Diversity and inclusion are more than just corporate buzzwords. You have surely heard a great deal about them lately—and rightfully so. But many are still unsure exactly what they mean.
U.S. Department tof Housing and Urban Development describes it best and in the simplest terms. In their words, “diversity is the mix and inclusion is getting the mix to work together.”
Every employee deserves fair treatment and clearly defined opportunities for advancement. Taken seriously, these important efforts can engage and motivate your whole workforce.
What is diversity?
Diversity is a way to differentiate groups of people based on varied perspectives, experiences, lifestyles, and cultures. Diversity includes, but is not limited to:
- National origin, ethnicity, race, and color
- Gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation
- Education, family structure, and socioeconomic status
What is inclusion?
Inclusion works to ensure employees feel valued for their unique qualities. This also includes the notion that employees feel like they belong in that workplace. Inclusion aims to create a workplace culture and environment that recognizes, appreciates, and effectively utilizes EVERY employees’:
How do diversity and inclusion work together in the workplace?
You can address diversity by making sure people with different backgrounds are represented across the company. These efforts may result in shuffling around existing teams and changing recruiting methods. But most critical, it’s important to make everyone feel equally welcome.
Diversity in management is particularly important because it’s easy to overlook different perspectives when everyone in the meeting (or on the Zoom call) is of the same gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation.
Training on diversity and inclusion offers measurable benefits for the company. Utilizing your Learning Management System to infuse diversity and inclusion into your company’s training ensures the process is streamlined, structured, and universal.
Here are six ways a Learning Management System (LMS) can improve your diversity and inclusion efforts:
Identify current strengths and goals
Your office may have a diverse staff, but is that the case at higher management levels? Upper management may be surprised to learn how lower-level employees perceive the company culture.
For many companies, the initial assessment of diversity and inclusion could be as simple as conducting an anonymous survey.
- How many employees have experienced or witnessed behavior that was unwelcoming or discriminatory?
- Do employees feel that their opinions are not only heard but valued?
- Do you feel recognized when you contribute to the success of the company?
- Do you feel that you have the opportunity for growth and promotion within the company?
When you’ve assessed the current strengths and areas of improvement of your company, you’ll need to set specific goals for how to improve.
- Can you adjust your recruiting and hiring processes to target new demographics?
- Could a focus on inclusion help improve retention?
- How can you ensure a wider group of people have a say in the company’s actions and culture?
Create an environment of learning and understanding
Diversity is not just about fighting specific forms of prejudice and discrimination. It’s about being as open as possible to new perspectives and amplifying the underrepresented voices.
Your team members have much to learn from each other. However, hierarchies and office politics often prevent some from speaking up. With better communication and openness, you can foster a more collaborative learning environment.
A learning management system is another great tool for promoting a culture of continuous learning that includes opportunities for everyone.
Develop and adopt company-wide diversity training initiatives
With a learning management system, you can create, or adapt, existing diversity training resources. Unless someone in HR is professionally trained in this field, it’s probably best to work from existing materials rather than improvising.
Using an LMS, courses are delivered online instead of a conventional in-person meeting. This allows training to be less disruptive to the workday. Along the way, management can easily track completion and subject matter comprehension.
Ensure minority employees have clear paths to promotions
Thanks to unconscious bias and limited opportunity, many deserving employees never seem to reach their full potential. Although initiatives pay specific attention to aiding minorities along their career paths, the structures and programs should be designed to benefit all employees.
A learning management system makes it easy for managers to create personalized learning paths for every employee. Set objective benchmarks for promotions, and ensure the same standards apply consistently to everyone.
Make sure training material is inclusive
Your training material is an opportunity to go beyond just the federal and state mandates. The first step in creating a more inclusive work environment is for your training itself to be more inclusive.
- Could your training format be more helpful for employees with different learning styles (like visual, auditory, and kinesthetic)?
- Does your learning management system offer the same courses in different languages?
- Does training meet accessibility standards for employees with disabilities?
Train the entire company for success
To kickstart a meaningful change toward inclusivity, start by training managers and leaders. Everyone needs to be on the same page about goals and aware of the ways that new changes can benefit everyone.
Eventually, you’ll need to train the entire company, as well as adding material to the onboarding process for new hires. Especially if you plan to include assessments and completion tracking, an LMS makes the scheduling and training process easier for everyone.