Diversity — it’s a concept that’s finally making headlines. Many employees are vocalizing that diversity is important to them — in fact, according to Glassdoor, 57% of employees think their companies should be more diverse. This has bubbled up to companies and company leadership, who are beginning to realize the true importance of diversity.
There’s just one problem: companies know they should be focusing on diversity in the workplace, but are struggling to actually take any steps to implement diversity programs. SHRM found that 41% of managers say they are “too busy” to do so.
But the reality is that workplaces are becoming more diverse than ever, and this has benefits that spill over to the entire organization. Companies need to take the initiative to make diversity training a key moving forward.
This means being proactive — not reactive — and actually planning to prepare for a more diverse workforce. It means structuring workflows and processes in the organization to enhance and encourage diverse points of view and perspectives.
Why Diversity Training is Important
Whether we like it or not, the research that confirms we tend to like those who are like us (or at least those we think are like us) is extensive. That means we have to actively challenge our biases.
From hiring practices to how we communicate and lead, we need to be finding ways to bring in different perspectives and find solutions that accommodate differences. But without thought, practice, and training, most organizations will slide right back into what’s familiar.
Raise organizational awareness around inclusion and diversity
Successful diversity training enables employees to become more comfortable with concepts such as unconscious bias at work and cultural competency. When employees become more familiar with these ideas, they can begin to identify how these concepts show up in real-world situations.
Make space for unique perspectives while encouraging collaboration and innovation
Non-homogenous teams are more effective. Diverse teams have a distinct advantage when it comes to decision-making, including bringing a broader perspective on the problem, identifying more options for solving it, reducing bias, and increasing accountability.
Develop inclusive thinking and actions
Fostering diversity requires effort towards building a more inclusive environment so that all people, especially those from underrepresented groups, feel comfortable and valued. Successful diversity training gets employees in the habit of thinking about inclusion and how they can behave in a way that makes the workplace more inclusive for everyone.
Promote workplace sensitivity
When employees are encouraged to understand the different perspectives and comfort levels of others, they are more likely to think about how their actions could unintentionally cause offense. Diversity training can go a long way towards preventing discrimination and harassment by making employees more capable of empathy.
Benefits of Diverse & Inclusive Organizations
Still not convinced that diversity and inclusion in the workplace matter?
Here are just a few statistics that highlight the significant impact on company revenue, innovation, and engagement —
- Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that companies that have more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue.
- Josh Bersin research found that inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market.
- Deloitte found that 83% of millennials are actively engaged when they believe the organization fosters an inclusive culture, compared to 60% of millennials are actively engaged when they believe the organization does not have an inclusive culture.
- McKinsey & Company found companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians, and companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
Diversity Training for the Modern Workplace
At Verb, we know that when an organization is dedicated to fostering and celebrating diversity and inclusion in the workplace, the whole team thrives. We’re dedicated to helping organizations incorporate diversity and inclusion into the organizational culture by offering an online platform for their teams with bite-sized content that enforces retention and makes learning a habit. Our collection on inclusion and diversity helps employees learn practical strategies and techniques for building lasting culture change.