Categories: HR & Employment Law | by admin

It has always been important for employees to know that their workplace is going to be safe, respectful, and inclusive. Employees should be able and expected to interact effectively, respectfully and professionally with those of different races, religions, cultures, creeds, ages, genders, and sexualities. Employers may not want to admit it, but not all workers understand the critical importance of their contributions to a bias-free workplace. These gaps in knowledge and comprehension can often be filled with workplace sensitivity, harassment, diversity and related training designed to educate personnel on these concepts and ensure understanding and implementation in the workplace. Here are some of the ways that such training can advance the inclusive culture that all organizations should strive to have and maintain.

Please Understand Me
Workplace sensitivity, inclusion and diversity training can, among other things, help employees understand their coworkers better. Fostering understanding of diversity and inclusion amongst an organization’s staff can improve morale, professional relationships between employees, and discourage behaviors that others might see as offensive or hurtful. Recognition of and appreciation for diversity and inclusion among and between personnel can also improve the effectiveness of employee interactions with customers, clients, vendors and others outside the organization with whom they come into contact.

Building a Base
Workplace sensitivity, diversity and inclusion training is not just about learning about other cultures or “political correctness,” although these are important concepts. Effective training should also endeavor to enable employees to gain a basic level of proficiency in respecting others and behaving professionally in a workplace setting. Learning to manage difficult personalities can be included, and is a skill that can benefit employees throughout their career, and perhaps outside of their work life as well.

Bolstering Confidence
ALL employees, even those in minority groups, can benefit from workplace sensitivity, diversity and inclusion training; it should not be reserved for only those who may be considered “non-minority.” Making training on these issues a priority can encourage employees who might otherwise have been the subject of insensitivity at work to become more confident in their employer and in their workplace, knowing that being treated with dignity and respect is a priority. This can improve job satisfaction, performance and longevity as employees who feel they are well-respected and valued are more likely to remain with the organization for whom they work.

Opportunity, Not Punishment
It is not uncommon for employers to resort to training as a reactive – and even punitive – measure after an incident has occurred. While there may be a need to train employees in these situations, it is often far more beneficial to offer training before and in the absence of any particular “incident” or “situation,” and to foster a sense that any such training is an opportunity for both professional and personal growth and development. Workplace sensitivity, diversity and inclusion training is not just for “problematic” employees nor should it be reserved only for managerial or supervisory personnel. Instead, it can and should be part of an ongoing process to educate all employees, elevate workplace culture and ensure it is a diverse, inclusive, welcoming and professionally satisfying place to work for all.