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Guest post by Max Maccarone.

Has the extent of your diversity and inclusion training been boardroom presentations with sad-looking PowerPoints and bored looking HR reps? Recent trends in Learning and Development indicate that the days of those presentations are over, and organizational change through training is now a real possibility.

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is a reality of today’s workforce. Recent trends in Learning and Development training show that D&I training has real potential to create significant organizational change to bring D&I out of the boardroom and into effective practice. The trends so far illustrate promising results.

The 2019 U.S. L&D Report from findcourses.com reveals that companies that have grown over the past year are 72% more likely to boast high diversity in their organizations, compared to companies that haven’t grown. If you’re ready to take the next step in emphasizing D&I in your organization, read on to discover how some companies have been driving innovation and implementing cultures of inclusivity and globality through impactful and innovative D&I training strategies.

Diversifying your workplace culture through training and diversifying your talent acquisition pipeline combine to create a harmonious loop of developing D&I overall.

Diversity and Inclusion: The New Normal

Concerningly, 48% of respondents to the report indicated that they do not receive any kind of D&I training at their organization. Changing your organizational culture begins with strategies for diverse talent acquisition, and is cemented in your training strategies. Ensuring that all employees receive D&I training is the best way to spread a culture of inclusion across organizational hierarchies, especially to those involved in talent acquisition.

GenZ is the most diverse generation in American history, and normalizing a culture of diversity in employees’ everyday experience at work will drive the message home that they are part of a company that champions D&I.  The report found that diverse organizations are 22% more likely to offer D&I training to their employees. By establishing a sincere D&I-focused work culture, you can establish a diverse talent acquisition pipeline to bring new perspectives into your existing workplace culture, and keep your company’s D&I culture growing and developing in a harmonious and inclusive loop.

Companies like BCG Digital Ventures have put their D&I training into practice, and seen the results of their efforts first hand. In a recent celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, BCGDV placed Kinsey scales in all their washroom stalls, and invited employees to anonymously mark their own position on the scale. Max Avruch, Learning & Development Specialist at BCGDV, explains that, “It was a way for us to show diversity on our walls and to show people there is a spectrum around orientation.”

Small techniques to show employees the existing diversity at your organization are highly effective in helping them realize their unconscious biases, and to be more aware of how they conduct themselves at work. Emphasizing D&I on an everyday basis normalizes ideas surrounding diversity and translates your D&I training strategies into reality before your eyes throughout your company. Importantly, it will improve your talent acquisition team’s ability to continuously address unconscious biases and contribute to your organization’s diversity culture in hiring practices.

Establishing a culture of D&I through training will better prepare your organization for operating in today’s highly globalized market.

Proactive Diversity Is A Competitive Advantage

Shifting your workplace culture is not only the right thing to do, it’s proven to be better for business. From innovation, higher productivity, more inclusive leadership and better customer service, a diverse workplace is proven to be more successful than non-diverse workplaces.

While training is a foundational aspect of effecting cultural change, having engaged and diverse leadership can continue to drive the development of a diverse workplace forward and increase success. Studies have shown that organizations with more gender diversity in their executive teams are more likely to report above average profitability.

At Ernst & Young (EY) who operate in over 150 countries, they’ve seen more innovative and higher-quality content and outputs  by creating diverse teams , clearly setting them apart from their competitors. Martin Hayter, Global Assurance Learning Leader for EY explains that his “team has a global flavour to it…and we know that the content we develop is going to be applicable to different cultures, and to both emerging and mature markets.” Once you’ve established a culture of diversity at your organization and a diverse talent pipeline, your business will be securely equipped to operate successfully in today’s highly globalized market.

No matter the size of your organization and the resources available to you, beginning the process of implementing a sincere D&I training strategy is the best way to begin the journey to business success. As Texanna Reeves, Executive Director of the Global Diversity and Inclusion Center of Excellence at Merck, advises, “For those organizations that might be at the beginning of their D&I journey, start small. Then, focus on your audience in terms of who you want to have an impact on first and then build up from there. Really look at where you can get started and then just go ahead and chip away at it!”

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