More and more companies these days are welcoming diverse talent pools from across the globe.
When the COVID-19 pandemic made companies embrace “work from home” and online working cultures, the understanding of having a global/multicultural workforce saw a new clarity.
However, if implemented without a proper understanding, it can sometimes create challenging situations within an organisation.
Companies should therefore have diversity and inclusion as a part of their regular training programmes.
What is the need for diversity and inclusion workshops?
Here are the reasons D&I workshops should be on every company’s employee training agenda:
1. Raise awareness about D&I
One of the biggest problems faced by organisations is the unconscious bias in the workers. Within well structured D&I workshops, it is possible to raise awareness about diversity, cultural differences, acceptance and get a real-time understanding of the issues faced by the workers.
This will ultimately help to make sure that the workplace is positive and productive.
2. Encourage inclusive thinking and action
These workshops help to make the employees aware of workplace inclusion and how they can consciously put in efforts and actions to ensure that their coworkers and other staff feel valued and comfortable.
3. To retain sensitivity in the workplace
Workplace sensitivity helps to ensure that there is no harassment or discrimination in the organisation.
D&I workshops for employees help them to be open-minded about the perspectives of their coworkers belonging to different cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, gender, races, religions and age groups.
4. Encourage innovation
When people from different cultures interact, new ideas and innovations are bound to happen. Conducting a diversity and inclusion workshop helps employees to value the suggestions brought forth by each other and get creative in their thinking.
This in turn encourages out-of-the-box problem-solving skills and leads to breakthrough solutions for organisational growth.
5. Grow the company’s skillset
Needless to explain, diverse workforces means a pool of unique brains, skills, and cross-cultural competencies. This is a big factor in an organisation’s growth.
6. Build business reputation
Prioritising diversity and inclusion training sends out a positive impression about your companies that you value your employees and encourage equality amongst the workforce. This is a very important brand image that companies need to strive for.
Diversity and inclusion workshop ideas – Tips
There is no doubt that a happy workforce brings in great productivity. When properly implemented, diversity and inclusion workshops can make the employees feel motivated, valued, and productive.
Here are some tips to help you plan one:
1. Create a workshop format and plan sessions
Before developing the workshop schedule, ask yourself the questions.
- What all things do you wish to achieve with the program?
- What all things the training program should cover?
Contemplating the above questions will give you a lot of clarity in designing the format and syllabus of your workshop sessions.
The ultimate goal of a diversity workshop should be to encourage the employees to actively participate in work affairs and nurture team spirit.
2. Clarify the meaning of unconscious bias for races and gender
People born and brought up in different backgrounds will have certain unconscious biases towards certain people or work situations. When we say “unconscious” we do specifically mean that in most instances, the employees do not themselves realise the biases that they carry.
The first step to resolve these is to help the employees identify these biases. Once this is achieved, it gets easier for them to work towards eliminating such thoughts.
In a work situation, it is important for people to effectively work together to achieve common goals. This can only happen when employees recognise the importance of treating each other at equal levels, irrespective of their differences.
3. Explain the benefits of diversity in an organisation
The next goal of a diversity workshop is to make the employees understand the benefits of diversity within the organisation. This is even more relevant when training future leaders.
Get staff or leaders to:
- Identify the meaning of inclusion and the distinction between diversity and inclusion.
- Discuss the organisational barriers that hinder diversity and inclusion practices.
- Discuss the costs and benefits that are associated when bringing in a diverse/inclusive workforce.
- Mark the characteristics of inclusive leadership.
- Discuss how to manage obstacles to overcome diversity issues in the workplace.
4. Discuss the difference between diversity and inclusion
Set a clear understanding of diversity and inclusion (separately) amongst the employees. This might include sessions that take up:
- Discussions on attributes and traits of diverse groups.
- Examining the personal traits of each employee and seeing their contributions within the team.
- Identifying the qualities of inclusiveness and inclusive perspectives by appreciating different cultures and ethnicities.
5. Implement an integrated approach
One of the great things about the diversity and inclusion workshops is that these can be integrated with various other sessions and training programs.
Giving training programs exclusively in the name of diversity might cause boredom in the attendees. Instead, it can be blended with other training sessions such as personality development, time management, career development, etc.
6. Design customised workshops pertinent to the organisation
As we all know, different organisations have various growth goals based on their organisational goals.
There is no one-size-fits approach that can be used all the time.
Workshops and training programs should be unique and tailored for the specific organisation. The diversity training sessions should be designed by carefully considering the organisational goals, current employee structure, leadership positions, work culture, etc.
Ensure that the planned workshop sessions include data and examples taken from your organisation.
7. Understand what the employees want from the organisation
Last but not the least, a D&I workshop can not be formulated without understanding the needs and requirements of the employees. Understand the issues they are facing such as gender bias, ethnicity issues, cultural differences, etc.
Every voice within an organisation needs to be carefully heard in order to achieve success out of a diversity and inclusion workshop.
Diversity training helps to nullify the differences between employees from various social groups. Cultural and geographical backgrounds help to unite them to achieve a common goal.
While designing the training programme, keep in mind that not all training programmes are suited for every company. Therefore, you need to carefully analyse the company goals and objectives to design a beneficial training program in all aspects.
The article is a part of our comprehensive series on “Diversity and Inclusion.”
Co-founder and Managing Director
Stuart Harris, co-founder of Growth Academy Asia, has a vast background in corporate events and learning & development. As co-founder and managing director at Team Building Asia, Stuart has developed a large network of international clients over the past 20 years and brought an innovative perspective to the more traditional elements of team building, which lead to the founding Growth Academy Asia. With GAA, he aspires to disrupt the L&D industry with the immersive VR organisational and leadership programmes.