Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training Is Important for the Modern Workplace

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Studies have shown that diverse companies tend to have a cash flow that's 2.5 times higher per employee.

In today's world, diversity, equity, and inclusion are seen as more important than ever before. Organizations are implementing suitable practices for several reasons. Some are to benefit the business directly, while others help improve the perception of a business among other organizations and the public in general.

If you want to start introducing diversity, equity, and inclusion training to your company, you first need to understand what it is and how it will help. Keep reading for more.

What Is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training?

These three types of training can sometimes occur separately but are often done together. While they have similar goals, the overall focus varies. Embracing all three will typically help you get the best results.

This type of training aims to identify potential areas of biases and outdated beliefs within a company and the people working for it. It then provides information that can help manage and eliminate these biases. The end goal is to ensure all employees treat others with dignity and respect.

Effective diversity, equity, and inclusion training will help individuals recognize the biases of others as well as themselves. Then it will show them how to unlearn negative behaviors that they currently hold. It will also offer them insights into how changing their behavior can affect themselves, their colleagues, and their workplace as a whole.

Diversity vs. Inclusion: How Do They Differ?

While they're typically used together, and people often get the two terms confused, they're not quite the same thing.

Diversity relates to the specific traits, characteristics, and identity of an individual. These include things like race, gender, religion, and background. A truly diverse work environment will have a workforce with a vast range of these traits. It's important to note that just because an environment is diverse, however, that doesn't automatically mean there won't be any discrimination.

Inclusivity relates to the actions and general behavior of employees towards those of other groups. It also relates to the steps a company takes to encourage inclusion within its workforce. Again, an inclusive workplace may still exhibit discrimination in some cases.

The US (like many countries) prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on things like gender, sexual orientation, and religion. Despite that, many people from marginalized groups have faced discrimination at work at some point.

What Is Equity?

Equity ties into both of these. It's often confused with equality, though they're not exactly the same.

Equity is about recognizing that people start from different positions, and therefore need different support to be on an equal playing field. This involves identifying disparities, and determining how to make things fair for everyone.

Why Is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training Important?

More businesses are implementing this kind of training every year. Those who have done so already are experiencing the various benefits that it provides.

It Improves Morale

Morale is incredibly important in the workplace, and it affects a lot of other elements such as productivity, employee retention, brand image, and more. Providing this training will help improve morale throughout, and you should notice the positive effects in every area of your organization.

When employees feel included, they'll be more enthusiastic about being there. It can also help with their confidence and engagement, and this will be reflected in everyone around them.

If morale is low, you're more likely to see issues like tardiness, absenteeism, and procrastination. Employees will feel indifferent about your organization, so they won't be willing to put in the maximum effort. When people stop trying so hard, others are likely to follow suit.

This can also go beyond the workplace and it may start to affect your employee's personal lives. Low morale can increase stress in general, and this can be very bad for someone's mental health. This means that on top of them being less motivated to do their job properly, their actual ability to do it could also diminish.

Inclusivity training programs can involve implementing healthy coping mechanisms and policies that will benefit your workers. This will naturally lead to a healthier, safer work environment.

It Boosts Productivity

Productivity directly ties into the results your employees produce and the profits your business can generate. Inclusive initiatives can help people feel more involved, and they'll in turn put more energy into their contributions.

It's quite common for employees in higher positions to push others to meet high expectations, but this can only do so much. They often don't consider the institutional barriers that can hinder the success of themselves and their organization.

Low morale and productivity can be a downward spiral. The more people become aware of it, the more it will affect them.

Diversity training can give people a platform that they can use to voice their concerns. This is a great opportunity for them to highlight issues to managers. Decision-makers can then better identify challenges that are getting in the way of productivity and address them appropriately.

It Helps With Employee Retention

Having a high turnover rate is never ideal for a business. As such, you want to maintain a high level of employee retention. This means your workers need to enjoy being involved with your organization.

A big part of this is making them feel welcomed, accommodated, and valued. People always prefer to be in an environment where they know they're appreciated.

If employees feel left out, they'll quickly become dissatisfied with their work. There are always other opportunities out there, so anyone who isn't happy with their situation will start looking towards other potential employers.

It Promotes Innovation

No matter what industry you're in, you'll have competitors. There are various things you can do to ensure you don't fall behind, but innovation is the key to getting ahead.

Employees who feel included will work harder to solve issues and find solutions when faced with a problem. This will lead to more collaborative efforts and a greater level of innovation.

You're more likely to have a more innovative environment if you have a diverse team. People from different backgrounds will have different perspectives which will allow them to see things in ways that others may not. As such, when faced with an issue, a diverse team has a good chance of coming up with several different solutions.

It's Good for Business

Another benefit that many company owners don't think about is the overall effect it can have on how much business you get. Today's world is very competitive and inclusive ideas can help you get ahead of the competition. They might allow you to reach more demographics and markets which can increase market share.

Additionally, it can go a long way toward improving your brand image. More people are placing value in companies that work to increase inclusion and diversity. You'll be able to connect with a larger audience which should help you increase your overall customer base.

Real-life Examples of the Importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training

It's not always easy to see how this training can help improve things in a practical sense. There are various examples, however, of companies that have embraced such training to help them make improvements and achieve success.

Starbucks

In 2018, Starbucks found itself on the bad side of a PR crisis. This happened after a staff member saw two black men in the store who were waiting for a friend without buying anything and decided to call the authorities. The men were arrested, despite not doing anything illegal.

News of this quickly spread, and this led to in-store protests all across the US. People were less than happy with the racial bias shown by this employee and held the company accountable.

Starbucks ended up closing every store in the country for a whole day to give its staff members racial bias training. While this may have helped somewhat, one-day diversity training programs are rarely sufficient in terms of lasting results.

Sephora

Sephora is a global beauty chain that had a similar situation that was very bad for the company as a whole. It occurred in one of their LA stores when musician SZA claimed she was racially profiled.

As a celebrity, news of this quickly gained traction in the media. The public opinion of the brand started to drop rapidly.

Sephora quickly closed all US branches to hold mandatory diversity training - though only for an hour. As with Starbucks, this isn't nearly enough time for this kind of training to really have an effect.

Sephora acknowledged that this wasn't enough and said that it was just the start. They stated that it would be the first part of a much larger diversity and inclusion initiative that would extend to all managers and employees.

Rippleworks

Rippleworks has been partnered with Embracing Equity for over two years now, participating in a variety of anti-racism programming, leadership coaching, and consulting services. Kyle Edquist (Director of the Talent Team at Rippleworks) stated "Embracing Equity's team brings some of the most impactful and thoughtful expertise to anti-racism work I have ever seen".

Rippleworks now ensures every new hire goes through Embracing Equity's anti-racism training. This helps ensure everyone at the company understands the type of culture they're aiming for.

Ways to Make Your Workplace More Diverse and Inclusive

It's clear that diversity, equity, and inclusion are important for all companies. As such, it's important to understand how you can make improvements within your organization.

Inclusive Recruitment Programs

Recruitment is perhaps the most important place to embrace inclusivity. Plenty of companies in the past have had issues due to discrimination during the recruitment process.

HR professionals should be well-informed about inclusive recruitment programs. Inclusivity training could also be a key part of your onboarding process. If new employees understand the importance of it from the start, it will set expectations for their future at your company.

Managing Non-Inclusive Behavior

Even if your employees have had ample diversity and inclusion training, there can still be instances of non-inclusive or discriminatory behavior. This can include all kinds of things like offensive actions, language, and gestures. Sometimes it's unintentional, but it still needs to be addressed.

When this happens, it's important to handle it appropriately. This can be even more crucial if it's a senior employee exhibiting this behavior towards a younger one. They may not feel like they're in a position to defend themselves and could be more vulnerable.

Delegate Leadership Roles

A lack of inclusion often begins at the recruitment stage, but even many companies who have dealt with this still don't handle things appropriately at higher levels. For example, a company might make an effort to hire more women, but may still fail to encourage women to seek leadership roles.

Such a company is only doing things half right, and the benefits of inclusivity won't be fully realized. A business should encourage people of all different groups to seek leadership roles where appropriate. This will empower them to grow and develop where they might have otherwise not progressed.

Rethink Compliance Policies

Compliance policies exist for a reason, but they can become outdated. It's a good idea to review them occasionally to see if they're still suitable.

If you have any obsolete policies, you should think about how they should be adapted to improve inclusivity. This could include changing the language used in official documents or adding pronouns, for example.

Measure Progress

Improving inclusivity, equity, and diversity isn't something that will happen overnight. It's a long-term process, and it's important to keep track of things over time.

When implementing new practices, determine the results you're after. Keep an eye on how your new initiatives progress to make sure you're on target to reach your goals. If you find that you're not, you can review things and make changes.

Making Your Organization Fairer for Everyone.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion training can help almost any business grow and improve. Your employees will feel more comfortable and welcomed, and your brand image could improve dramatically.

Embracing Equity offers a range of services based on diversity, equity, and inclusion for all different types of organizations. We started operating in 2017 and have since seen participants across the US and 19 other countries.

Take a look at our workshops for more information on what we offer.

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