In the past, we’ve covered the topic of diversity training in the workplace and how important it is. After extended studies, research has shown that education regarding diversity in the workplace normally doesn’t work.
Companies certainly spend a fair share of their budget on it, making it a standard requirement in many cases. Most organizations’ onboarding process will include some form of diversity training that usually includes a boring slideshow and some type of testing module.
The training is unengaging and doesn’t produce any results or educate your team members in improving in the area of diversity. If anything, the organization is covering itself from any potential penalties from compliance agencies.
Yet, the very next round of new hires, during the onboarding process – the same training will roll right back around, without fail. What’s the point of continuing the same exhausting training program that’s not providing your team members with any advantages?
Well, the first thing you need to do is figure out why your current training continues to fail time and time again. As companies grow bigger and start to sink more of their budget into diversity training, the development team is chomping to produce more engaging, updated content.
First, let’s go over exactly what diversity training entails, why most of these programs fail, and how to find the right motivation to make them work.
What Is Included In Diversity Training?
Diversity training aims to create more meaningful exchanges between coworkers while eliminating prejudice and discrimination. This training will also show your team how to collaborate more efficiently, so the workplace is more productive.
One of the most important things to remember about effective diversity training is the fact that it must be a living organism – meaning that it’s forever growing and evolving. Why?
What worked for your organization five years ago probably won’t be as effective in today’s world. Basically, the overall goal of diversity training is to eliminate any ill feelings or unfairness toward any demographic with a history of segregation challenges.
Historically, diversity training was first deployed in the 50s after men returned home from WW2 to find that women had taken over a fair portion of the workforce. A large portion of the country rallied together until finally, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 repealed many of the unfair workplace practices and focused heavily on sexual harassment in the years afterward.
Why Is Diversity Training Often Ineffective?
The reason diversity training often fails is that it’s difficult to shift personal bias through a week or several week-long training courses. When it comes to a lifetime of building bad habits and negative sentiments toward a certain demographic, a once-per-year workshop probably isn’t the most effective course of action.
One of the most common challenges with deploying a difference-making training program is the pushback from certain team members. This pushback may occur for several reasons – employees may not believe in change, certain team members may feel isolated, or it may lead to even more challenges by highlighting the contrasts between different demographics.
When the employees mentioned above feel like they don’t have a chance to have their voice heard or any other form of contempt, it creates further divide and causes decreased participation.
Another primary reason for failure is that companies just don’t plan for this type of engagement. As we mentioned earlier, many organizations just want to go through the motions and satisfy matters of compliance.
However, it’s important to note that diversity training doesn’t have to be behavioral therapy. You can exercise other collaborative environment options like a leadership program or some form of blended learning.
There is no umbrella solution for diversity training that covers a strategy for all organizations when it comes to diversity training. You have to keep in mind that this type of training highlights a lot of differences in many team members. This means that it’s not going to be received or digested the same by each employee.
Another practical option is to implement microlearning. This affords employees the chance to learn at their own pace and gives them the freedom to digest material without being surrounded by team members that put pressure on them.
Beyond everything else, this training usually doesn’t have the proper finishing elements. When you provide diversity training only during times of new onboarding, you’re not warming up your team to the continuing idea of diversity.
Sow how do you fix these issues?
Consider rebuilding your diversity training and making small changes that produce big results.
Rebuild Your Diversity Training
The goal of reforming your workplace into a more diverse environment is not easy by any stretch. Your greatest leaders must work together to ensure that all employees at least understand how critical their participation is in this training regimen.
Inform them that even though it seems minor, their participation will lead to all employees being treated fairly. This leads to higher amounts of collaboration, which leads to more productivity.
In the end, this can lead to more revenue for them and the entire organization as a whole. These types of individuals (the ones who initially may buck on training) seem to have a more “what’s in it for me attitude,” and this is the most efficient way to communicate this type of information with them.
Another smart strategy is to implement diversity training even during times when no new hiring is taking place. This will ensure that your workforce continuously gets used to seeing this type of training whether they agree with its existence or not.
We mentioned this above but can’t stress how important it is. You must get your entire team used to the idea of diversity and inclusion regularly and have them really stick to these values – even if it’s only during office hours.
While this type of training is mandatory for regulatory compliance, the first step is to stop looking at it as a chore. Instead, look at it as a privilege and benefit that everyone can grow from.