In today’s world, we all know the importance of taking diversity seriously, but that doesn’t mean we always know the best way to go about it. How does an organization choose the proper training? How do they find the right vendor to conduct the training? And how should the results be evaluated to measure return on investment?

We’ll cover a few best practices for selecting and integrating diversity and inclusion training in today’s column.

Solicit Stakeholder Feedback

The first step at implementing a diversity program or diversity training is to get feedback from company stakeholders and key strategic leaders. You’ll want to know the company’s strategic direction, focus and diversity goals. The human resources team can be a great partner in helping you identify diversity objectives and goals if they haven’t already been determined.

Select a Training Program

Every diversity training program can be implemented differently, but you want to choose a program aligned with your company’s diversity goals.

After you’ve solicited feedback, you can then start to research the different diversity programs on the market. Every diversity training program can be implemented differently, but you want to choose a program aligned with your company’s diversity goals. You’ll also need to think about the way in which the training is delivered. For example, some training programs are more successfully implemented in a classroom setting, while others can be implemented virtually. You’ll want to choose a training program with a forum that is feasible for your organization, especially considering today’s Covid-19 environment.

Evaluate Providers

Next, you’re ready to take a look at the providers of diversity training. The options can be overwhelming, but take the time to do your research. Review the feedback available from other companies that have implemented the training programs you’re considering. You’ll also want to research the various training providers to ensure they are reputable and have a track record of successful implementation. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, set up demonstrations of the training and include stakeholders. This is a crucial piece of the puzzle, as the demonstration will give you a glimpse into how user friendly the training will be for your employees.

Create a “Diversity Mindset”

Even after soliciting stakeholder buy-in, selecting a training program that aligns with company goals, and implementing training via a top-notch vendor, you still aren’t guaranteed success. The fourth critical best practice to implementing diversity training is nurturing a “diversity mindset” throughout your organization.

The intent should be to inform and prepare the organization for the change. Diversity training is a change — it should aim to change the mindset of employees and foster a more open and receptive culture. Organizational leaders and managers should practice intentional change management strategies to ensure employees are prepared and receptive before diversity training is implemented.

Following these best practices will not only ensure you’re able to choose the right training program for your company, but can also facilitate strong organizational buy-in and long-term success for your diversity initiatives.