Organizations are devoting more significant resources and effort to improve diversity in their workplace. However, amid—or perhaps because of—all of the positive progress that has occurred, negative diversity incidents become all the more amplified. A recent example involved a Muslim woman who was ordered to remove her hijab for work, even though no company policy forbade her from wearing one.
Discriminatory incidents such as this confirm there’s still work to be done to improve compliance regarding diversity and inclusion (D&I). True Office Learning training data reveals guarded optimism that such improvement is possible. Organizations and compliance personnel can lead the way toward building and strengthening a culture of safety and respect.
Why Diversity Matters
Organizations that emphasize diversity and inclusion are more profitable, suffer less turnover, and are viewed more favorably by consumers. Yet today, diversity covers much more than just race and gender; it now includes a wide range of categories, including sexual orientation, age, religion, education level, disabilities, hair (i.e., California’s law banning hair discrimination just went into effect), and more.
In this more diverse, more accepting environment, companies must be sensitive and supportive. The D&I actions of the organization matter and extend to how individual employees choose to work with each other and serve customers. And for the most part, employees understand that—but there’s always progress that can be made.
Diversity in the Data
At True Office Learning, we’re big believers that the data generated through training can offer unparalleled (untapped) insight, analysis, and strategy for compliance departments. We also practice what we preach. Over several years and millions of users who’ve experienced our training modules, we’ve accumulated data based on the decisions those users made within the courses (this goes far beyond quiz data). From this data, we’ve identified trends in workplace diversity and what employees know and don’t know about it.
The numbers are promising. The overall performance of employees on our workplace diversity module is an impressive 95 percent—meaning that users made the right decision in a diversity scenario 95 times out of 100. This result is among the highest of all the modules we offer and suggests that, more than ever, employees understand and may even embrace the importance and benefits of diversity in the workplace.
When broken down into focused categories, the results were just as encouraging:
- Scenarios about defining and protecting diversity were met with correct decisions 91 percent of the time.
- Scenarios about diversity responsibility came in at a 96 percent success rate.
- Scenarios about respecting diversity registered a 97.
This data doesn’t mean organizations should rest easy, because even though employees may know much about workplace diversity in 2020, there is always room for improvement. Companies should strive to build upon the concepts their employees seemingly know—and great online training can help.
Despite our encouraging data, diversity struggles continue to occur in the workplace. The gender pay gap still exists, and minorities remain underrepresented in many industries. Improving diversity, both interpersonally and institutionally, must start at the top. The commitment of an organization and its leadership to building a culture of diversity, respect, and compliance sets a strong example for employees to follow as they go about their everyday tasks, interact with each other, and serve customers.
Training comprises an important part of that commitment by:
- Helping employees keep diversity top of mind
- Introducing new concepts and reinforcing best practices employees may already know
- Fostering an understanding of what diversity truly means in the modern workplace
Moreover, top-notch online training immerses employees in relevant, engaging scenarios, thus challenging the user to consider the best course of action. This approach is far more effective than just throwing rules and admonitions at employees—it invites users to apply what they know and learn from not only the course but also their own decisions.
A Long-Term Initiative
The incident referenced at the beginning of this article led to the business adding diversity training for its employees. That’s a positive step, but organizations shouldn’t wait for something bad to happen to institute change. Compliance training should be approached proactively—not simply be a one-and-done event, but part of a continual initiative to improve your organization’s D&I.