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The importance of DEI training for managers and leaders

Chandini Mokthar
September 15, 2023
The importance of DEI training for managers and leaders

Training in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is gaining popularity in the workplace, particularly among executives. It is intended to cultivate an inclusive culture that embraces differences and encourages connections among colleagues from diverse backgrounds. 75% of employers, according to research, mandate DEI lessons for newly hired employees.

Why is DEI Training for Managers and Leaders so Important?

In order to establish a workplace that is inclusive and diverse, focusing on your administrators and leaders is crucial for a number of reasons:

1. Making everyday interactions more inclusive

As managers guide their teams every day of the week, they interact with and exert influence over their employees. Weekly one-on-ones, as well as squad/team check-ins, are an appropriate environment for managers to promote psychological safety and establish trust between employees.

2. Setting the benchmark for acceptable and DEI-first behavior

In addition, employees view their administrators as representatives or role models when it comes to upholding the company's values. Typically, these individuals are tasked with answering difficult inquiries and responding appropriately when a staff member raises an issue of concern. When adequately instructed, every member of the group tends to adhere to the same standards.

3. Hiring with DEI in mind

Your organization's focus is on your administrators.  In addition to leading the current team, your supervisors are also recruiting new teammates to sustain the business's growth. Consequently, it is essential to ensure that these individuals are aware of their unique responsibility in regard to promoting diversity and inclusion via the right hiring techniques.

4. Driving DEI initiatives

The success of your DEI programs relies heavily on your people managers and organizational leadership. This may involve employee resource groups and acknowledgement for groups that are underrepresented, among other possibilities. Managers must be prepared to promote productive discussions on DEI with their employees.

Understanding the Meaning of DEI Training

DEI training is about preparing teams for success irrespective of their demographic composition. It empowers managers to unlock the cognitive diversity of a team and improve everyone’s work experiences.

DEI training for leaders and executives or managers will typically consist of a structured program created to mitigate bias, prejudice, or discrimination. This is accomplished by enabling positive dialogues and educating individuals on how to work successfully with people who are unlike themselves. 

DEI training for managers and leaders can be of several types:

  • Unconscious bias training: It seeks to disclose and pinpoint the unconscious biases and oppressive behaviors and practices individuals might engage in. Managers can benefit from this by becoming more aware of their possible biases when making workplace decisions.
  • Cultural sensitivity training: This type of training teaches people from a dominant group within your organization how to connect with coworkers from marginalized cultures, backgrounds, or identities. Since many organizational leaders belong to historically dominant groups, this type of DEI training can be very useful.
  • Inclusive management training: Supervisors may acquire the ability to recognize discriminatory or repressive behaviors in management by means of this form of training. They will additionally be prepared to disassemble prejudiced workplace systems – e.g., seating arrangements without accessibility considerations.
  • Anti-oppression training: This type of advanced training instructs staff members in positions of power to transition from merely a supporter to a collaborator. They can adopt a proactive approach in favor of marginalized coworkers. This form of training for administrators and leaders typically includes anti-racism, anti-sexism, and anti-transphobia, along with additional topics.
  • Common ground training: This type of training should be accessible to the majority of employees. It is based on identifying shared priorities, beliefs, and goals in order to unite coworkers and get everyone working in the same direction.

Why Train Your Managers and Leaders in DEI? 3 Clear Benefits

By providing DEI training to your managers, organizations can:

1. Encourage learning in group settings

Trust and psychological safety are crucial to any and, in fact, all learning projects, and the majority of this work takes place within the team. Managers must have the skills necessary to create trust so that everyone enjoys a secure environment where they're able to learn and develop. However, managers require training to help them facilitate these conversations, encourage a learning mindset, and measure the intended outcomes.

2. Speed up problem-solving and innovation

Diversity training enables managers to unleash the full potential of their team by utilizing diversity as a strategic tool. Once managers establish an inclusive work environment, employees with diverse perspectives are more likely to pose concerns, offer suggestions, and push the status quo, thereby accelerating innovation.

3. Take a stand against discrimination and microaggressions

The first step in preventing discrimination in the workplace is education. Diversity training assists managers in considering how their (and their employees') behaviors could inadvertently hurt, offend, or damage other people's work or mindsets. This may go a long way toward eradicating workplace discrimination. 

In Conclusion: Examples to Learn From

Progressive companies worldwide are embedding DEI into their cultural values and leadership principles. For example, Over 96% of those working for Microsoft attended D&I training on alliances, protection, and privilege, for instance. 

Meta has been proactive about DEI training by providing seminars, training resources, and other additional information. At Moolya, too, we emphasize the holistic growth of our employees, by promoting open communication and wellbeing for all with zero tolerance for discrimination. Organizational leaders have a vital role to play in achieving these outcomes, which is why DEI training is so important.

Chandini Mokthar
Chandini Mokthar
VP, People & Culture
Chandini Mokhtar is the VP- People & Culture of Moolya and plays a pivotal role in defining Moolya’s overall culture and value. As a true People leader, she is highly focussed on elevating culture and helping organisations to navigate the cultural transformation. Chandini has been a talent acquisition specialist, talent specialist, and a talent acquisition consultant with extensive experience in the domain of defining people culture and ensuring a positive work environment. In a constantly changing environment, she creates an agile employee experience and keeps her team flexible enough to accommodate any changes.
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