Diversity is one of the most important aspects of any excellent organization. Well-rounded, long-term diversity training may be a catalyst for improvements in the workplace. Employees in a positive, inclusive workplace are often more engaged and maintain better morale than those in less diverse, less inclusive organizations.
With this in mind, SDC CPAs has been implementing a renewed commitment to comprehensive, diversity training. Founder and member of SDC CPAs, Dee Studler, seeks to open dialogues and advance the company culture with diversity and inclusion at the center.
Confronting Unconscious Bias
In a recent diversity training session, SDC CPAs employees were challenged to consider the concept of unconscious bias. The training used a video about the “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes” experiment to broach the subject and prompt a discussion.
In the experiment, a teacher tells their class that people with blue eyes are inferior to those with brown eyes and the next day tells them the opposite. The students’ discriminatory behavior and bullying escalate quickly with an authority figure suggesting an arbitrary difference between members of a group. This result demonstrates how bias (both conscious and unconscious) rapidly multiplies and turns into discrimination and tension.
Informed and stirred by watching a video about the experiment, SDC’s staff was able to have an insightful, reflective conversation about bias and discrimination in the workplace. By promoting personal growth and understanding beyond polite do’s and don’ts, diversity training can start important dialogues and improve company culture for everyone’s benefit.
Implementing an effective diversity training program takes time, planning, and commitment. A strong, progressive diversity training program should:
- Avoid tokenism, or using an individual as a stand-in for a minority group. For example, it is a discriminatory practice to pressure members of minority groups to share their experiences or expect them to weigh in on issues related to their minority group.
- Include personal goal-setting; the process of setting individual goals for inclusion helps employees consider their role in shaping the company culture and their ability to affect change.
- Rely on expertise; bringing in relevant speakers, presenters, and experts can provide a valuable range of perspectives while keeping training fresh.
- Include assessments; pre- and post-training surveys can help leadership understand staff needs and improve future training sessions.
It is never too early to begin working toward creating a diverse, inclusive company culture. With comprehensive, deliberate diversity training, companies can turn tolerance into inclusion and growth.