In order for individuals from diverse cultures, religions and lifestyles to communicate, resolve problems and respect one another's differences, it's essential that students and workers participate in training programs that educate them on overcoming the stereotypes that perpetuate prejudice and inequality. Here's how you can implement a diversity training program in your own workplace.
Conduct a needs analysis for a diversity training plan within your organization. Perhaps the outsourcing of products and services to foreign countries, for example, creates a demand for awareness and understanding of foreign protocol, etiquette, interpersonal communications and existing business practices.
Identify the specific goals and objectives of the diversity training plan and how these will interface with individual and corporate growth. Identify the intended audience for diversity training--all employees, rank and file, or corporate officers, for example--and how much time can reasonably be allocated for workshops so as to neither impact the flow and quality of work nor inconvenience the clients and customers it serves.
Solicit input from attendees on what types of issues they would like to see addressed in a diversity training workshop. Front-desk staff who regularly deal with non-English-speaking customers, for instance, may want to explore better communication skills. Staff members whose religious faith precludes them from participating in office birthday or holiday parties may want to talk about compromises that could make them feel more comfortable.
Determine whether there is someone in your human resources department who is qualified to act as facilitator of the diversity training or whether it would be better to utilize an outsider who is not familiar with any of the company's employees or its problems. If you decide to bring in an outside trainer, your written proposal for diversity training will only embrace Steps 1 to 3 and will be sent out to qualified agencies that will then submit bids for the job. If you're going to conduct the entire thing in-house, proceed to Step 5.
List the specific types of workshop activities and resource materials that will be available as diversity training tools. These may include role-playing exercises, published articles on affirmative action, legal case studies, discrimination policies, quizzes, debates, lectures, multimedia presentations and personal experience exchanges.
Decide how you will monitor the effectiveness of the training. By using feedback questionnaires and general observation, you can evaluate improvements in organizational performance.
Identify the total cost to produce your diversity training proposal. Costs will include instructor fees, staff hours, rental of facility if held off-site, meals and photocopying of course materials.
The reference articles identified in Resources will assist you in tailoring a diversity proposal to the specific needs of your business or organization.
Based on feedback, revise the course material on an ongoing basis to keep pace with student and employee concerns.
Keep the diversity training focused on work-related issues versus problems the students or employees may be having in their personal lives.
Identify the operational ground rules in your proposal so that participating students or employees will feel safe in voicing their opinions, even if it's a criticism of their supervisors.