionals understand the lessons of diversity training, try to continue communication about the topics you address in diversity training. This includes promoting tolerant behavior and addressing how societal events may affect your team members. Consider providing informational materials for employees or featuring underrepresented professionals in your companys newsletter.

5. Create an inclusive company culture

In order to embody the ideas of diversity training, its important to first address the culture of your company. Try to implement policies that promote diversity and inclusion, such as parental leave allowances, remote work opportunities and celebrating holidays of all cultures. Implementing inclusive workplace policies shows the companys dedication to diversity in a tangible way.

6. Develop clear company values

When creating an inclusive workplace culture, also consider the values of your company. While its important to adopt values that promote diversity and tolerance, its crucial to ensure each employee understands these values. One way to achieve this is through proper training and ensuring that you hire individuals who share the company values.

7. Use both categories of training

When using diversity training practices, be sure to implement both categories of diversity training. This ensures a comprehensive and effective training course for your employees. Using both skills-based and awareness-based training allows professionals to have the knowledge to confront social and professional issues of inequality and the tools to implement change.

8. Commit to ongoing training

Similar to how its important to keep an ongoing dialogue about social issues, its also beneficial to commit to diversity training several times per year. Ongoing training allows your company to address multiple aspects of diversity issues. This practice also ensures your company witnesses noticeable changes in your workplace culture.

9. Enforce rules to ensure tolerant behavior

Managers enforce rules to ensure tolerant behavior to provide safety to all employees. Addressing and correcting behavioral issues also promotes company values. Try to correct any behavioral issues or employee misunderstandings as soon as possible to ensure each employee embodies company values and contributes to a healthy work environment.

10. Follow up after training

After diversity training sessions, try to follow up with employees to gauge their understanding of the topics you cover. Try to be available for questions employees may have and accept feedback about the training. This ensures your training efforts are effective.

11. Hire expert speakers for diversity training events

Consider hiring expert speakers for diversity training events to ensure the appropriate professional is speaking about diversity topics. Experts also provide more nuanced knowledge about the experiences of marginalized groups. Hiring a guest speaker often interests employees, allowing them to feel more engaged in the diversity training content.

12. Discover ways to involve employees in training

Involving employees in the training process helps them retain knowledge and feel more responsible for their actions. Try to plan engaging content, such as Q&A sessions or polls, to keep employees interested in training. This helps ensure the professionals at your company practice inclusive habits.

13. Encourage participation

Some companies choose to make diversity training voluntary but strongly encourage participation. However, even if the training is not mandatory, its important to hold all employees to the same standards of behavior. Making diversity training voluntary may help employees feel they have more control over the situation and allow them to feel more excited about their choice to attend.

14. Be specific

Be sure to be specific in your diversity training. Consider hosting separate events for diversity topics such as race, disabilities, sexual orientation and gender identity. This helps to ensure youre giving a fair amount of attention to several marginalized groups and representing issues equally and comprehensively.

15. Invest in diversity training materials

To ensure the quality of your companys training, consider investing in training materials. Several organizations offer online courses and there are many experts available for hire. Having quality materials helps your employees learn at a quick pace and proves your companys commitment to diversity training.

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