Hispanic professional society & diversity job fairs at NSHP.org

Why Are People Skeptical of Diversity Training?

Over the years I’ve talked with a significant number of leaders and employees who view diversity training with skepticism.  I've wondered whether this might occur because people have been subjected to diversity training programs that make them feel uncomfortable about who they are or that make them think that they're doing something wrong.  Many diversity training programs focus on learning the minutia of how different people behave and what we're supposed to do about it.  While I'm the first person to enjoy learning about other people, I can see where it might feel overwhelming to learn how to behave a certain way when you've been doing it another way for a long time.

That's why I prefer diversity training that helps people practice behaviors that bring them together and build empathy.  This means that you can use the details about behaviors in conjunction with practicing practical skills that bring people together regardless of their beliefs, backgrounds, cultures or ages or any other distinguishing characteristics.  It helps shift the focus from the differences between us to learning positive skills that bring people together like team building or communication.  This approach also helps you steer clear of training that might suggest to people that they should give up their own identity or feel less important than someone else.  You get to focus instead on celebrating each person’s wonderful talents and abilities.


Diversity training is a golden opportunity to identify what each of your employees does well and then encourage them to do it.  It can help us build bridges rather than walls.  You also benefit from many different and valuable ideas and perspectives that might be overlooked in a workplace that doesn't value diversity.  Imagine the power of having many capable brains available to solve problems or develop new processes or strategies in your organization.  You also create a different kind of energy when your diversity training is focused on people's strengths and talents rather than pointing out differences.

Diversity training gives you greater access to the experience, perspective and brain power your employees have to offer.  Bring all those gifts together and you’ve got the building blocks for a great workplace.  You might also appreciate employees that actually get along with each other and collaborate well.
What would your workplace look like if you used diversity training as a tool to bring people together?


Take care,

Diversity Training

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