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diversity training

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Diversity training is education about demographic differences among people. The training is designed to increase participants' understanding of various demographics and improve interactions with people of different ethnicities, cultures, genders, belief systems, sexual orientations, abilities, ages, political affiliations, languages and countries of origin.

Organizations provide diversity training for a number of reasons, primarily to promote a corporate culture in which each employee feels valued and respected and, as a result, is more likely to be engaged and productive. Having a reputation for being a diverse workplace is also likely to attract the best job applicants. A desire to avoid lawsuits is also a motivator.

The most effective diversity training is long-term and deliberately woven into the company culture. Training continuously encourages employees to think of other people as unique individuals and is supported by corporate policies that emphasize non-discriminatory hiring and performance appraisals that are objective and evaluate measurable criteria.

The least effective diversity training is delivered sporadically in discrete events. At some companies, employees are required to attend a mandatory workshop, lecture or online course for diversity training. Although this approach may help the company meet compliance regulations, it is unlikely to help employees keep diversity top-of-mind and create an inclusive workplace.

This was last updated in September 2017

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