Readiness for Diversity Training

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Readiness for Diversity Training

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Many organizations now offer diversity training to their employees on a regular basis. Some do so for compliance reasons, while others seek to develop employee competencies, and still others seeking better intergroup relationships.

A number of factors influence the effectiveness of the training, and one that is frequently overlooked is how ready people are to engage in the training. Readiness to train includes employees feeling motivated, confident they can learn the material, willing to use the material in their work, and seeing the utility of the training.

Recently, Yunhyung Chung, of the University of Idaho, and her colleagues examined how diversity variables affected readiness to train. To do so, they collected data from 203 employees across a variety of industries.

The researchers examined two main variables: experiences with discrimination and being racially different from their supervisor. They found that the two variables interacted to influence training readiness. Relative to their peers, people who experienced discrimination and differed from their supervisor were most motivated to take part in the training, most likely to use it in their work, and saw the value from the training.

Results show that employee characteristics and experiences can influence their attitudes toward diversity training and the value they see in the exercise.

The findings also bring to light another question: how do we motivate people to engage in training when they are racially similar to their peers or when they haven’t experienced discrimination? For these individuals, clearly articulating how the training will help their work performance and the effectiveness of the company as a whole are key.