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5 Benefits of Diversity Training in Government

Benefits of Diversity Training in Government

As diversity in the workplace continues to evolve, many public sector agencies are examining the benefits of diversity training. Embracing diversity in government can help promote fairness and equity, boost innovation, and ensure that the public sector reflects the vibrant nature of our communities.

Diversity training is a pivotal strategy toward fostering more government diversity. Through diversity training, public sector agencies can combat bias and harness the richness of differing perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds. As a result, staff members and citizens can feel valued and empowered to contribute their best efforts in service of the community.

Read on to learn the benefits of diversity training in government, statistics about diversity and diversity training, and best practices to follow.

In this post, you’ll find:

  • The current state of diversity and inclusion in government
  • Why is diversity of opinion important in government
  • Federal government diversity statistics
  • Benefits of diversity training for public sector workforces
  • Diversity training program best practices and standards
  • How to overcome challenges and barriers when implementing diversity training

A few key benefits of diversity training in government:

  • Reduction of bias in discrimination
  • Better reflection of the community served
  • Increased innovation and problem-solving
  • Improved employee retention and recruitment
  • Enhanced public trust and image

What Does Diversity in Government Look Like?

Work colleagues gathered around a brainstorming document - what does diversity in government look like

Diversity refers to the presence of a variety of different characteristics, backgrounds, and perspectives within a group. This may include diversity in race, ethnicity, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, and more.

In the context of public sector workplaces, diversity is key to affirming that all residents are heard, valued, and represented within their government. From federal employees to local governing boards, diversity training and adopting standards related to diversity are paramount. These initiatives can help ensure there are a variety of perspectives in the room when decisions are being made that impact the community.

Current State of Diversity and Inclusion in Government

To learn about the state of government diversity, we can look to current public policy and government reports.

For instance, on his first day in office, President Biden issued an Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government (Executive Order #13985). This Order aimed to advance racial equity through federal initiatives and revoked several executive orders from the previous administration. Then, in June 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) in the Federal Workforce (Executive Order #14035). This Order outlined a government-wide DEIA Strategic Plan and standards to achieve diversity-related goals.

As part of this Strategic Plan, the 2023 report on government-wide diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provides key insights about the federal workforce. For instance, women comprised around 44% of the federal workforce and only 37.9% of senior executives. Additionally, the report shares breakdowns of federal employees by race, veteran status, disability status, and more.

While ample data is available for federal employees, the emphasis on equality and diversity diversity in local government can vary greatly. To learn more, we recommend researching public policies and reports with your local agencies.

Even though great strides have been made in government diversity, there is still work to be done. Read on to learn why we need diversity training in government and the benefits of diversity training.

Why We Need Diversity Training in Government

Given the government’s position as a representative and service provider to a diverse populace, public sector workplaces play a unique role in setting standards for diversity and inclusion. A robust diversity training program has the potential to improve workplace culture, policy development, and service delivery within administrative agencies.

From increased trust among diverse communities to innovation breakthroughs, stronger recruitment and retention efforts, and a more cohesive workplace culture, let’s explore the many benefits to diversity training in official government organization agencies.

5 Benefits of Diversity Training in Government

Group of colleagues with hands raised in a fist-pump - benefits of diversity in government

1. Reduction of Bias and Discrimination

Diversity training programs are essential in identifying, addressing, and reducing unconscious biases and discriminatory practices in the workplace.

According to Gallup, 24% of Black and Hispanic workers report discrimination at work. Additionally, the Pew Research Center notes inequitable conditions persist with regard to gender in the public sector. Case in point: only 28% of U.S. congressional members and around 33% of state legislators are women.

Diversity training can help open your team’s eyes to bias and discrimination in the workplace, turning employees into advocates for change.

2. A Workplace that Reflects the Community

Government employees gathered around a table - diversity in government to reflect the community

Prioritizing diversity in government can result in a workforce that more closely reflects the community being served. This is important because a diverse government is better equipped to connect with and understand the needs of diverse populations.

For instance, when diversity training is provided related to inclusivity for people with disabilities, government agencies can more thoughtfully implement solutions and reasonable accommodations to serve this audience. Furthermore, when people from marginalized communities are at the table where decisions are being made, agencies can make more informed decisions about the needs of these communities.

In fact, one study from Forbes found that inclusive teams make better business decisions up to 87% of the time!

3. Increased Innovation and Problem-Solving

Diverse perspectives can foster creativity and innovative solutions to complex problems in the workplace. Case in point: Harvard Business Review found that cognitively diverse teams solve problems faster than teams of like-minded thinkers.

Moreover, in the book The Diversity Bonus, author Scott Page shares how workforce diversity can improve the bottom line. Page presents “overwhelming evidence that teams that include different kinds of thinkers outperform homogenous groups on complex tasks.”

Among the benefits he explores: improved problem solving, increased innovation, and more accurate forecasting for the future.

4. Improved Employee Retention and Recruitment

A diverse work atmosphere can be a powerful tool for recruitment and retention. In fact, one Monster survey found that 83% of Gen Z candidates agree that “a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is important when choosing an employer.”

This sentiment is echoed across generations: a Glassdoor survey found that overall, 76% of job seekers and employees “report that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.”

By offering diversity training programs and prioritizing diversity as a core value, your government agency be more appealing to job candidates while fostering an inclusive environment for current employees.

5. Enhanced Public Trust and Image

3 employees giving a presentation - enhanced trust and public image

When government agencies actively pursue diversity training, it demonstrates the agency’s commitment to inclusivity. This can build trust among all community members, especially marginalized and minority groups.

Diversity training also equips government employees to better understand differing points of view and backgrounds. This can result in more robust, comprehensive service delivery and increased empathy when hearing constituents’ feedback and ideas.

For additional transparency, consider sharing openly about your diversity training and the results of training programs. This can build even stronger trust within the community, while also opening the door to new ideas and feedback.

Components of Effective Diversity Training Programs

When implementing effective diversity training programs, there are several key elements to keep in mind. These include:

  • Gaining leadership buy-in and participation, which can encourage all employees to participate.
  • Selecting programs with tailored content that’s relevant to the specific needs of your agency.
  • Utilizing interactive and experiential learning methods to keep employees engaged.
  • Providing ongoing support and resources beyond standalone training sessions.
  • Evaluating and adapting programs to ensure the training remains relevant and impactful.

To learn more about diversity training and standards, explore our blog post on Ideas for Promoting Public Sector Diversity and Inclusion.

Challenges and Barriers to Implementing Diversity Training

While implementing diversity training initiatives is a worthwhile endeavor, you may encounter challenges along the way. Anticipating these challenges with no fear and forming a plan to address them ahead of time can help reduce potential roadblocks.

One obstacle can be budget constraints, which may limit the resources available for training programs. Additionally, resistance to change among employees can hinder participation and engagement. Additionally, skepticism about the effectiveness of diversity training may arise, leading to doubts about its value and impact.

To mitigate these challenges, agencies can emphasize the importance of diversity and inclusion, provide clear explanations of the training’s objectives and benefits, and offer opportunities for open dialogue and feedback. Additionally, it’s a good idea to ensure training content is relevant, respectful, and inclusive of diverse perspectives. By addressing concerns and fostering a supportive and inclusive environment, agencies can promote acceptance and understanding among employees and maximize the effectiveness of diversity training initiatives.

Best Practices and Strategies for Effective Implementation

Coworkers gathered around a table - implementing diversity in government

Fortunately, there’s no need to start from scratch when implementing diversity training. Instead, look to established best practices for inspiration and ideas.

As a starting point, we recommend seeking buy-in from your agency’s executive leadership. Educating leaders on the benefits of diversity training and gaining their enthusiastic participation can help set a positive example throughout your organization.

Additionally, customizing training to your agency’s unique needs and goals helps ensure trainings are a constructive use of everyone’s time. Consider conducting employee and public surveys to gather ideas, challenges, and feedback that can inform diversity training sessions.

It’s important to also ensure that training programs are accessible to all members of your team. Be sure to make reasonable accommodations so all employees can participate in training sessions. Digital diversity training solutions, like the programs provided by Unexpected Virtual Tours & Training, help ensure that programs are inclusive to employees across a variety of locations and work arrangements.

We also recommend integrating diversity training into broader organizational development initiatives throughout the year. Don’t make your diversity training a “one and done” session. Instead, seek out ways to incorporate DEI activities on an ongoing basis.

Finally, it’s important to continuously monitor the effectiveness of your diversity training programs. Through pre-and-post training assessments, follow-up surveys, focus groups, and measuring diversity-related key performance indicators (KPIs), you can gauge the success of your initiatives.

Embrace Diversity Training in Your Agency

To summarize – diversity in government is crucial in building trust within the community and governing effectively. Effective diversity training not only enhances the diversity and inclusion in your public sector workplace, it can also lead to a variety of additional benefits for your team and community.

We encourage you to take the time to assess your current diversity training efforts and consider the benefits and best practices shared in this post. Use this guide as a roadmap to plan your future diversity and inclusion activities with no fear – and watch your team flourish as a result! Unexpected Virtual Tours and Training

For a variety of unique and engaging DEI training activities, look no further than Unexpected Virtual Tours & Training! Our live, interactive virtual programs serve government agencies and businesses alike with dynamic programs that cover important DEI topics.

From Black history and women’s history to AAPI heritage, LGBTQ+ Pride, Indigenous history, and Hispanic heritage – our programs delve into topics with a mix of education, fun, and team bonding, led by expert guides. Join us to see why our programs are ranked 5 stars on Google, with over 2,200 reviews!

Reach out below to learn more and book your diversity training session:

For more ideas on public sector diversity training, read our blog post on promoting DEI within local government. You can also explore resources on diversity and inclusion activities as well as virtual diversity and inclusion activities for remote and hybrid teams.