Diversity and Inclusion: beyond compliance

In today’s workplace, HR Departments are increasingly being tasked with implementing Diversity and Inclusion programs that build and encourage a work environment that reflects those behaviors. For many HR Professionals, this is a welcome change. Instead of simply fielding complaints, Diversity & Inclusion programs allow teams to be proactive and have a voice that is heard in the training arena.
Implementing a Diversity and Inclusion program can positively affect an organization, but making the training work requires a dedicated effort. What are some ways you can make the training effective? Let’s take a look.

Start a few steps back

Diversity and Inclusion is a hot topic of conversation in the workplace, and it’s quickly gaining momentum. The attention these programs receive often leads to requests for initiatives and ultimately to budget discussions in order to fund the training. That’s a critical step, but there are many building blocks that need to be in place before you launch a Diversity & Inclusion program.
The reality is that effective Diversity & Inclusion programs start long before the training is scheduled. To implement a truly effective program, you need a solid foundation of fairness and respect in the workplace. Once that base is established you’ll be able to make the Diversity & Inclusion elements take hold and change the culture.

More than diversity compliance

Successful Diversity and Inclusion programs are fundamentally about so much more than compliance. Focusing on Diversity and Inclusion directly leads to a culture of civility within the workforce and positively affects the bottom line. The High-Impact Diversity and Inclusion Report conducted by Bersin found that organizations with inclusive cultures are twice as likely [1] to meet or exceed financial targets when compared with those that lack in Diversity and Inclusion. But while 71 percent of organizations [2] surveyed in the report aspire to an inclusive organizational structure, only 12 percent have achieved [3] it.
According to the Bersin Report, successful implementation begins with approaching changes as a vital component of the core business vs. solely a compliance issue. Companies that are reaching the most success with Diversity and Inclusion are approaching the subject broadly and incorporating all levels of management into training and keeping goals at the forefront with each new hire and promotion.

Managing behavior starts with thorough training

ELI recently launched a Diversity & Inclusion program, Civil Treatment® Building an Inclusive Workplace, which provides a roadmap for all levels of an organization to equip managers and employees with the skills for treating others fairly and creating a healthy workplace culture. The program underscores the business imperatives associated with diversity and inclusion and offers insights for maximizing the benefits of a workforce made up of many cultural backgrounds, personal characteristics, and unique experiences.
The training program offers teams a safe environment to engage in inclusive dialogue, and provides a proactive behavioral approach to leading inclusive teams. By equipping participants with learning experiences and skills for working in inclusive teams, this program helps leverage the differences and strengthen results.

Ultimately it’s about culture

The focus on Diversity and Inclusion within HR departments is warranted but in order to address the core issues you have to go deeper. The way to truly address inclusion at a corporate level is to go beyond just Diversity & Inclusion and address the organization’s culture. While a single training session around diversity might be helpful, it’s critical for leaders to understand how a foundation of culture will affect the effectiveness of all the future training initiatives.
[1] – High-Impact Diversity and Inclusion – Maturity Model and Top Findings (Page 38)
[2] – High-Impact Diversity and Inclusion – Maturity Model and Top Findings (Page 7)
[3] – High-Impact Diversity and Inclusion – Maturity Model and Top Findings (Page 7)

  • B.J. Ocker says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I wrote a paper last year on implicit bias and this is an area I have great interest in. We all could learn so much more about ourselves by using some of the on-line tools to help identify unconscious bias and how it may impact our daily lives. In business, this is an important factor to consider; more aware personnel will improve customer satisfaction and delivery of services.

  • Thanks for explaining having a foundation of respect in the workplace to change the culture for inclusion. Our office is trying to have a diversity and inclusion meeting and training to make sure the employees feel comfortable. We’ll find a good training class that can help us learn what to change.

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