How to Create a Diversity and Inclusion Training Program

Diversity and inclusion are essential for a company to thrive. Successfully incorporating diversity and inclusion into a company culture can easily begin with implementing a training program. Here are some tips on how to create one in companies.

By ESGgo TeamJanuary 11, 2023 8 min read

Today’s interconnected workplaces consist of people from varying races, backgrounds, beliefs, and sexual orientations. These people bring diverse opinions, perspectives, skills, and attributes to make companies, products, and services unique.

When a corporation needs to take its performance to the next level, a diverse workforce — which brings those unique qualities to everyday business — can be incredibly beneficial.

According to a study by McKinsey & Company, diverse companies experience increased profitability compared to their competitors. The study cites the company’s 2019 analysis, which found that corporations in the top quartile for gender diversity in executive teams were 25% more likely to make better-than-average profits than competitors in the bottom quartile. 

As the world evolves, many companies continue to assess their stewardship in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. And demonstrating diversity and inclusion in the workplace is an excellent way to do that. 

ESG reporting frameworks request that companies report on various diversity-related issues such as the GRI 405, concerning a diverse body of employees and equity in remuneration. One of the best ways for companies to ensure they meet their diversity and inclusion goals and adhere to the ESG frameworks is by implementing a diversity and inclusion training program.

Diversity and inclusion training programs aim to educate people about the many benefits of having a diverse company culture. They cover topics of gender, culture, background, religion, identity, and more. Participants learn how hiring employees with a broad spectrum of these attributes create a team with varied perspectives and how everyone can thrive together. 

This is important because people tend to hire applicants that look and act like themselves. Training increases awareness of that fact, improves fairness during the hiring process, and promotes diversity in the recruitment process. 

Inside the program: objectives and approaches 

As the drive to hire and maintain a diverse workforce increases, it’s essential to have quality workplace diversity programs. But why are diversity and inclusion important in the workplace? Here are a few benefits of diversity and inclusion:

Creating a diversity and inclusion training program

Companies can use these practical approaches to create a diversity and inclusion training program.

Define shared goals

Defining shared goals shows employees how they can play a role in diversity and inclusion efforts and help the company achieve its targets. Employees may be eager to play a part in diversity workshops to strengthen the company’s efforts, but they can’t fully participate if they are not sure how. Having clear, shared goals will help team members work together and move in the same direction. 

Focus on inclusion

For diversity training programs to be effective, companies must include all team members and their individual attributes. Touching on issues like unconscious bias, aggression, and diverse communications is an excellent way to encourage understanding and to ensure that the program aligns with the corporation’s initiatives and goals. 

Make it a long-term program

It might seem like a week or two is sufficient time to allocate a training program in diversity and inclusion. But for a lasting effect and to truly create an informed workforce, it is vital for the program to emphasize repeated short trainings that evolve regularly, such as o, n a quarterly basis. Companies could even award a certificate to the participants, which would give employees something to add to their resumes, and an additional incentive to take part in the program. 

Tailor the program

No two companies are the same, and the same holds true for diversity and inclusion training programs. Some ways to customize a training program include considering employee bias, coworker disagreements, diverse workers facing discrimination, and office-wide or smaller issues. 

Widen the definition of diversity

For the most compelling diversity and inclusion training, widening the definition of diversity to include all affected persons and groups is essential. Since the program intends to eliminate prejudice and bias, including a comprehensive topic list informs participants better.

A hybrid approach is the best option for diversity workshops to cover the most ground. Picking and choosing elements from the topic list is also an excellent idea because there is diversity in how people learn and retain information.

How to create a diversity and inclusion training program

1. Gather data 

Before implementing a program, knowing internal company diversity metrics can help in its design. Tabulating employee demographics can lead to a better understanding of representation across areas like gender, ethnicity, age, religion, disability, identity, and more. It’s also a good idea to let employees know the reasons for the survey and what the company intends to do with the results.

2. Identify needs and set objectives

After conducting internal research, several areas may emerge that form a basis for a training program. With data indicating underrepresented groups in various jobs, locations, and departments, the program can target common goals like biased hiring practices, deficiency in leadership diversity, hesitation to change, and employee turnover due to lack of diversity.

3. Create an outline

With plenty of data and targets to meet, creating an outline beforehand can help ensure a thorough and complete diversity and inclusion training program. The outline can note specific goals for different areas of a company like department-specific training, recruiter and HR training, revising company policies, and analyzing employee onboarding.

4. Source material and content

This step includes locating training material and writing content that relays a company’s current standing on the subject. Good training material considers a corporation’s employees and departments in current ways — both for the technology available and the relevant material. E-learning and games provide a way to track results over time and further measure employee engagement. 

5. Compiling results

Analyzing the results of a diversity training course can lead to a better understanding of what worked and what may need improvement. This data can help a company design a revised and more effective version of the program for the future. Frequently analyzing target areas provides relevant data on the program’s effectiveness and how it’s received by employees.

How to make the program successful?

While workplace diversity programs may have the best intentions, their effectiveness depends on long-term implementation and ensuring they aren’t a once-a-year occurrence. 

For diversity and inclusion training to have a lasting impact, analyzing data and revising methods continually over time ensures optimal outcomes. 

While it may seem like diversity and inclusion only affects the “S” in ESG, it, in fact, has a bearing on all three pillars. 

Concerning the “E” in ESG, a diverse workforce is more likely to consider environmental impacts and their effects on communities and their inhabitants. That way, corporations can incorporate ideas that consider local interests and implement strategies to reduce their carbon footprint.

Diversity and inclusion have a particularly positive effect on the “S” in ESG. Corporations that emphasize cultural diversity and run DE&I training will not only enjoy workplace culture with improved work ethic and high morale, but might also score higher on the S in ESG by rating agencies.

Leadership starts at the top, and companies with diverse executives and board members show their commitment to governance issues, which makes the “G” in ESG. This will attribute to a higher score if the training leads to the implementation of gender diversity in the board composition. Over and over, research indicates that gender-diverse boards correlate with enhanced investment efficiency and improved board member engagement.

*Disclaimer: This summary is for general education purposes only and may be subject to change. ESGgo, Inc., and its affiliates (the “Company”, “ESGgo”, “we”, or “us”) cannot guarantee the accuracy of the statements made or conclusions reached in this summary and we expressly disclaim all representations and warranties (whether express or implied by statute or otherwise) whatsoever.