Can You Teach Diversity and Inclusion?

Should diversity and inclusion be taught in today’s society?

In workplace situations, it is imperative there is a cultural environment where employees and leaders embrace difference, mirror inclusive behaviour, and appreciate the value diversity can bring to their bottom-line. Diversity and inclusion training often focuses on unconscious and conscious bias, self-awareness and building bridges between individuals with different identities. Corporations which embark on this type of training first need to delve into their own corporate identity and culture to confirm they have the support systems in place for successful training.

Giovanna Ramazzina, head of the leadership and professional development for international-education company Kaplan says organizations need to develop a mindset approach, “It becomes a business culture transformation project rather than a simple, here’s a few days courses. Then you can hope that people understand diversity and inclusion and apply it in their workplace,” said Ramazzina.

Kaplan teaches inclusive decision-making techniques in team settings and collaborative workshops. Ramazzina says their strategy is not necessarily to structure the groups by ethnic diversity, but rather to include people with diverse viewpoints, seniority and expertise. This approach empowers everyone in the organization to confront stereotypes and identify the corporate practices which make either a positive or negative impact on talent development.

Whether diversity and inclusion training is mandatory or not, whether it involves the top management or the newest intern, Ramazzina says developing an inclusive and diverse culture is a huge project, “It’s transformational,” said Ramazzina. “It involves change management, looking at the HR processes, making time for each other.” Strong leadership and commitment is necessary for building a culture of diversity and inclusion.  The corporate mindset must flow throughout the organization to create a natural inclusion-embracing environment.

To learn more about teaching diversity and inclusion, click here.