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When you think of diversity training, what comes to mind? You might think of being forced to sit in an empty boardroom with cold coffee watching an outdated video that plays on all the old racial stereotypes. Or worse, it is a round-table discussion where you are forced to lay bare your soul to others you hardly know.
Both of these options are anything but effective when it comes to promoting diversity in the workforce. For some employees, they will just be seen as a free pass from work while others will resent them as unneeded lecturing that leaves them feeling hostile.
So what are you to do? Workforce diversity is a critical issue that can’t be ignored. When diversity is embraced and celebrated, employees are more productive, have less sick time and are more likely to show pride in their work. However, you don’t want to bore your employees or put on a program that is counter-productive.
The same can be said for diversity in education. We learn best from others who are not like us – those who challenge our ideas and perspectives. For quality diversity training, you need to find an expert who can easily relate to others as well as provide the education appropriate for the level of the audience.
Finding the right speaker can be a daunting task. However, selecting the right match for your company or college is crucial to having a successful program. Search for someone who offers an alternative perspective but who also has a background similar to your audience. You want to challenge your workforce to think outside the box, but you don’t want someone too confrontational – such ‘in your face’ tactics rarely work and often backfire.
Once you have the right trainer, it is time to schedule a convenient training time. Provide light refreshments and keep the atmosphere upbeat. After all, the right training should be fun and never monotonous and boring. Then, sit back and watch as your well-chosen diversity training program results in improved employee retention, great productivity, and, of course, more profits for your business!
Zohra Sarwari is one of the nation’s foremost Muslim women speakers. She has been featured at numerous seminars and conferences. Her talks combine humor with the real-world perspective of a Muslim living in America’s Midwest. A published author, Mrs. Sarwari has written extensively on the subjects of tolerance, diversity and the truth behind the Islamic religion. To learn more about Mrs. Sarwari and her diversity training programs, visit www.muslimwomanspeaker.com