One of the comments that comes up when I talk with leaders about diversity training is that they don’t want to dredge up the past, bring up difficult subjects or rock the boat. Diversity training sometimes gets a bad rap for stirring up conflict but there are some practical things you can do to make it much easier:
Focus on Things People Have in Common
So much diversity training has to do with highlighting the differences between people that everyone forgets how much they have in common. Create a positive diversity training program where people get to share their stories and learn about each other in a safe environment. Emphasize commonalities so people can build bridges instead of walls.
Help People Acquire Skills to Get Along with Each Other
Teach your staff how to listen actively, communicate effectively, increase self-awareness, lead inspirationally, resolve conflicts, and build cohesive teams. Teaching your leaders and employees these core skills will help them get along with others and bring people together.
Make Diversity Part of Your Company Culture
When you make it clear that your organization values diversity, from the top down, then your employees will start moving in that direction as well. A one-time diversity workshop has very little effect. Plan on offering ongoing training that continues to help people understand and value diversity.
Focus on these areas and you’ll find that diversity becomes less of a charged issue. Diversity training doesn’t have to be difficult, you can make it easier by creating an ongoing, positive program that helps people get along with and value each other. What will you do to support diversity training in your workplace?