We are truly living in a unique time. Businesses are getting rid of the old-boys-club mentality and instead recognizing how much creativity, growth, and innovation come from tapping into different perspectives. In fact, I’ve spoken with several women-owned companies, CEOs, and human resource departments, and one topic keeps emerging over and over: diversity.
Here’s the problem. Companies are focused on creating inclusive cultures, collective responsibility for an encouraging environment, supporting diverse talents and offering ongoing diversity training, but they don’t know where to start. They are looking for presenters who are comfortable speaking on a wide range of topics, from unconscious bias to agist policies and everything else under the diversity and inclusion umbrella.
I’m Hired to Speak as Part of Diversity Training – Now What?
When hired to speak, it’s always helpful to have some hard numbers at your disposal when discussing diversity. This includes statistics such as the number of women in leadership roles or the breakdown of cultures and minorities within a company – this is a great place to see where change needs to start.
It is also useful to discuss data related to human resources and hiring practices; for instance, how many applicants were interviewed before making a decision? Additionally, it helps to have information about pay gaps between men and women for different job positions, as well as data about minority representation within senior management roles. (All of this will be available from human resources upon request.) Having these facts available will give your audience an idea of what progress has been made so far and what areas need improvement when it comes to creating an equitable workplace environment.
Studies have shown that companies with higher levels of gender-diverse leadership teams tend to outperform those with lower levels of gender diversity across various metrics such as revenue growth and stock market returns. Similarly, businesses with racially diverse workforces tend to generate higher profits than those without due in part to their ability to better understand customer needs based on their broader range of experiences and backgrounds. These types of statistics demonstrate that promoting greater workplace equity isn’t just good for employee morale—it’s also good business sense!
The main question I get asked the most often is what topics companies need to focus training on, so I’ve compiled a go-to list. (Ladies, I’ve gotcha covered!)
What do companies need to cover when looking at diversity topics?
Common diversity conversations and training are centered on:
- Race and Ethnicity – Unfortunately, discrimination and prejudice are still prevalent in our world. Let’s make sure it’s not an issue in our workplace culture, and if it is, let’s find a respectful way to discuss and grow.
- Gender Equity – Women have unequal access to resources, promotions, and opportunities. Not only do women deserve access to a work environment that supports them, but they also deserve the same pay and benefits as their male counterparts.
- Age Diversity – We all have heard jokes about millennials and boomers. And although we understand these caricatures and generalizations are meant to be funny, there’s nothing funny about ageism or discrimination in the workplace, whether it’s aimed at the oldest or youngest employees.
- LGBTQIA+ and Gender Identity – Lack of understanding, prejudice, and stereotypes regarding sexual orientation is still a huge problem in companies both big and small. Understanding and compassion go a long way.
- Differently-Abled Community – Unfortunately, differently-abled people face challenges that range from access to public spaces and services to employment discrimination.
These are all great topics to have in your speaking arsenal, and each is a broad topic that could cover a ton of information and training.
What are the essential diversity topics for keynote speakers?
If we narrow our focus a bit, there are target topics that can be covered in a one-day training or keynote that I get asked to speak on consistently. They are…
- The importance of creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.
- Understanding and overcoming unconscious bias.
- Strategies for promoting diversity and inclusion in recruitment and hiring.
- Exploring generational differences in the workplace.
- Best practices for accommodating employees with disabilities.
- Addressing issues of workplace harassment and discrimination.
- Enhancing cross-cultural and cross-generational communication skills.
- Promoting diversity and inclusion in leadership and management.
- Building allyship and supporting marginalized groups.
- Strategies for creating a sense of belonging and community in diverse work environments.
What do you talk about in a diversity meeting?
Some companies request ongoing training and even specific training for their human resource department. How can human resources professionals create a sense of collective responsibility for a workplace culture centered on diversity and inclusion? Human resources professionals can create a sense of collective responsibility for a workplace culture centered on diversity and inclusion by implementing the following strategies:
- Establish clear goals and objectives for diversity and inclusion efforts, and communicate them to all employees.
- Provide diversity training and workshops to all employees, including managers and executives.
- Encourage employees to participate in employee resource groups, which provide support and networking opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds.
- Foster open and honest communication among employees and management, and provide opportunities for feedback and input.
- Create policies and procedures that promote diversity and inclusion, such as anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.
- Evaluate and measure the effectiveness of diversity and inclusion initiatives on a regular basis, and make adjustments as needed.
- Hold all employees, including managers and executives, accountable for creating a workplace culture that is centered on diversity and inclusion.
Unconscious Bias Training- The Cornerstone of Collective Responsibility & Inclusive Workplaces
Unconscious bias presentations and training are a great way to help foster more inclusive workplaces by teaching employees strategies for recognizing their own biases and developing strategies for working with colleagues from different backgrounds or perspectives. During these conversations, it is important to emphasize the importance of understanding one another and how everyone can benefit from having diverse perspectives in the workplace.
Different perspectives are a good thing! Therefore, highlighting successful role models who have benefited from embracing differences can be a great starting point for having meaningful discussions on unconscious bias training.
If a Company Wants to Be Innovative, then They Need to Start With Inclusive Hiring Practices
Inclusive hiring practices are essential when trying to create a truly diverse workforce. By emphasizing transparency during recruitment processes and focusing on skills rather than experience levels or personal connections, companies can ensure that they are hiring qualified individuals regardless of their gender or race/ethnicity identity. Furthermore, diversifying recruitment efforts through career fairs and job postings can also help increase workplace diversity by encouraging applicants from different backgrounds or industries who may not be looking for jobs through traditional channels like LinkedIn or Indeed.
You’ve got this! By arming ourselves with knowledge on things like unconscious bias training best practices, inclusive hiring procedures, and the business benefits of increased workplace equity, we can make sure our voices are heard during these crucial conversations about creating more equitable environments both inside our companies and throughout society as a whole! What steps can you take to support a more inclusive work culture? Comment below!