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Last updated: 21.06.17

Office politics: The importance of deliberate practice, inclusion and diversity

Office politics: The importance of deliberate practice, inclusion and diversity

Diversity and inclusion are not only beneficial to employees but also to businesses as a whole. Here we look at why you need to be considering them.

The traditional workplace is changing. Cultured and diverse workforces are becoming a key element to successful businesses, as they no longer become a PR stunt to improve company image but are instead now a commitment to positive change. A diverse workplace not only provides benefits for employees but also encourages strong business gains.

There seems to be no valid argument against creating diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The majority of chief executives and business leaders acknowledge evidence backed by studies that show return on investment (ROI) in a diverse workplace is huge.

According to ScienceDaily, a one per cent increase in racial diversity leads to three per cent growth in profit, and organisations with higher levels of racial diversity bring in almost 15 times more sales revenue on average than those with lower levels of racial diversity. When it comes to gender diversity, every one per cent increase can grow revenue by nine per cent and diverse teams outperform industry standards by 35 per cent.

Room for growth

However, while statistics like this show the importance of diversity, inclusion and deliberate practice in the workplace, there is still room for growth as the majority of Diversity and Inclusion programmes (D&I) have failed to be a success.

But this doesn’t mean businesses and organisations aren’t trying. The majority of large corporations - Google for one - have created positions and developed programs to improve diversity in the workplace. Most of these start with creating awareness of the issue; however the implementation of action has continuously proved to be a problem.

How do we make change happen?

So how can we change things? In short, businesses must alter the way they train their workforce. Companies that rely on the same training approach that they’ve used for the past half-a-century are unlikely to see much change and could in fact, be harming their business.

As it stands, knowledge-transfer training methodologies such as how-to videos, workshops, hiring tests and performance ratings to encourage diversity are simply not effective. Numerous studies have proven that this type of forced one-way communication triggers bias and has more negatives than positives.

Practice-based solutions

Creating a safe-practice environment that allows employees to openly discuss issues and be trained on language to use when doing so, is quickly gaining popularity and demonstrating success among businesses and organisations. This means dealing with complex diversity issues with a deliberate practice-based interpersonal communication solution.

This type of training involves addressing labels and stereotypes and encouraging learners to use better-suited language, listen, have authentic conversations, and become more engaged.

Addressing difficult conversations

Many workers that are unsure of how to have conversations surrounding diversity simply remain silent or avoid the situations altogether. By doing so, without knowing, they are supporting the status quo and discouraging change from occurring.

Among learning and development organisations, there is a growing movement in applying this type of ‘Deliberate Practice’ training to leadership development, coaching, sales and customer service. Diversity among employees will increase when they are able to say feared words out-loud, and are then given feedback in a safe and judgement-free environment, without consequence.

Want to create a diverse work environment? Virtual College provides a wide-range of high quality e-learning services to the professional services sector, including management training to develop the next generation of leaders. Find out more today.

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