First the good news: there has been progress. After all, who in the 1960s would have imagined that the United States would have a popular, two-term president of color. But much improvement is needed, as evidenced by the continuing spate of high-profile, fatal police actions against Black men, among others.
We see this need for improvement even in the ridiculous. Actor/comedian Chris Rock was once stopped by the police three times in the seven weeks. Rock hilariously posted selfies of each police stop, but there is tragedy within: he was likely stopped by police because of profiling.
In this context, racial diversity in the workplace training becomes increasingly relevant. As our workforce continues to diversify, tackling issues like profiling, suspicion, and systemic racism in professional settings is imperative. Racial diversity training can serve as a crucial step in addressing these deeply ingrained challenges and fostering a more equitable environment for all.
Today, some 36% of our workforce is comprised of people who are not Caucasian. This include people who are Hispanic (16%), Black (12%), and Asian (5%).
By the year 2050, it is expected that there will be no ethnic or racial majority in the United States. This will heavily impact the workplace, as immigrants and their children will account for 83% of the workforce growth.
How does your workplace need to respond? You need an effective racial diversity training. Here are 5 ways employees can modify their behavior, to foster racial awareness, respect, and inclusion.
1. Foster Respect
All employees need to make the effort. When interacting with people from a different racial background, respect the difference. If a coworker has a different ethnicity, unusual accent, or a name that’s difficult to pronounce, make the effort to respect and accept differences as equally valid as your own identity.
2. Take Care With Humor
Many jokes rely on making fun of someone. If you’re making fun of a race or ethnicity or nationality, it can only lead to harmful consequences. Still want to be witty or funny? The safest jokes are always the ones in which people gently poke fun at themselves.
3. Say No to Stereotypes
The problem with stereotypes is that they can be hurtful – even when intended as a compliment. People often say that Black people are great at certain activities, or Asians always excel in a certain area. But even positive, complementary stereotypes are far from true – and usually frustrate the individual.
4. Get Cultured
People are generally proud of their background. If coworkers are of a different race, or born in another country, make the effort to learn about their culture and background. A diversity calendar is an essential for raising awareness of events important to diverse groups.
Proud of my German heritage, I once asked a Black American friend what country his ancestors hailed from. We both knew that for many Black Americans, this can be difficult if not impossible to answer. But my friend – who told me he thinks his ancestors came from the area that is now Ghana – deeply appreciated my asking.
5. Include All
As we all have different appearances, so too do we have different worldviews. Whenever making business decisions, involve people from diverse races. Involving team members from all backgrounds will help ensure that your decisions will be successful in our increasingly multiethnic, multiracial society.
Racial Diversity Training in the Workplace FAQs
What is racial diversity in workplace?
Racial diversity in the workplace refers to the representation of various racial and ethnic groups among employees within an organization. It goes beyond merely having a workforce that consists of individuals from different backgrounds; it also involves creating an inclusive environment where all employees feel valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives and skills. Racial diversity in the workplace training programs often aim to educate employees about the importance of inclusivity, the impact of unconscious bias, and ways to foster a culture that celebrates rather than suppresses differences.
How do you manage racial diversity in the workplace?
Managing racial diversity in the workplace is a continuous effort that extends beyond hiring practices. It involves creating a culture of inclusion where differences are not just tolerated but celebrated. This can be achieved through various initiatives like mentorship programs, employee resource groups, and, importantly, racial diversity in the workplace training. Such training helps educate employees on the nuances of systemic discrimination, encouraging empathy and fostering a more equitable environment.