Inclusiveness is a must in any modern workplace, yet many industries still struggle with diversity. This is to their detriment, especially since many qualified individuals are driven away from jobs in the tech industry and other fields due to serious inclusivity issues. While overtly discriminating against someone for their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation is illegal in the United States, employees everywhere in every industry are still made to feel unwelcome or even unsafe at their jobs. Many of these instances aren’t personal; most are arguably due to ignorance and a lack of diversity training.
If you are a manager of a business with a diverse staff, you will almost certainly need to engage in diversity training at some point. Here are five tips that can make that training more effective.
- Ensure a Sense of Belonging
The ultimate goal of any diversity training is to make sure that everyone on your team feels like they belong and that they’re welcome. You can and should make everyone feel welcome at all times from the day they start at your company until it’s time for them to leave. Everyone on your staff should be included in activities and training in the office if they are able to be included. Even if a worker decides that they don’t want to participate in an optional activity, you should at least make it clear that they are welcome to participate. This kind of inclusivity may seem minor to some people, but it can go a long way in creating a welcoming atmosphere for everyone on the job.
- Help Individuals Thrive
Every workplace has its own culture, and much has been said about finding employees that are the right “fit” for that culture. While it’s important that an employee is a good fit for a particular position, companies should focus less on getting their workers to fit into a particular mold and more on helping individuals thrive on their own. No two people are alike, and encouraging your staff to show individuality and personality will make them happier and more productive on the job.
- Quotas Don’t Equal Inclusion
Far too many employers try to meet some kind of quota when it comes to diversifying their workforce. Going out of your way to hire members of a minority group may look good on paper, but it doesn’t always make for an inclusive workplace. Everyone needs to feel like they’re accepted on the job, and some bitter cynic who believes that a coworker was hired because of the color of his or her skin won’t be very accepting of that person. Instead of worrying about quotas when hiring new employees, focus on qualifications. If you focus on merit, you will find yourself with a more diverse workplace in time.
- Set Clear & Concise Goals
When it comes to any on-the-job training, you need to be clear about your goals. This applies to diversity training as much as anything else. Nobody wants to engage in any training activity or course if they don’t know why. Make it clear and concise what you’re trying to accomplish, and don’t patronize your staff.
- Keep Your Training Ongoing
Finally, your upcoming diversity training session should never be a one-off affair. Your staff will change over time, and new issues will arise. Diversity and inclusivity training on the job should be ongoing, such as twice a year. There will always be something that needs to be addressed, and it is up to you and the rest of your management team to ensure that everyone feels safe and welcome in your company.