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Innovative Diversity & Inclusion Training in the Workplace

December 29, 2017
By Josh Ownby

There are a LOT of programs available for diversity training in the workplace, and while they all teach valuable information, many of them seem much the same. By comparison, "How Was Your Day?" is an innovative diversity and inclusion training program, offering a fresh perspective on topics vital to every organization: unconscious bias, diversity and inclusion.

Tackling our hidden biases is an important, but often overlooked, component of diversity training in the workplace. "How Was Your Day?" pulls no punches in telling us it’s not a matter of IF you’re biased - you are; we all are. We all make unconscious assumptions about others every day, based on no more than how they look or speak. And while it’s normal to have some biases, it’s illegal to act on them in the workplace.

To overcome unconscious bias, first frame your bias - admit that you are looking through a bias “frame of reference” in every situation; once you do that, you can start to pay closer attention to the assumptions you make about others and consciously notice the conclusions you draw about them. Next, challenge your assumptions, and lastly, set them aside. Think about how you would act if your bias didn’t exist - try to consider only co-workers’ abilities, performance, and ideas and set all the other “stuff” aside.

Diversity and inclusion training goes hand-in-hand with learning to set aside our hidden biases. "How Was Your Day?" uses a unique, innovative analogy to help explain the difference between diversity and inclusion. Imagine a garage band rocking out enthusiastically. There’s a diverse mix of band members - young, old, male, female, Asian, Caucasian, Black, etc. But all you can hear is the bassist and the drummer. Clearly, all the band members are working really hard, but not everyone is being heard. Suddenly, we begin to hear the guitarist, backup singer and lead vocalist...finally, everyone has a voice.

Diversity in an organization is like making it into the band - you’ve been hired and you’re on the team. But while hiring a diverse workforce is very important, it’s not enough. Just like in the band, if only a small group of individuals are heard, then the organization isn’t capturing the full talent and potential of everyone. Inclusion means getting to “play,” being a critical part of the team, where your ideas and input are sought after and you’re counted on to contribute.

Inclusion training from "How Was Your Day?" teaches an easy-to-remember way to achieve an inclusive workplace at the team member level: ask questions and turn off your “rebuttal brain.” This means respecting others enough to ask what they think, and thoughtfully considering what they have to say without preparing your rebuttal while they’re still speaking. Instead of preparing an argument as to why their idea won’t work, relax and respectfully listen. This way, all employees, from all diverse backgrounds, have a “seat at the table” and are truly valued and included.

For more on diversity training in the workplace, watch "How Was Your Day?" Getting Real about Bias, Inclusion, Harassment and Bullying.