How evidence-based diversity training can make you an inclusive leader


Diversity training involves programs designed to promote and/or improve cross-group interactions in the workplace. Different groups, including race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, and culture, form organizations, and it’s important that everyone feels included and accepted.

Diversity training generally teaches employees who are different from each other to work together effectively by reducing bias and/or discrimination of minority groups. When it comes to evidence-based diversity training, leaders need to lead by example and implement ways to measure the effectiveness of workplace diversity training programs.

Here’s how diversity training can make you an inclusive leader:

  1. It boosts motivation
    As an inclusive leader, you must constantly strive to recognize employees for their work, as well as support their efforts and growth. This will go a long way in fostering motivation at work. Diversity training can be useful when it comes to appreciating individual differences.
    Training can help address systemic issues, such as pay and leadership inequities. It has been found that companies that do not embrace diversity place mostly white people and men in leadership positions, thereby throwing the whole aspect of inclusivity out the window.
  2. It helps create spaces for underrepresented groups
    It’s good for employees to interact regardless of race, ethnicity, and all the things that make them different from each other. A recent study shows that interracial interactions help people see where inequality exists in organizations. Another study found that white people displayed inclusive behavior toward their non-white colleagues after hearing them talk about their cultures.
    However, the interaction between groups can put pressure on underrepresented groups who may end up feeling excluded or responsible for teaching others. In response to this, leaders who strive to be inclusive can create dedicated structures, such as affinity groups where only underrepresented groups gather. These spaces can be used to facilitate professional networking and advancement.
  3. It helps to measure improvements
    While diversity training is important, training alone is sometimes not enough. For example, implicit bias training is an approach designed to help participants recognize and overcome unconscious bias. It has proven ineffective, especially in the long run, as participants end up not taking responsibility for their discriminatory actions.
    Implementing this training and thinking it’s enough can be a mistake. Therefore, it is important to measure diversity training to see if it has actually delivered the required results. You can find out if diversity training has brought about improvements by conducting surveys or any other method appropriate for your organization.
    Find out if gender bias, racial prejudice and all other forms of prejudice and discrimination have improved in the workplace since the training. This way, you can solve problems and find more effective ways to implement evidence-based training.
  4. It helps you walk the talk
    It’s easy to describe your organization as diverse and inclusive. While this may attract more applicants and make your recruitment process easier, it should be followed up with action. Companies that preach the gospel of diversity aren’t exactly good at putting it into practice.
    Evidence-based diversity training can help bridge the gap between talk and action. You can start by creating effective accountability structures to improve managerial diversity. You can track this by appointing diversity managers in every function who will report to leaders with the power to hold managers and units accountable for any act that goes against inclusion.
    Additionally, you can train your diversity delegates on workplace inequality issues and how to deal with them. Although this is diversity training provided at the executive level, it benefits every employee and ensures that every group in the workplace is included.
  5. It promotes pay equity
    Diversity training that emphasizes the acceptance of diversity as a choice that benefits every employee in the workplace results in positive and lasting change. Among the most valued forms of work inclusion is pay equity. It is important for leaders to level the playing field by promoting and providing fair opportunities for all.
    Leaders can use people analytics to identify any unequal pay. If there are underpaid employees for similar roles, you can get to the bottom of the problem by investigating why. Statistically, people of color have been found to be underpaid for similar roles to white employees.
    When evidence-based diversity training is a priority in an organization, leaders need to be able to measure its effectiveness. In the case of pay equity, comments should point to equal pay for all, regardless of race, gender, and sexual orientation, to name a few.
  6. It helps to recognize the holidays of all cultures
    Accepting diversity in the workplace means acknowledging different types of religions and cultures that are championed by different employees. This means that as a leader you may need to recognize the holidays that come with each culture and religion represented in the organization.
    You can invest time in getting to know your staff and the holidays they observe. This will help you pay attention when planning business meetings and events. For example, if you open the business on Saturdays, you can work around a flexible schedule for those who observe Saturday as a day of worship by allowing them a day off.
  7. It creates a common goal
    Organizing evidence-based diversity training in the workplace will help get everyone involved. If no training is offered, you risk having an organization divided against itself. As a result, it can even affect the bottom line of the business.
    Common goals help build common bonds and address unconscious bias. When everyone gets the same training and sees how useful it is to the organization, they will continue to support it. When employees feel included, they feel motivated to work and sometimes even go the extra mile.

Businesses that embrace diversity have proven to be more profitable and attract more customers compared to their competitors and rivalries. You can also take initiatives that encourage participation in inclusion efforts. For example, you can offer incentives to employees serving on a diversity council.

Chances are that if bonuses were tied to diversity measures, things would change at a faster pace. Whatever steps you take toward evidence-based diversity training, a common goal will help you achieve inclusivity faster.


While diversity training addresses all of the unique characteristics of employees, such as race, nationality, gender, and socioeconomic status, it’s most effective when it’s evidence-based. This means you can track diversity training with employee feedback, performance or inclusion metrics, and any way to prove that the training is working for each group represented.

This will help you identify gaps in things, such as compensation and recognition, so you can address issues in a way that benefits everyone in the organization, including minority groups.

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