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Communication Strategies for Diversity Training

May 28, 2014, 4:21 PM
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Diversity training is already a sensitive issue. Most organizations don’t know how to address it and introduce programs to employees. In the latest installment of Big Think’s Edge, management expert Jennifer Brown provides communication strategies that highlight the many benefits of diversity training.

Focus on the Opportunities

As we’ve written previously here on Big Think, thanks to Brown’s insights, diversity training helps organizations make the most of their potential: their talent. It’s an opportunity for different groups of people to openly discuss their unique perspectives. Programs should help these employees build networks and find mentors. That is how diversity training must be communicated—as opportunities for high potential development. The groups being included should not feel “singled out,” says to Brown.

Vulnerability and Authenticity

Executives addressing employees should personalize their statements. This may be counterintuitive for leaders who are used to being strong and decisive. But Brown advises that diversity training is an opportunity for management and employees to connect and that this begins with leadership speaking from the heart.

“This is actually so important from an authenticity building perspective to make a connection with people and to make them feel that you are accessible and that you are still learning,” says Brown. The experience will be richer and more productive.

Messaging to the Middle

Are messages from the top of your organization and bubbling up from the bottom getting lost in the middle? Ensuring that middle-management understands what's at stake and is communicating clearly is essential in diversity training.

“The middle, to me, is the powerful impact and really if we don’t get that right, employees will vote with their feet, because the managers and their direct bosses – and the statistics show this – is they have an enormous amount of impact on day-to-day employee engagement which leads to retention,” explains Brown. “So we do have to figure out how to reach this middle population with tools that are useful and an understanding of how it drives their bottom line.”

For more on Brown’s communication strategies, subscribe to Edge today.

 

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