11 Oct Why In-Depth Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Training is a Must for Businesses
The business case for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is no longer up for debate—numerous studies have shown that organizations with diverse teams perform better on various measures. However, simply having a diverse workforce is not enough; businesses must create an inclusive environment where all employees feel valued and respected. This is where DEI training comes in.
What is DEI training?
DEI training is designed to educate employees on the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. This type of training can help employees learn about different cultures and how to create an inclusive environment at work. The goal of DEI training is to help employees understand the impact of their words and actions on others, identify personal biases and privileges, and learn how to be effective allies for underrepresented groups. DEI sessions aim to help employees become more aware of how bias and discrimination can impact the workplace—and provide them with the tools they need to create a more inclusive environment.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about who should participate.
Who should participate in DEI training?
The answer is… everyone! Yes, that’s right, everyone from the CEO down to the newest intern should participate in DEI training. Every single person can benefit from learning about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Here’s why:
Benefits of DEI training
DEI training can help your organization become more attractive to top talent.
In today’s job market, DEI is a significant consideration for job seekers when evaluating potential employers. By investing in DEI training, you’re sending a message that your organization is committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace—and that’s a significant selling point for top talent.
DEI training can help you retain your existing employees.
Happy employees are productive employees. And employees who feel like they belong in their workplace are more likely to be happy and productive. By investing in DEI training, you’re creating a workplace where everyone feels welcome, valued, and respected—and that’s a recipe for employee retention success.
DEI training can help you avoid costly litigation.
Although we like to think that our workplaces are free of discrimination and harassment, the unfortunate reality is that it still happens. Investing in DEI training can help prevent discrimination and harassment from happening in the first place by increasing awareness and understanding of these issues. And even if an incident does occur, having a robust DEI training program in place can help mitigate damages and reduce the likelihood of complex litigation.
DEI training can improve your bottom line.
Studies have shown time and time again that organizations with diverse teams outperform those without them. So, investing in DEI training is a great place to start if you want to boost your bottom line.
The five most popular types of DEI training
DEI training comes in many different forms, but there are five popular types that organizations are using today to create a more inclusive workplace:
- Unconscious Bias Training
Unconscious bias training is designed to help employees become aware of the hidden biases influencing their behavior. This type of training can help employees recognize their own biases and understand how those can impact others. Often, unconscious bias training includes activities and exercises that help participants identify their personal biases.
- Cross-Cultural Communication Training
Cross-cultural communication training helps employees effectively communicate with people from different cultures. This training can teach employees about cultural norms and expectations and how to avoid misunderstandings or offensive behavior when interacting with people from other cultures. Cross-cultural communication training often includes role-playing exercises and real-life scenarios that participants can practice during the session.
- Diversity Awareness Training
Diversity awareness training is designed to help employees understand and appreciate the benefits of diversity in the workplace. This type of training can raise awareness about different cultures and backgrounds and help employees see the value of having a diverse workforce. Diversity awareness training often includes interactive activities, such as simulations or case studies, reinforcing the key concepts being taught.
- Inclusion Training
Inclusion training helps employees create an environment where everyone feels welcomed, respected, and valued. This training focuses on understanding what it means to be an inclusive leader and how each individual can contribute to making their workplace more inclusive for everyone. Inclusion training typically includes group discussions, individual reflection, and real-world application exercises.
- Sensitivity Training
Sensitivity training helps employees identify and avoid situations that could be offensive or hurtful to others. This type of learning class can raise awareness about different cultures and backgrounds and help employees know how to communicate effectively with people from diverse groups. Sensitivity training often uses scenario-based exercises to allow participants to practice what they’ve learned in a safe environment.
Measuring the impact of different types of DEI training
How do you know if your DEI initiatives have a positive impact? Here are some ways:
Diversity Percentage in Leadership
Do you have diverse representation in management? This includes leadership at all levels, including the C-suite and even a board of directors. Increasing diversity amongst those in positions of power can help create a more inclusive culture throughout the company, from the top down.
Do employees enjoy their jobs and feel they have equal opportunities for advancement and upskilling? A high retention rate indicates that employees feel invested in their work and are not looking for new opportunities elsewhere.
Are your workforce education, mentorship, and other continuous learning programs being used? Has engagement increased since DEI training was implemented? If employees participate in and benefit from DEI initiatives, these programs are likely to have a positive impact.
How does your workforce feel about the company culture regarding DEI? Do they think DEI initiatives serve them? Employee feedback can be gathered through surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one conversations. It’s important to create a space where employees feel comfortable sharing their honest thoughts and experiences concerning DEI.
Choosing the right DEI training format for your business
There is no one-size-fits-all answer regarding choosing the correct format for DEI training. The best way to decide which design is right for your business is to consider your goals for the training, your budget, and the learning preferences of your employees.
Bear that in mind as we discuss the most popular DEI training formats:
Classroom-based DEI training is an excellent option for businesses that want to provide a comprehensive, in-depth learning experience for their employees. This format typically involves a mix of lecture-style teaching and small-group discussions, which internal or external trainers can lead. Classroom-based DEI training can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your business, and it’s a great option for companies that want to create a shared understanding of DEI concepts among their employees.
E-learning courses are a flexible, convenient option for businesses that want to provide DEI training to employees in different parts of the country or world. These courses can be self-paced or delivered in a virtual classroom setting. They typically include multimedia content such as videos, infographics, and quizzes. E-learning courses are also an excellent option for businesses that want to provide DEI training on a budget.
Workshops and Seminars
Workshops and seminars are other popular options for businesses that want to provide DEI training to their employees. These events typically involve a mix of lecture-style teaching and group activities, and internal or external trainers can lead them. Workshops and seminars are a great option for businesses that want to provide an immersive learning experience for their employees.
Webinars are a popular choice for businesses that want to provide DEI training to employees in different parts of the world. This format involves delivering presentations and webinars over the internet, which can be done live or pre-recorded. Webinars are also a great option for businesses that want to provide DEI training on a budget.
The limitations of DEI training
A commitment to DEI must be an ongoing practice at any organization. And to achieve a truly equitable workplace for your employees, your DEI initiatives must extend beyond training. Many of these short-term initiatives can have an impact at the moment but may fall short when creating lasting change.
This is where additional mentorship and learning opportunities come into play. Ongoing mentorship can help to support advancement for underserved employees while also enabling continuous training for well-represented employees — enabling them to be better allies.
One-off DEI training sessions are not going to transform your workplace culture magically. They may even do more harm than good by giving the impression that the company is taking a “check the box” approach to equity and inclusion. A true commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion requires ongoing effort and engagement from everyone in the organization — not just those who attend a one-time training session.
That’s not to say that DEI training isn’t important or valuable. These sessions can play an important role in raising awareness and sparking conversations about equity and inclusion in the workplace. However, they must be seen as part of a larger strategy, rather than as a stand-alone solution.
When it comes to creating lasting change, actions speak louder than words. To show your employees that you’re serious about DEI, you need to back up your words with concrete actions and policies. This might mean investing in targeted recruitment and retention programs for underrepresented groups, offering flexible working arrangements, or increasing transparency around pay and promotion practices.
Need help in choosing the right DEI training sessions for your organization? Reach out to us today!