The way we work and interact has changed rapidly over the course of the year. The spread of Covid19 caused a significant number of employees to move into remote roles working from home. Business models have changed. The global workforce and number of distributed teams is still growing exponentially.

Now as we move forward organizations are looking for ways to improve employee experiences. This year leading companies will be focusing on learning and development programs that improve the wellbeing of their employees. For many organizations this includes the implementation of diversity training programs.

In this blog post we will share with you some of the top best practices you should know about before creating a diversity training program.

Approach Learning as a Journey Not a single Time Event

If you wish to create a truly inclusive workplace culture you cannot approach diversity and inclusion as a one-time training event. Learning is a process that occurs over time. Providing diversity training often and making resources readily available will help you show your employees that providing an inclusive culture is a high priority at your company.
Providing ongoing opportunities for learning and development will also increase both knowledge retention and application. As employees learn and begin to practice the new skills, they develop you will start to see a shift in the work environment. Common diversity training topics include cultural competence, unconscious bias training, sexual harassment, and soft skills training topics such as global communication skills.

Diversity Training Programs Should be Implemented at All Levels

Although there are many types of corporate training programs that are created for specific roles or jobs at a company, diversity training works best when all employees participate. Everyone from senior level leadership to your customer service teams should participate in the program if you wish to create a culture that supports diversity in the workplace.
You may also want to consider integrating diversity and inclusion courses into your leadership training programs as well. Your organizations leaders greatly influence workplace culture. If they develop inclusive leadership skills early on they can help spread these skills and values throughout your company.

Utilize a Blend of Training Materials and methods

The most effective training programs utilize a blend of training methods, materials, and topics to keep learners engaged. Using a mix of social learning, formal learning and experiential training formats will help learners stay engaged. It will also help them to gain a deeper understanding of each topic.
The global workforce is rapidly growing which impacts the kinds of training tools that will be the most effective. Today as many employees are working from home it is also important to integrate online diversity courses into your program. There are many engaging formats such as virtual instructor led or scenario-based learning methods that are suitable for training remote teams.

Include Each of the 3 Categories of Diversity Training

The most effective training programs include a mix of three diversity training types which are awareness-based, skills based, and integration-based courses. Using a combination of these training types ensures that employees are learning about the topics and how to address challenges regarding diversity in real life situations.
Awareness based training is focused on broadening the participants knowledge about topics regarding diversity and inclusion. Skills-based training helps participants learn what actions they can take to promote diversity and inclusion. Integration-based training is where participants work collaboratively in teams on activities and have in depth discussions about diversity.

Wrap Up

Implementing a high-quality diversity training program can help your organization increase productivity, improve workplace culture and increase profits. According to the Harvard Business Review companies with higher-than-average diversity had 19% higher revenues from innovation (1). Diversity training will also help you equip your employees with the skills they need to succeed in the expanding global workforce.

To learn more about training programs that promote diversity and inclusion read the case study Leadership Development Program for Diverse Audiences.

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