Hiring a diversity trainer is something only big companies do, right? Short answer: no. Any business that values communication, understanding and cohesiveness among its employees will see the benefit of providing diversity training to its workers. What exactly is diversity training? In a nutshell, it is an effort to educate employees on how to treat people of different backgrounds in a respectful way.

What does diversity training involve?

Diversity training programs help individuals become aware of the inherent biases and assumptions that we often have about people who are different from us. Participants are encouraged to see how these beliefs can impact their behavior in an unfair or disrespectful way to coworkers, and even clients and customers. By bringing these issues to light, the hope is that every employee will feel better understood and valued for the unique viewpoint and contribution they can make to the team.

Why should we do it?

Diversity training can have a larger impact on your company’s success than you might expect. With a culture of awareness supported, retention goes up, workplace conflict goes down, morale is boosted and recruitment efforts are enhanced. If a true commitment to valuing people of different perspectives and backgrounds is in place, it’s not hard to see the long term positive effects that are possible.

How do we get started?

On-site professional trainers, eLearning courses, webinars – there are several ways to bring diversity training to your company. SHRM provides a list of Diversity Training and Education Programs on their site. Whatever method fits your needs and budget, it’s important to recognize that a one-time training effort is not enough to have a meaningful and lasting influence on your staff. Only by making the message of fairness, tolerance, respect and inclusion a priority in your everyday work life will you make your investment in diversity training worthwhile.

Susan Bryant is a writer and editor who enjoys working on diverse subject matter and collaborating on interesting projects. She can be contacted at susanbryant7@gmail.com.

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