Course Outcomes

This diversity course will:

  • Explain the value of an inclusive workplace.
  • Outline the business case for diversity.
  • Describe various U.S. anti-discrimination laws.
  • Open a dialog around bias.
  • Provide suggestions for increasing employee engagement and encouraging inclusion.

Course Overview

Do diversity and inclusion matter in the workplace?  You bet they do. Whether you have a small project team or large organization, you’ll get more from your employees if they respect and value each other. Team members from different backgrounds add perspectives and ideas that cannot be replicated by members of a homogenous group. But when inclusion and a healthy respect for diversity are not valued, those in the minority group are less likely to contribute.

Although the results of “group think” may not be immediately visible, the consequences for organizations that lag behind in creating a climate of inclusion are potentially fatal: absence of valuable input, missed market opportunities, customer and client complaints, service-delivery problems, and unnecessary conflict.

This diversity and inclusion program goes beyond race, gender, culture, age and other observable differences. It addresses the business case for diversity, tactics for discovering unconscious bias, tools for finding common ground, and ideas for addressing situations where the goals of inclusion and diversity fall short.

We fully recognize that inclusion is a value and a system of operating, not a one-day training program. However, this workshop can be a first step or reinforcement step in an organization’s efforts to adopt and promote a culture that appreciates differences.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Explain the business case for inclusion and diversity.
  • Describe how diversity goes beyond race, gender, age, and other observable differences.
  • Identify unconscious bias.
  • Leverage tactics to reduce bias.
  • Explain various anti-discrimination laws.
  • Develop an action plan to improve workplace inclusion and employee engagement.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

The Foundation: What Diversity Means

This program begins with an examination of diversity and inclusion.  What does it mean to be diverse and how do people differ beyond appearance?  During this opening exercise, participants will complete a card trading activity where they look for similarities and differences among their team.  Next, we will discuss the 100+ ways people can differ. The aim of the activity is to open a dialog and set the tone for an interactive session.

The Business Case for Diversity: Profiting from Differences

The workshop continues with an examination of the business case for diversity, both at a micro and macro level. Participants will discuss how the workplace has evolved over the last 75 years and where it may be headed in the coming decades.  Following that exercise, group members will consider their workplace teams and how they have already leveraged the different experiences and talents each person offers.

The Law: What’s Legal and Not

The law can never dictate every process a business follows, nor can it force people to welcome those from other groups with open arms.  However, legislation does exist to make various forms of discrimination illegal. This part of the program quickly reviews how the law has evolved over the years and what is illegal at work. During this workshop segment, we’ll also look at how leading companies have realized the benefits of inclusion by moving beyond compliance in their approach to managing the workforce.

Cognitive Biases: What They Are and Where They Come From

Cognitive biases are influences that cause us to make decisions based on information outside of logic and rational thinking. This part of the workshop explores a range of biases: decision-making bias; belief and behavioral partiality; social favoritisms; and biases related to memory errors.  Next, participants will work through a series of exercises to uncover their own biases.  After completing those activities, we will talk about how decisions influenced by implicit or explicit favoritism can affect various workplace activities.  Finally, we will discuss tools for recognizing bias and practical suggestions for reducing it. 

Open Doors: The Look and Sound of Inclusiveness

What does it mean to be inclusive, and how do you recognize an inclusive environment?  What does it look like? How does it sound? Our final exercise explores inclusion and actions organizations and individuals can take to support and promote an inclusive workplace.

By the end of this workshop, participants should understand the business argument for inclusion and diversity, U.S. laws related to civil rights in the workplace, cognitive biases and how they influence behavior, and steps people can take to improve inclusion in the workplace.