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Diversity Training – 10 Tips Essential For Success

Richard T. Alpert, Ph.D.,
President, Diversity Resources Inc.

With your organization’s workforce becoming more diverse every day, effective diversity training is essential. From basic diversity awareness, to developing valuable diversity cultural skills, your company’s success depends on providing the right tools and support to maximize every employees’ development and performance, as well as to minimize legal risks.

To benefit from diversity, here are 10 tips for success:

  1. Be Clear About Training Goals: Training materials are often selected without a good fit with the goals they are meant to promote. Make your goals as clear as possible. Think about what you want the audience to take away from training. If possible, choose training materials that have a pre-and post-test to measure progress.
  2. Diversity: More Than Just Cultural Facts: Different customs, proper greetings, and modes of observance are important for raising diversity awareness. However, diversity training is more than just recognizing holidays and facts about diverse people and religious, ethnic, and cultural groups.
  3. Get Support From Above: Get top management support before you begin any serious diversity training effort. You’ll need buy-in from above to get the support and resources you need.
  4. Get Support From Below: Just like virtue, diversity is rarely its own reward. Diversity training and development – like all organizational change – has a political dimension. You’ll need to promote diversity training to your constituents. and convince people that diversity training is in their best interest.
  5. Aim For Respectful, Tolerant Behavior: The goal is effective, productive team-work. Diversity training helps in crucial ways to diminish and/or eliminate many of the barriers to such team work.
  6. Get the Right Materials for Your Audience: Different people and workplaces require different types of training and materials. Avoid trying to adapt training materials created for a purpose different than yours. Take advantage of the wide range of materials available today.
  7. Leverage New Technologies: Be sure to try new training technologies such as streamed and e-Learning. Both are cost-effective, efficient, and provide useful evaluation tools.
  8. Sustained Effort: Make sure that training is more than an isolated or occasional event. It needs to be part of an on-going program supported by a variety of non-training efforts. Options include affinity groups, mentoring programs, talent development plans, and recruitment and retention.
  9. Post-Assessment: Be sure to build in a follow-up evaluation after the training in order to enjoy continuous training improvement. Keep your options open and flexible to adapt to results from the on-going training experience.
  10. Be Patient: Effective change takes time, but it provides a high return on your investment.

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