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If you are a business owner, the topic of training may be something you occasionally let slip through the net. The red tape, the legal hoops you need to jump through, and the paperwork and documentation may sometimes feel overwhelming. However, once you consider the value that training has for your business, it will give you the motivation to make it a priority. When you realise the impact that training can have on your success as a company, it will be even more relevant to you and your staff.
Some of the most important skills and abilities that staff members need to learn surround diversity and inclusion competencies. What do these refer to? And how can they help your business? Let’s find out.
What is a competency?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a competency is an important skill needed to do a certain job. This skill is set at a certain standard to which the individual should be able to perform. There are various elements and stages that make up a competency. These include both the awareness and knowledge of a certain area, combined with the ability to demonstrate this knowledge through insightful actions.
What is diversity and inclusion?
Diversity and inclusion are a hot topic, and rightly so – over the years, companies and businesses have failed to be diverse and inclusive, and this impact cannot be understated. It’s vital today that all have the same work and development opportunities and that every business family member is treated with the same respect. While many businesses have made progress in the area, there is evidently still a long way to go. A recent survey revealed that 73 per cent of businesses are working on a DEI policy, 15 per cent say they would like to have one, while 8 per cent choose to focus on other business matters. Of those that do have a policy, only a further 68 per cent of those have measurements in place.
How is diversity and inclusion competency shown?
However, for an individual to show competency in these areas, what would they need to do? Not only do individuals need to appreciate the importance of having diversity in the workplace, but they also need to understand the laws that protect others against harassment or discrimination. Diversity isn’t just a nice feeling – it’s a legal requirement. This responsibility must come into play when it’s time to recruit, hire, and train a diverse group of employees. When these employees are equipped with the knowledge they need to communicate and work with others, it leads to a much more peaceful and successful environment. This kind of training should come as standard for all members of staff.
Furthermore, working hard to eliminate stereotypes around individuals with visible and non-visible disabilities is a must, and these employees need to feel comfortable asking for accommodations. Practices that empower women and address the gender gap in the workplace need to be commonplace while supporting the hiring and caring of veterans. To promote a feeling of acceptance, it’s vital to educate employees about the difference in culture, natality and religion, as this understanding will improve the feelings of tolerance and peace. Working towards this competency is not a straightforward, linear process with a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s an ongoing, continuous process that requires constant evaluation and maintenance. It’s important not to shy away from improvements and to take action when things are slipping.
Why is it worth the effort?
You’ll soon find how true it is that investing in diversity and inclusion pays off in the end. With the right training and investment, companies will easily future-proof their activities and reap the benefits. When talent is hard to find and competitive when it is, investing in diversity and inclusion will maximise the opportunities that businesses have to build a strong and talented team. Companies can hardly claim to be sustainable if they exclude a large proportion of the population from working for them. Diversity and inclusion also go beyond the workforce and often greatly impact customers. The customer’s experience will l be greatly enhanced, and products will be made even more accessible. Customers will feel valued and welcome, and relationships will be strengthened and built on loyalty. Creating a positive, upbuilding work environment will boost the efficiency of your workers, improve morale, and strengthen loyalty, all the while raising sales and increasing success.
What can be done to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
Now that we’ve established just how vital diversity and inclusion is, what can we do to promote it within the workplace? There are a few key things you can do to do that:
- Get everyone in on the decision. It seems obvious, but it’s important to improve inclusion by including others. Listen to everyone’s opinion and make sure they feel heard and valued. Then, with all this input, the best decision will be reached that’s great for everyone.
- Ask questions. To truly understand the needs of a business and the workers within it, it needs to start with asking questions. Don’t assume that you know what people need to feel included or to create a diverse workplace. Instead, ask people who may feel excluded what you could do to improve things for them. Then, humbly act on what you hear.
- Stay informed. To educate others, you need to be informed too. Subscribe to relevant newsletters about diversity and inclusion and encourage your team to do the same. When everyone stays informed, and ahead of the game, it’s great for relationships in the office.
- Have clear policies. Establish definite policies and standards and make it clear to your team members that these regulations are non-negotiable. This policy should be easy to access for all, and the consequences of not meeting the standards should indicate that certain behaviour will not be tolerated.
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