Different Types of Diversity Training and How They Work

Formal training is one of the most common ways to address diversity and inclusion.  However, while diversity training generates several benefits, the effectiveness depends on how it is conducted and the methodologies used.

How to Make Diversity Training Effective

Poorly structured diversity training programs can prove to be ineffective and may even lead to backlash. Diversity and unconscious bias e-learning can be beneficial when consistently implemented over a period of time. Diversity training programs should target skills development and self-awareness. 

It’s impossible to find one standard solution that will work across organisations. The efficacy of training depends on various factors specific to individual organisations.

Customising the training program to the company’s requirements can make a significant difference to the results.

Endorsement from leaders can enhance the results and can help make an impression on potentially resistant employees.

Diversity training covers multiple facets

Diversity programs, whether face to face or online, are by no means restricted to developing cross-cultural competencies. There are many characteristics besides cultural differences which distinguish one individual from another and most of these can be leveraged to benefit the organisation.

Gender Diversity Training

Men and women sometimes have distinct styles of operating in the workplace and a combination of men and women has a significantly beneficial effect on performance and productivity. Diversity training can help in removing biases and prejudices which may become barriers to certain employees because of their gender.

1.   Diversity in Thinking Styles

Why is it important to hire people who think differently than you?

Diverse thinking styles lead to innovation, creativity and problem-solving approaches. If every employee thinks in the same way, you will have a homogenised workforce that achieves consensus on every issue.

A company that hires people with diverse thinking styles is less likely to be intimidated with changing market demands, customer expectations and emerging competition. Brainstorming sessions are likely to be more productive and new ideas are born out of discussions.

Leaders can encourage diverse thinking by fostering a culture of open communication and a healthy acceptance of constructive criticism. At times, seeking a culture of diverse thinking may seem counterintuitive. However, it’s a much better alternative compared to a homogenous team environment.

2.   Diversity in Behavioural Styles

Every employee, whether introverted or extroverted, has the potential to add value to the team.  Behavioural styles are often influenced by ethnic origins or cultural backgrounds.

Being introverted does not necessarily indicate an unwillingness to share or contribute. Diversity training helps team leaders motivate every type of personality to participate without fearing embarrassment. Unconscious bias often drives leaders to blindly stereotype people and make skewed decisions in the process.

Moreover, there can be different personalities in every ethnic culture. Rather than focus only on cross-cultural differences, it’s more important to focus on the individuals themselves.

Awareness and acknowledgement of differences 

Diversity management can be complex but the ultimate aim is to value and recognise the potential in every skill set, attitude, thinking style and background. Equality and diversity e-learning programs help employees realise that with a little understanding, differences can be combined to create an extraordinary work culture.

Diversity training not only teaches employees to accept differences but to appreciate them as a crucial contributing factor for success. It is important to define clear diversity training goals that get support from all levels.