Equality and diversity training is something often discussed in the workplace. Many of us have heard the term before and have attended a session in our time too. However, not all of us have and even the ones who have often overlook the real importance of the training.
Rather than being just a tickbox exercise, equality and diversity training is a critical tool. The proper implementation of this tool can help lots of different people within a workplace in lots of different ways.
At Aspiring to Include, we believe everyone should participate in equality and diversity training. We believe in the power it holds for all members of any workplace. As such, we have written this blog to talk more about it and its unique importance.
The following are our top 3 reasons why equality and diversity training is so essential at work…
1. It Helps to Prevent Discrimination
Discrimination at work is unfortunately still more common than any of us would like it to be. Many people experience discrimination in the workplace related to a protected characteristic, including:
- Religion and beliefs
- Gender reassignment
- Sexual orientation
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
Employees may experience discrimination related to one or more of these protected characteristics in any of its forms, including direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimisation. Whatever form the discrimination may take, it is a hurtful, harmful and damaging experience for anyone to go through. It can lead to a great deal of stress and even job loss in some of the worst cases.
Employees can never fully prevent discrimination from happening in their workplace. They cannot be solely responsible for the actions of others and they can’t know how another employee may act down the line. However, this does not mean that there aren’t ways in which employers can reduce the likelihood of discrimination happening within their specific workplace.
When equality and diversity training takes place at work, it makes it clear to employees that their employer cares about these issues and it sets a precedence for how employees are expected to behave. When is made clear how any instances of discrimination will be dealt with, and this plan of action is solid, then it is less likely that employees will think they will simply get away with any form of workplace discrimination.
A major part of equality and diversity training should outline the policies and protocols around discrimination so that the stance on the matter is crystal clear.
2. It Decreases Misunderstandings and Mishaps
Sometimes, discrimination in the workplace is not intentional. Some employees may not realise that they are speaking to or treating another employee in a way that is discriminatory, even when it is. This can be due to unconscious bias and/or not having enough awareness or knowledge about certain topics. Often, this is related to the language used in the workplace.
A critical aspect of work-based equality and diversity training is information about appropriate and inappropriate terms and language. For example, there might be information about what terms are appropriate to use when you are referring to an older employee so that you don’t engage in ageism. Or, you may learn about inappropriate terms to use about and to BAME members of staff so that you can avoid racism in the workplace.
If every member of staff in a workplace can take part in EDI training, then it decreases the likelihood of avoidable misunderstandings and mishaps occurring. This, in turn, increases staff morale and a sense of community. It also helps to maintain levels of staff retention, as there are fewer unfortunate instances that may cause people to want to leave their job. Or, indeed, that causes others to lose their jobs.
Speaking to each other in a more inclusive way helps everyone at work.
3. It Helps Develop a Happier and Healthier Work Environment
Many studies have shown that discrimination and exclusion at work cause stress and unhappiness for those involved. On the flip side, inclusion and diversity at work increase staff well-being and happiness.
The more employees are stressed and unhappy, the more this begins to negatively impact their mental and physical health. This leads to secondary conditions and absences, which has a negative impact both on the individual employees involved and the company at large.
This unhappiness that breeds from discrimination and exclusion also negatively impacts relationships between coworkers. It causes a breakdown in community and involvement with events and group work too. When discrimination is left untreated or becomes rife, there can be no happy colleague relationships that lead to great teamwork and productivity.
When proper equality and diversity training takes place, employees learn more about each other and how to treat each other. This leads to a happier and healthier work environment where employees can thrive and their employer can reap the benefits of such an environment.
The EDI training can ultimately lead to a brand new way of working in which everyone can succeed.
If you have enjoyed this article and you want to find equality, diversity and inclusion in your life, we have two options for you.
If you are an employee or job seeker and you want to work somewhere that prioritises such ideals, you can find a new inclusive job on our inclusive job board right here on Aspiring to Include. You can also check out our section on support for job seekers, where you can learn about everything from recognising anti-racist employers to your rights at work.
If you are an employer who wants to learn how to be the best employer you can be for your staff, you can take a look at our guidance for employers and learn about topics including pay, training, inclusive recruitment, and more. Then, you can head over to our services for employers and find out exactly how we can help you become an inclusive employer and find the diverse staff you need.
If we all work together, things get a lot easier.