Diversity Training: Why You Need to Build a Business Case

Diversity Training: Why You Need to Build a Business Case


Phylise Banner


In our everyday work we encounter people of different cultures, races, ages, genders, ethnicities, beliefs, experiences, expectations and points of view. When we acknowledge the value of this diverse workforce, we open the door to new ideas and creative approaches to problem solving. We bring together, and recognize, different perspectives. We ask different questions and consider other solutions. We innovate—profitably.

A key driver for innovation

Research shows that diversity training has the potential to drive innovation and provide a competitive advantage. According to Forbes Insights, diversity is a key driver for innovation:"The business case for diversity and inclusion is intrinsically linked to a company's innovation strategy. Multiple and varied voices have a wide range of experiences, and this can help generate new ideas about products and practices." Consider the potential that new ideas bring to company revenues and profits. Taking on different points of view helps us empathize with our clients. Asking different types of questions may uncover problems we didn't notice before. Analyzing our business strategies within a lens of differing perspectives can shape new pathways to performance. According to McKinsey & Company, there's a direct link between diversity in the workplace and organizational revenues and profits. The report shows that there is a strong correlation between gender diversity on executive teams and profits, as well as between ethnic and cultural diversity and value creation. Reports like McKinsey's reinforce the business case for diversity in the workplace. But before we get too excited about profit and value creation, we have a bit of learning to do. To harness creative potential and drive business success, we need to understand what it takes to shape an organizational culture of diversity and inclusion. We need to empower every individual in the organization to take action in support of that culture.

Learning pathways & stepping stones

Diversity and inclusion training is currently in the organizational spotlight. From scenario-based interactions to self-paced modules, organizations of all sizes have immediate access to a generous selection of diversity training content libraries. These content libraries enable you to consistently educate your employees on the benefits of working with people with diverse identities and perspectives. You can explore biases, behaviors and assumptions that can impact individuals and inhibit an inclusive work environment. Beyond the content, you can facilitate interaction, assessment and feedback components within your learning management system. LMS interaction functionalities can be used to enable conversations that model respect for diversity. Assessment tools can provide insight into learner progress and training effectiveness. Feedback components can help learners examine biases and assumptions. An LMS also provides an ideal platform to showcase an organizational culture that supports a diverse and inclusive workplace. Inviting key stakeholders to curate content and share their perspectives in the LMS supports any business case for diversity. And, enabling learners to connect and share their stories through learning channels fosters innovation that we know can promote business success. An LMS can further capture personal interactions in the real world. Picture an offsite focused on promoting diversity, where outcomes from instructor-led trainings are later captured in the LMS to provide a 360 degree picture of where each learner stands, what courses they've completed and which additional trainings can bolster skill gaps. Think of these LMS capabilities as stepping stones to building out your business case for diversity training. Know that when you invest in training your diverse workforce to embrace a culture of inclusion and understanding, you enable pathways to both innovation and profit.

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