- Jessica Alexander
We already know why the environmental services industry needs to take diversity seriously (here’s the recap if you missed it), but that doesn’t mean we always know the best way to go about it. Actively prioritizing recruitment of a diverse workforce is an important first step, but we can’t neglect the second: making sure our companies and industry are welcoming to people from different backgrounds once they walk through our doors. That’s where diversity training can come in.
But how does an organization choose the proper training, find the right vendor to instruct the training, and evaluate the results to measure their return on investment? In this blog post, we’ll cover a few best practices for choosing a diversity awareness training program that meets the specific needs of your organization, while enhancing your ability to attract and retain a diverse workforce.
One of the most important and often overlooked best practices of implementing diversity training is to solicit feedback from stakeholders and the organizational leadership team. It’s important to understand the direction and focus of executives as it relates to diversity objectives and goals. If your organization has a Diversity Council, workforce group, or even a Human Resources function focused on diversity, be sure to solicit their feedback as well.
Once the goals and objectives have been identified, you can then begin researching different diversity training programs and courses that target them. Keep in mind that the training program or courses might be implemented differently, but the desired end result should always align to your organization’s training goal. Also consider the forum for the training and what would work best for your organization. While some training courses are best implemented in a face-to-face setting, an online approach may be more feasible for your company’s needs.
Once you’ve identified the goals and the type of training you want to implement, you can now start to evaluate different solution providers in the market. Be prepared for a lengthy journey, because the options can be extensive! During this phase, take into consideration public feedback from other organizations that have implemented training using particular providers. Finding positive testimonials about a training program can be helpful, as well as researching vendors to learn how long they’ve been in the training industry and what organizations they’ve worked with in the past.
Many providers will schedule a demonstration of their training and the various different platforms that can be offered. Take advantage of this, especially if you’re considering an online training platform. You’ll want to see first-hand how user friendly the platform will be for your organization’s employees.
Even after soliciting stakeholder buy-in, selecting a training program that perfectly aligns to your company’s goals, and implementing the training via a top-notch vendor, you still aren’t guaranteed success. The fourth critical best practice to implementing diversity training is nurturing a “diversity mindset” throughout your organization.
This can be done in many ways. The intent should be to inform and prepare the organization for the change. Keep in mind that diversity training IS a change--it should aim to change the mindset of employees, and foster a more open and receptive culture among people who differ from one another. As with any change, organizational leaders and managers should practice intentional change management strategies to ensure employees are prepared and receptive before diversity training is implemented.
Following these best practices will not only ensure you’re able to choose the right training program for your company, but will also facilitate strong organizational buy-in and long-term success of your diversity initiatives.