At some point in your adult working life, you probably realized that workplace diversity training isn’t typically announced with a banner reading Hip hip hooray! It’s diversity training day! in colorful bubble letters. At Ethena, we believe that this is a real shame! Diversity training for employees can be educational as well as a cause for celebration! After all, a thriving workplace cherishes the diversity that contributes to its success. After all, a diverse, inclusive company is a great company to work for.

What is diversity training in the workplace?

The term diversity means something or someone that is set apart from the other. We often see “diversity” used to describe racial diversity in the workplace. However, a diverse team includes people from every group of human differences, ideas, and backgrounds.

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Before singing the praises of diversity training, we need to ensure that people understand what follows: groups are diverse, but a person is not. For example, a hiring manager can hire from a “diverse group of candidates” but they can’t hire a “diverse” candidate. Every person is different from the next. Technically, every person on your team is diverse from each other.

Diversity training is typically a part of the broader Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) discussion. And typically, the goal of DEI courses is to teach organizations, leadership, teams, and individuals how to support:

  • Diversity
  • Fairness
  • And accommodation initiatives in the workplace.

What diversity in the workplace training can do for you

We’re all about spreading the excitement for diversity training in the workplace. But like the great ongoing debate between crunchy and smooth peanut butter lovers, how it spreads it up to the person (or team) who’s applying it.

We know at the numbers level, diversity is excellent for every workplace. Having a diverse workplace encourages employee retention and attracts more job applicants. However, simply being a diverse group of people isn’t enough to attract the most happy, productive bees to your hive. 

In fact, working amongst a group of people in which there are a lot of different values and opinions is only important to 14% of employees. What matters to most employees is:

  • Working in an environment that provides employees with a sense of purpose (39%)
  • And being in an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable being themselves (47%)

At the individual level, diversity training teaches learners about different types of diversity and helps to develop the interpersonal and communication skills that are needed to be a collective member of a diverse team. At the organizational level, diversity training helps to protect against workplace discrimination and violations against protected groups. It also helps teams to comply with legal and moral standards, as well as to develop organizational policies.

Of course, the simple existence of a company’s diversity program won’t guarantee its success. DEI efforts need to be continuously featured and nurtured in workplace culture in order to have the biggest impact! In a 2022 survey:

  • Only 16% of employees believed there was any kind of DEI training or programming at their workplace
  • This contrasted with the 50% that DEI programming leaders knew there was

That’s evidence that DEI isn’t quite reaching the mark!

A screenshot from Ethena's DEI training: Race Discrimination
A screenshot from Ethena’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion training

How to onboard effective diversity and inclusion training in the workplace

Hip hip hooray! You’re ready to reap the benefits of diversity training in your workplace. So how do you propagate to get the maximum growth?

Here are some questions you and your team can start reflecting on:

  1. How can your workplace be more inclusive?
  2. What diversity issues has your workplace or organization experienced in the past? How did your team previously try to solve them?
  3. What are the diversity issues that currently exist in your workplace?
  4. What steps can you take so learners feel encouraged to question their own biases and grow without feeling singled out or intimidated?
  5. What topics are necessary for your company’s workplace training, depending on population, location, and legal requirements?

Once you have a good idea of the who, what, and why, picking which diversity training program or model that fits your organization will feel like a breeze. 

How to implement diversity training in the workplace

You’ve identified your targets and created a plan to get diversity training into your workplace. How do you ensure that it creates the positive benefits you’re working towards?

First thing’s first: it’s time to raise that banner (metaphorical or otherwise)! When it comes to DEI, employees believe it when they see it. Don’t let your efforts fall victim to the efforts vs perception misalignment. It’s very possible for DEI efforts to go unnoticed and have little visible reach in the workplace. 

Case in point: in a surveyed group, 54% of business leaders said that diversity is a stated value or priority area for their organization, while only 39% of employees agreed with them.

DEI initiatives that don’t hit their targets don’t help anyone. When in doubt, organize a diversity task force who can identify organizational and cultural problems (using our reflection questions above!) to help ensure that diversity efforts don’t go to waste.

Common types of cultural diversity training in the workplace

Great diversity training encourages learners to step out of their comfort zone in order to expand their perception of their workplace and world around them. Topics typically include:

  • Diversity
  • Equity
  • Inclusion
  • Identity & Intersectionality
  • Bystander Intervention
  • Bias, Awareness, and Belonging

Online or in-person? Spread out or all at once? There’s more than one kind of DEI training … though we of course have our own opinion on what makes the best one (hint hint: it’s Ethena).

Good diversity training courses focus on bias awareness, appropriate communication and best practices, and cultural sensitivity training. The best courses teach about all of these, and then some! 

Tools like role-playing (or watching real-life examples through engaging videos) connect learners with what goes into experiencing, witnessing, and then appropriately dealing with workplace bias, harassment, or discrimination. 

Thinking about which method works best for your team may depend on legal requirements, company size, and the time frame you need to work within.

Ethena takes workplace diversity training even further to help reach your goals

You’re already putting in the effort. Go the extra mile to see your workplace diversity training truly flourish! Great employee diversity training takes your team beyond the basics of diversity and inclusion and gets into the nitty gritty, such as pregnant and parent employees and those with disabilities. 

Our evidence-based DEI training has a 95% approval rating and covers:

  • Ageism
  • Religious bias
  • Racism
  • Gender bias

As well as what a diverse workforce looks like across the gender and sexuality spectrum.

Of course, you don’t have to take our word for it. Ethena has received over 1.2 million positive reviews from happy, growing learners who are now working to support happier, more diverse workplaces! 

At Ethena, we make it simple to bring engaging, topical, cringe-free diversity training for employees into your workplace with our easy-to-onboard HR integrations that save teams time and headache. A diverse workplace can be a thriving workplace! Ethena wants to help get you there.

Ready to see how Ethena’s best-in-class training can help create diversity efforts employees definitely notice? Request a sample of our DEI training. Want to learn more about how Ethena’s admin tools deliver the right training at the right time? Let’s talk.

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