Anti-discrimination and diversity training programs are essential for the success of corporations, big and small. These two categories hold ample information which is pivotal to the personal and professional development of employees.
Anti-discrimination and diversity training programs can often fail in big businesses. This is can be due to various factors, including a lack of:
- contact, and
- social accountability.
Thriving in these areas is crucial to overall organizational success and differentiation in a competitive market, creating a stronger and more capable workforce. However, it is important to understand that positive results often arise from adopting strategies which do not focus on control, instead accomodating the needs and preferences of employees. Here is how.
The psychological concept cognitive dissonance occurs when one’s beliefs and behaviours are unaligned. Various studies conclude that humans have an innate tendency to attempt to balance the dissonance by adjusting either their beliefs or their behaviours. When training in diversity and anti-discrimination, managers’ engagement and communication with employees is essential in the eradication and avoidance of cognitive dissonance. In other words, when diversity is boosted in the organization, employees will begin to believe that they are complete diversity supporters.
It has been proven time and time again that group contact automatically lessens bias. Combining groups of different backgrounds or expertise in the workplace exposes employees to various skills and people, which they may benefit from in the long run. This is also the effect of self-managed teams, whereby members are able to combine their skills with others’ in different roles, to develop a holistic approach to the project or task at hand. Self-managed teams stimulate the connection between diverse people, as different roles are often still divided depending on race, ethnicity and gender.
For complete anti-discrimination and diversity training, social accountability is a primary objective for organizations. Social accountability refers to the desire for companies to look good to everyone around them. Companies that are socially accountable will actively make an effort to ensure employees are completely up to scratch on each vital process or practice in the organization. When companies are aware of their responsibility to treat employees equally and with respect, work and results are judged by its quality, instead of from a bias point of view. To prevent a lack of judgement by taking a bias stance, people understand that they may have to explain their decisions. In turn, this results in individuals becoming less likely to act on bias.
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