02 September 2014
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Diversity training

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Many major employers and public sector organisations run equality diversity training programmes to help their employees become aware of different cultures. The ultimate aim of this training is to ensure equal opportunities for all, help in the elimination of prejudice and racism in the workplace and to try to break down any ‘glass ceilings’. Studies have shown that there are many advantages to the running of these equality training courses. They have been shown to increase productivity, help build teamwork and also assist workplace diversity and harmony.

How can diversity training benefit a organisation?

  • Better rates of employee retention (especially highly talented staff).
  • Enhancing a companies corporate reputation.
  • Ensuring company compliance with the Equalities Act and related legislation.
  • Lower rates of staff absenteeism.
  • Increased staff performance and morale.
  • Reduction in the number of allegations of discrimination and also any related lawsuits.
  • Helping to create a safe and friendly working environment.
  • Improved conflict resolution and the settlement of grievances.
  • Increasing the level of job satisfaction.
  • Promoting good habits in the way colleagues treat each other and improve working relationships.
  • Workplaces are becoming more diverse with employees from different races, ages and nationalities. Diversity training can assist in getting them all to work together in harmony.
  • Motivating people to perform better and work harder.
  • Making people more open minded by changing stereotypical attitudes..
  • Encouraging people to work better together and to utilize each other's abilities.
  • Increasing innovation and creativity.
  • Helping employees who are set in their ways to understand that their behaviour may be offensive to others.
  • Showing managers how to incorporate diversity into a organizations planning process and strategic goals.

How can diversity training improve a companies recruitment process:

  • By showing hiring managers how to establish diversity monitoring and competency procedures as part of their  interviewing and performance evaluation processes.
  • It can help to bring quality staff to a company, who will be attracted by a companies reputation as a progressive employer.
  • Encouraging companies to look at whether their employees reflect their client base.
  • Tracking the demographics of a companies recruitment practices, including their hiring decisions and candidates.
  • Encouraging a HR department to make an active effort to attract, interview and hire people from broad social backgrounds.
  • Encouraging and developing policies that will help to retain underrepresented ethnic minority staff.

What does diversity training consist of?

  • Explaining the benefits of diversity training to a organisations employees and management.
  • Assessing a workplace, devising a diversity plan and then implementing it.
  • Examining and discussing discrimination relating to culture, race, religion, disability, gender, age, social background, and sexual orientation.
  • Developing accessibility policies and the organisations strategies.
  • Showing companies how to recruit employees from diverse backgrounds.
  • Procedures in preventing sexual harassment.
  • Explaining multiculturalism in the modern workplace.
  • Dealing with bullying in the workplace.
  • Shows companies how to monitor their performance in relation to recruitment, retention and promotion.
  • Designing, developing and implementing a diversity recruitment strategy.
  • Addressing any current or ongoing workplace problems or issues.
  • Showing managers how to communicate effectively and diplomatically with those employees refuse to accept that the workplace is changing. 
  • Analysing workforce trends.
  • Training up one specialist member of staff who will be the dedicated diversity ‘manager’.

How is diversity training carried out;
So what exactly does the training entail, well the course material can show which language in inappropriate to use in a office environment. Role playing is also a option that can be used in the session, this is where work colleagues will image what its like to be from a different culture. Or how it feels to be disabled, perhaps staff can take time to sit in a wheelchair to see what it feels like. The diversity training material should touch on subjects like religion, sexual orientation, and ethnicity, this is just to name a few topics.

It is generally agreed that it should be a voluntary process for employees and not a mandatory one. Equality and diversity training can be held in a number of ways, it can be done in house, say in the staff room of your organisation. Or it can be outsourced to a diversity training company this is where you would go to a training company and have a ‘lesson’ with diversity trainers there. If you ever apply for public sector jobs then it may be to your advantage to mention if you have been on any courses.

Project managers in charge of diversity management should note that training of this nature is not and should not be aimed just at one ethnic group, but at all employees including the ethnic minorities. It is important that any diversity training materials is not seen by employees as political correctness but as a resource to help improve performance in a organisation. It should be stressed to those attending the seminars that you can advice on subjects such as bullying, and sexually harassments. A diversity manager can include aspects of diversity awareness in any general customer service training they hold, this way killing two birds with one stone. They should also make sure attendance is high for any classes held.

Cultural awareness training can take a number of forms, there can be training days and classroom style workshops or you can study your course online. All of them having the same objective, basically to improve race relations.


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More diversity and equality issues
Commission for Racial Equality
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Equal opportunities policy
Ethnic minorities in the UK
What is age discrimination?
Workplace diversity


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