Diversity Training is Important When Implementing a Successful DEI Strategy for the Long Term
Organizations that want to create a DEI Program that will sustain and grow with and within the organization, need to start with a best practice of basic DEI training. Training is important to provide prior to creating an organizational DEI strategy or initiative is because; as people we only know what we know and we do not know what we do not know. If you want to level the playing field in the work environment, you need to provide basic knowledge to all levels of employees. In order to be truly authentic in rolling out a DEI program, everyone needs to understand how to be open to learning about Diversity so that the organization can be truly inclusive and equitable.
The leaders, managers and employees should all understand that there are several layers of learning that occurs in our lives that continue evolve, and create our foundation of beliefs. The primary layer is not changeable. The additional layers evolve as we go through life and our learning is impacted by those around us. Once we understand that we need to evolve outside of our current knowledge and comfort zone, then we can behave in a way that would be acceptable or inclusive. By training everyone in the organization about biases; both conscious and unconscious and microaggressions they can learn how to be more aware of how they can affect their co-workers to let others feel included.
If you take a look at the various layers of diversity and how we identify with them as we go through life, we can also understand how this impacts how others feel. Awareness education can provide a base level of knowledge that will improve how any DEI Strategy and Initiatives are rolled out within the organization. DEI is more about the people then actually what is done; so DEI can be embraced if everyone accepts it and how they can support the environment by their behaviors towards others in the organization and impact how they show up. The goal of DEI is to create a work environment where everyone can show up as themselves and feel like they are supported and trust those that they work with to be their authentic self, not wear a mask or having no voice.
In closing, training will provide the foundation of knowledge on self awareness on how we communicate with others and make them feel. If you do not understand how your layers of diversity can make others feel unincluded or not having any value or equity in the organization, no amount of money for a DEI Strategy or Initiative will be successful. The people in the organization are the backbone of the DEI longevity and what will be truly impactful so the organization can be truly equitable and inclusive by celebrating everyone's differences.