When we express humility, we express modesty. We acknowledge the existence and experiences of others outside of our own. To practice a culture of diversity and inclusion, we must first practice humility.
When we train ourselves on new topics and learn new information, we almost always look for a sign that we’ve achieved a certain mark, hit a certain threshold of knowledge, or reached a specific level of competence. We want grades. Feedback. Clear endpoints. But when it comes to building a culture of diversity and inclusion, specifically in the workplace, it takes continuous training, openness, and dialogue. There aren’t concrete knowledge checks along the way.
You have likely stumbled upon studies or articles explaining the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It’s hard to argue with the truth—diversity in the workplace is beneficial for both employees and business performance. A study by Deloitte discovered that when employees feel their workforce supports diversity and inclusion, there’s better work attendance and performance. Employees also reported boosted abilities to innovate, provide customer service, and work collaboratively.
With so much evidence, we’d expect diversity and inclusion programs to be the talk of the town. But many organizations struggle to develop engaging, meaningful, impactful D&I training. This content is important, but it is not at all easy. It takes time, energy, leadership, educated trainers, and a willingness to swallow our pride. We need to walk into diversity training events and each day of work with humility so we approach one another ready to listen and learn.
A culture of inclusion
When we think about diversity training methods, most of us think of sensitivity training. We think of meetings that showcase diversity training powerpoints, or a diversity and inclusion PDF. This is a great place to start, but not a great place to end. A culture around diversity and inclusion makes space for conversation and practice. Culture is what happens beyond your basic diversity and inclusion training materials.
Humility comes in right from the start, and it carries us through. It opens up space for continuous learning. Continuous is the key. Our journey to understanding the experiences of others does not have a concrete end point. There is always more for me to learn from you, and you from me.
What this looks like in action
A recent review of training programs and follow-up studies by the Harvard Business Review found more effectiveness in diversity and inclusion training programs that included exercises and skill building on top of awareness training. For example, one Harvard study asked trainees to set specific goals for themselves to practice more inclusive behaviors. Another asked people to write down a few sentences considering another person’s perspective.
As you consider the diversity training courses that your organization offers and set up your diversity and inclusion training materials, I both encourage and challenge you to add another layer. To add additional ways for employees to connect, listen, and learn. Challenge each other to be humble in your understanding of others who grew up in a different place. Or of those who practice a different religion. Or who have families that look different from yours. Our organizations are strongest when they are diverse, and our teams are their most effective when they are inclusive.
Train your team in diversity, inclusion, and humility with Lessonly by Seismic
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