Diversity Training in the Workplace

While universities enact policies to maintain compliant with diversity and institutional equity, in efforts to promote inclusivity and an ethical model concerning multiculturalism; offices and departments must ensure that they are doing their own part to remain committed to diversity. In a climate where university administrations are being taken to task for the lack of diversity in institutions or for poor responses to racially hostile environments and race-conscious admission policies are under particular scrutiny, offices being proactive instead of reactive can lead to benefits for the office, staff, and student body.

Diversity Training can come in many forms (e.g. workshops, conferences, one-off meetings, ongoing training programs) and can cover a variety of content (e.g. microagressions, types of diversity, sensitivity training, communication among differences). Trainings can be held internally or by external representatives, but no matter the setup, it should be a key component in the ongoing training of individuals in the workplace. Further, research indicates that an ongoing diversity training program in workplaces is one of the most effective means to promote diversity in your workplace . “It should be something that all departments within the company take part in, and that all department managers are held accountable to enforce and encourage. By making diversity a company-wide initiative, it includes all employees and helps to widen the appeal of diversity to the workforce” (Root, 2016).

But why is it important? One could easily write a book (and there are many readily available) about the essentialness of diversity training. In particular, diversity training in the workplace works to serve and support not only the office, but also individual staff, students, and clients. Implementing training can boost the morale of staff during periods when a campus is struggling with diversity issues, showing that your office not only values diversity, but is willing to take action to make sure staff embrace and support such values. But it is always better for offices to be proactive instead of reactive. Offices should not wait for a protest, a damaging article, or even an internal complaint to take steps to promote diversity and instigate training. Having diversity training shows that your office supports your diverse staff, which is particularly important when you want to retain those talented individuals. It promotes inclusivity and will help staff members recognize behaviors that could potentially create an uncomfortable or hostile environment for other staff, student workers, students, or visitors. Training can assist in making the hiring process more inclusive and finding more diverse talent to bring to your office. It is especially important for admission offices to ensure that their staff members are culturally competent and able to effectively converse with individuals of all background to ensure the appropriate level of service and ability to effectively recruit all types of students to your campus.

Root, G.N. “The best practices of diversity training.” Accessed February 19, 2016. http://smallbusiness.chron.com/practices-diversity-training-1851.html

 

Nicole Williams
Transfer Credit and Articulation Analyst
Ohio University
willian3@ohio.edu

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