With research proving diverse and inclusive teams perform better, are more innovative, and are more likely to meet financial targets, investing in your people also means investing in your company’s future.
This page will help you better understand how to scope, plan, build, deliver a powerful diversity and inclusion training strategy to suit all your employee, business and investment needs.
Diversity and inclusion are a collection of ideas and practices that help create a prosperous environment and empower employees to thrive no matter what their background. But it’s important to remember the difference between Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Belonging.
Diversity is the makeup of your workforce. It’s about how varied your employees are concerning race, gender, sexuality, ability, and culture.
Equity is how much authority and responsibility diverse employees who feel included have and how influential their voice is in making important decisions.
Inclusion is how those people are engaged with, spoken to, and involved in company culture and processes across the whole business.
Belonging is about people feeling truly valued and respected in the workspace and not feeling like they're a diversity hire or a token employee.
It ensures that every employee - no matter their age, gender, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, or cultural background - can thrive in every environment.
It celebrates difference by ensuring every employee has the tools, space, respect and support they need to prosper and have their voice heard.
It acts as a powerful safeguarding policy, helping the entire organisation to understand what kind of behaviour is expected, the consequences of unacceptable conduct, and the procedures for resolving conflict.
But diversity, inclusion and equity is about far more than diversity hires, publishing gender pay gap details or ensuring your building is accessible to all. It’s about rethinking how you communicate, operate and collaborate daily so your workers are happier, your business runs better, and historically marginalised groups are given meaningful positions of responsibility and influence across the business.
While an effective diversity, equality and inclusion programme is arguably a cultural obligation, it’s also a business expense senior management will likely want to track. An effective DEI training programme can provide tangible benefits to your business by boosting your profit margins, reducing operational friction and attracting previously inaccessible talent pools.
Diverse environments boost
team collaboration and commitment by 50%.
Inclusive teams are x2
more likely to meet or exceed financial targets.
Working in a diverse
workforce improves performance by 12%.
Inclusive teams are x6
more likely to be innovative
outperform industry norms
Inclusive teams are x8 more
likely to achieve better
The bottom line: diversity is good for business. Environments where diverse perspectives are valued makes employees want to work harder, stay longer, and be better team players.
This means before rushing to solve your inclusion issue, you should first take the time to diagnose the patient. Understanding the root causes of inequality is essential if you’re serious about transforming your workplace into a thriving, forward-thinking organisation.
Once identified, barriers to diversity and inclusion in the workplace can still be difficult to dismantle without creating friction. They’re often sensitive subjects requiring the right blend of understanding, empathy, and action. The right information, attitude and planning can all influence if an employee feels comfortable bringing their whole selves to work and be able to contribute, succeed and progress.
Any effective diversity and inclusion training initiative begins by recognising how race, gender, sexual orientation, health, age and cultural differences can create barriers in the workplace.
This means you need to ensure all those involved in any diversity and inclusion training project possess the relevant understanding, knowledge, and skills to ensure the initiative is both effective and long-lasting.
While compliance shouldn't be a driving reason to implement a diversity and inclusion strategy, it does need to be considered when planning your internal legal and compliance frameworks.
Ensuring everybody in your business both understands and adheres to the guidelines of a pre-agreed cultural environment can protect both your business and employees from costly compliance indiscretion and risks to reputation.
But D&I policies implemented for 'tick-box' only reasons run the risk of feeling arbitrary, performative, and don’t go far enough towards creating true cultural, organisation and structural change for the good of everybody.
A well-designed diversity and inclusion initiative is a powerful way to boost business growth by challenging pre-set ideas of what is “Right”, “Normal” or “Other” while also protecting against the stagnation of creative thought so your business always stays one step ahead of the competition.
In addition, a commitment to diversity and inclusion is also likely to aid your recruitment strategy, with studies showing 47% of millennials consider D&I to be an important factor in their job search.
I can't get stakeholder buy-in for my diversity and inclusion training programme
DEI training can often feel like a sunk cost to senior management. But with studies proving inclusive companies perform better, getting stakeholder buy-in is easier than ever (if you know how).
UpSkill Digital has delivered diversity, equity and inclusion training programmes to hundreds of learners in a variety of sectors. We're equipped to confidently guide you through the roadblocks and pitfalls you may face.
Our experienced team can help you plan and deliver a solid business case to ensure you get the stakeholder buy-in you need to implement a robust strategy and boost the standing of your organisation.
I don’t have the internal resources to deliver diversity and inclusion training
Delivering an effective diversity and inclusion initiative yourself is no easy task. Not only do you need experienced trainers, a library of quality teaching materials, and the time to deliver the sessions, but you also need the knowledge of how, when and where to make effective change.
Outsourcing the challenge to an experienced training company like UpSkill Digital means your learners benefit from the most up-to-date diversity and inclusion training best practices and theory available. Covering everything from recognising bias, inclusive communication, managing conflict and implementing change, our training programmes will ensure your business keeps in step with the ever-changing attitudes of the twenty-first century.
I’d prefer to run diversity and inclusion training myself
You may have in-house L&D or HR teams that are well-versed in delivering complex training to mixed ability and Leadership groups. But how confident are you that they understand the complexities of an important subject like diversity and inclusion? A subject that could lead to serious HR and compliance issues if handled poorly.
Our trainers have already completed extensive deep-dive research into culture, equality legislation, socio-economic data and diversity and inclusion framework design so you don’t have to.
We can develop bespoke content from start to finish or Train the Trainer packages to support your in-house teams deliver training on complex DEI issues. This means your learners receive both the knowledge and tools they need to build a workplace for everybody, allowing you to concentrate on other areas and maximise your time and resources.
What if I choose the wrong diversity and inclusion training?
If you’re urging your organisation to implement a diversity and inclusion strategy to increase employee satisfaction and boost business results, you need to make certain it’s effective.
You can’t afford to waste company resources or the precious time of your employees or senior leaders.
Luckily, we’re experts at delivering effective diversity and inclusion training to professional organisations. By choosing UpSkill Digital you’re choosing a reliable, proven training partner. We’re always happy to share testimonials or case studies from satisfied clients.
I don’t have time to plan or implement a diversity and inclusion training initiative
You know you need to address your organisation's diversity and inclusion training strategy, but you’ve also got a long list of other business-critical tasks to complete.
You need to research your options but you just don’t have time. It’s a common challenge.
The answer? Let UpSkill Digital help meet the needs of your business by crafting a learning program that both educates and supports your employees.
Do I need a bespoke or an off-the-shelf DEI training programme?
Your organisation is unique. It has its own processes, personalities and culture. Rarely is there ever a one-size-fits-all approach to diversity and inclusion training that’s right for every business. Choosing the right package for your needs depends on a variety of factors.
The benefits of a bespoke package are that it can be tailored to your unique context, whether that's by seniority level, role/ function, experience level, or specific desired outcomes.
It can also be mapped against any key performance indicators you're measuring change against, to create unique reporting and identify areas for further development.
But do you really need to go bespoke if most of your diversity and inclusion training needs can be met with an off-the-shelf (OTS) pre-packaged programme?
The key benefit of OTS packages is they provide a foundational approach that can be rapidly deployed and scaled with less resource investment from existing internal teams - perfect for companies at the beginning of their DEI journey.
So, how do you decide if a bespoke or off-the-shelf package best suits your business’ needs? It can be a difficult decision to get right.
The best way to find out is to speak with our experienced diversity and inclusion training team. With 100% honesty, they’ll happily share the benefits of their extensive experience and offer trustworthy advice on the most effective solution for your business.
I’ve already started a diversity, equity and inclusion training plan, but I need help.
Starting a DEI initiative is the hardest part and you’ve done a great job to get this far!
But if you’re experiencing additional challenges you didn’t anticipate, we can help.
Many organisations turn to UpSkill Digital because we know how to scope, map and deliver robust DEI learning structures that are scalable, impactful and relevant. We ensure both your learner and business needs are met and that your training is implemented in a way that allows flexibility when required.
Others invite us to help when the planning is complete and they need help with the delivery.
No matter the difficulties you run into, or what stage you’re at on your DEI journey, we’re here with the expert advice you need.
How can I assess the impact of DEI training and ensure ROI?
Effective diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging training is more than just providing your employees with the tools and frameworks they need to better themselves, colleagues and organisational culture.
If you’re serious about change and want to build a truly inclusive environment where everybody thrives, you also need to assess if learning has occurred, report upon the findings and know where to make improvements.
UpSkill Digital will provide you with a host of supplementary knowledge to ensure you understand how to measure the success of your DEI training initiative across the board. Not only that, but we’re always on hand if you need to augment or adapt as you grow.
We provide detailed reports that drill down into both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of DEI learning so not only can you record knowledge growth, you will also have the numbers you need to report the success of the program to senior management.
What if I need my Diversity, equity and inclusion program to scale?
Even if you already have a DEI plan in place, you still need to ask these questions:
If you’re unsure about any of these points, you may need to rethink if your current DEI programme is fit for purpose in a fast-changing world.
UpSkill Digital has a variety of tools, frameworks and services to address all of your diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging needs.
We can help ensure your DEI programme can adapt to changes in your learner’s needs, your organisation’s demands and keep up with changing trends so you’re consistently leading from the front as a forward-thinking diversity and inclusion ally.
During the UK’s first lockdown, it became clear to the Emerging Talent team at HSBC, that Black And Minority Ethnic graduates’ prospects within the organisation were being negatively impacted. Among other things, graduates could no longer rotate to other departments, which meant less exposure and impeded career progression.
“UpSkill Digital has been an incredible partner in empowering our ERG career initiatives. The team are super proactive, deliver impactful and dynamic content and are a delight to work with!”
Black Googlers Network
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is a genuine force for good in the world. As a not-for-profit membership body, it promotes and monitors inclusivity, diversity and fairness across British industry by harnessing the collective voice of over 190,000 businesses.
See how CBI turned to UpSkill Digital to ensure their senior leaders were given the knowledge and skills they required to influence diversity and inclusion initiatives across the entirety of British industry.
“This was so insightful and engaging and provided some great tools to take away and use to improve my ability to be an inclusive leader.”
Fiona Hamilton, Head of Financial Services (CBI)
Like most attitudes in the workplace, how your organisation views diversity and inclusion can often be a top-down approach, with senior leaders setting the tone for the rest. A great way to start thinking about diversity and inclusion is to analyse how effective your management teams are at recognising and understanding operational bias, privilege and discrimination.
Book a call with one of our experienced diversity and inclusion training consultants, and discover how UpSkill Digital can help your business and employees flourish.
Getting started is the hardest part. But now you know more about the importance and benefits of being an inclusive organisation, you can begin to think about how best to make the changes your employees deserve.
Here are three practical ways you can start thinking about diversity and inclusion in the workplace today.
The three pillars: Identity, Impact and Influence
Providing spaces, tools and networks for discovering authenticity and overcoming barriers to belonging.The three pillars: Identity, Impact and Influence
Fostering networks, relationships and connections that inspire, support and promote.
Exploring and overcoming individual and organisational barriers to progression and success.
Changing the language your company uses both internally and externally is a low-cost long-term strategy to start building a more diverse and inclusive workplace. But that doesn’t mean nailing a list of banned words to every office door - remember, this is about inclusive change without conflict.
Before you know how and where your organisation can become more inclusive, it’s important to first understand and map your current culture. But where do you start?
A perception gap is the difference between understanding an issue and its reality. For example, your senior leadership team may perceive themselves to be ‘inclusive leaders’ when in reality they fall short on a variety of fronts. As a result, the perception does not match up with reality.
By having open, honest and frank conversations around inclusion, your senior leaders can begin to map where their knowledge gaps lie and act accordingly.
Recognising the importance of becoming a truly inclusive organisation is one thing. But without the right knowledge and tools, it’s virtually impossible to make any real changes.
If you want to transform how your organisation understands inclusivity at a fundamental level, then you need to ensure employees at every level have access to engaging, up-to-date and factually accurate educational frameworks.
The world is a different place now that more people are working remotely. This means it’s harder for organisations to ensure employees feel heard, validated and trusted no matter where they are.
Technology has helped companies bridge the gap, but technology is only a tool. If you want to ensure your employees feel like they belong, then you also need to recognise what changes you need to make to ensure your inclusive culture works as well online as it does in the workplace.