A few days ago it was reported that two respected police officers had been fired for sending racist text messages. The Metropolitan Police commented that police officers holding racist views do not have a place in the Police Force. Scotland Yard reported that the officers had “breached its standards in relation to authority, respect and courtesy, equality and diversity” (Click here to read full report)
Some of you will be sympathetic that these officers have had their careers ruined. Some of you may be wondering why were these texts sent when the Metropolitan Police heavily invest in diversity, equality and inclusiveness training.
What action would you take if your employees behaved in this manner? Would you have fired them too?
More importantly in your organisation, what do people really think after participating in diversity and inclusiveness training?
Is your diversity and inclusiveness training achieving the desired outcome? How do you know? If your evidence is numbers and graphs, then I am sorry to say, you are not looking at the complete picture.
The organisational culture is at two levels: what the bosses “see” as a result of their training investment and the “real” culture where people haven’t embraced the changes needed. The “real” culture often stays hidden below the bosses’ radar but is very much experienced by the employees.
There is a lot of talk on how diversity training should address unconscious biased thinking, which is great except you don’t know what you don’t know. You cannot change a person’s values and embedded beliefs by awareness training alone.
What we say and how we behave are indicators of attitudes stemming from our beliefs. The real indicator of whether your training interventions have had the desired effect is to notice what they say and how they behave outside of the work environment. This will reveal whether they are embracing the learning and therefore changing or are they paying lip service and going through the motions of being politically correct in the office.
Your organisational culture is defined by real behaviours from real people and unless you really make an effort to notice, you won’t see the “real” culture.
So, what can you do?
Start by encouraging your staff to build genuine rapport with people who are different to them, by finding connections and exploring similar interests and hobbies. If you think about your close circle of friends, how diverse is it? If your social group isn’t diverse do you really understand some of the different challenges, concerns and viewpoints of other people and cultures?
If you have built up a relationship with someone, you don’t see their colour, gender, disability etc, you converse with the person on the inside. This leads to increased trust and you start to understand each other better. This is your opportunity to understand different people and cultures, leading to new ways of thinking and creating an exciting environment to work in, all of which impacts positively on the company performance.
Changing the organisational culture isn’t easy. We specialise in leadership training that delivers. Our delegates genuinely embrace the changes needed within themselves, proven by the feedback we get from their bosses.
To deliver diversity training that has real impact is the biggest challenge in the workplace. If you would like more information and access to free resources please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org