Training For Diversity: Why You Need to Build a Business Case

There’s perhaps never been a better time to fully embrace the benefits of collaboration and inclusion when it comes to overcoming training challenges. Diversity, whether it is present in social groups or commercial enterprises, truly opens us up to different perspectives and raises a broader range of useful questions. It offers the opportunity to consider new solutions, and for us to collectively innovate through multiple lenses; be they culture, age, race, gender or experiences.

Learning For Innovation

In the hospitality industry, the need for innovation is now paramount given the current COVID-19 pandemic, and online training through a learning management system can bring employees currently dealing with unfamiliar territory together in their work. Although face to face interaction is, for now, limited for everyone’s safety, the future of the hospitality industry, of employees and the way we serve clients remain closely interlinked. So as we face a diverse range of rapidly changing situations, the diversity of your workforce is a valuable asset. And online resources, such as e-learning and Learning Management Systems, can help staff recognise the value of diversity and inclusion (D&I) and build a dynamic work culture within your organisation.

It’s important to remember that corporate training is at its most effective when the entire company is involved—fostering a culture of learning that guides all employees from the top management down is directly linked to increased problem-solving. It follows that this leads to an overall increase in performance and revenue. The business case for supporting diversity in an optimised training drive is clear too: having a wide range of voices and viewpoints from all levels of a business to draw from when creating new ways forward is vital. This is particularly relevant for the hospitality industry since our clients are also a diverse group, with a spectrum of requirements and expectations. To serve every customer in the best possible way, employee training that highlights the value of understanding these groups and then harnesses creative potential in a diverse workforce is the ultimate goal!

Working Toward An Inclusive Environment

Thankfully, we’ve come a long way when it comes to recruitment. Businesses are increasingly hiring more people from different ethnic groups, those who are differently-abled physically, more women, members of the LBQTI community, older employees who may be returning to work, and neurodiverse workers too. It’s great that workforces are now increasingly representing the diversity of customers that companies serve, and their valuable range of skills and experiences should feed into the way a business operates.

You may already be fortunate enough to have a diverse workforce, but this doesn’t always automatically translate into having an inclusive work environment. E-learning for your operations is a great way to ensure a culture of diversity and inclusion permeates every aspect of your business. Your LMS is an optimised communication tool that can teach and strengthen good practices that encourage collaboration between employees that may come from different cultures or are different ages and genders. There has been a great deal of recent research that shows online learning which includes diversity training, is an effective way to transform a company’s operations for the better. In simple terms, a commitment to embracing diversity means you’ll be more likely to attract and retain skilled workers, improve overall staff satisfaction, and be more nimble when it comes to accommodating client needs. Listening to diverse voices can also help spot difficulties on the horizon before they become critical issues.

Tailored Online Training

On a nuts and bolts level, online training modules can be developed to reflect the demands of the hospitality industry in these changing times. Any new direction for your operations is uniformly communicated effectively across multiple departments with targeted online learning if you need it to be and can be broken up into manageable chunks or more in-depth courses. Employees can engage with their diversity training via mobile platforms, access content libraries and also, offer you feedback in terms of how it’s relating to their work in real-time. Topics for e-learning can be tailored to your service areas, location, or specifically to individual outlets, and things that could potentially negatively affect your company; such as biases, behaviours or assumptions can be highlighted, explained and avoided. While there is no substitute for direct experience, your learning management system can significantly support it, offering information frameworks for your staff to refer to and they can refresh their skills at regular intervals. Online hospitality training is the perfect way to induct recruits quickly if you’re suddenly in the position of needing to hire and train employees to meet new demand. It’ll ensure their collaboration skills are up to speed pretty soon off the starting block.

Stay Flexible

Through diversity training, your employees will gain an awareness of their role in promoting inclusion and will be appropriately equipped to foster an environment where every employee feels like their voice counts. This kind of training direction can have a supremely positive effect on staff morale on the ground, which is perhaps sorely needed in these testing times for the hospitality industry. We operate in a tech-driven world that brings both employees and clients together from all over the globe. To ignore the positive aspects of this diversity is to overlook strengths derived from different perspectives and actions. So many companies make the mistake of seeking to build a homogenous corporate culture, believing it unifies the people working for them, but it can actually alienate both staff and customers. It’s a move toward a rigid, inflexible business approach which is the exact opposite of what you should be looking to encourage, now more than ever. Providing the opportunity for your staff to learn skills together, and independently, through online training suited to their abilities means they can get to work armed with the widest possible set of perspectives for innovation.

Diversity Training For Current Challenges

Diversity training through an LMS means that you have the option to build courses that attend to every aspect of your hospitality business. For example, let’s talk about a scenario which may ring true for a particular type of service sector right now. Let’s say you have a popular cafe serving primarily coffee and lunch options. If your city-centre cafe is now chiefly offering take-out and delivery services in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, you may be seeing that your customer base has shifted significantly. Your primary customer base, perhaps millennial office workers who came in daily to eat lunch, might now be partially replaced with more elderly customers ordering food to eat at home. Your staff will need to draw on customer service skills that best serve individuals who may expect different responses from their usual clients – be it over the phone or in-person upon delivery. To respond to these challenges, the best thing you can do for your staff is to ensure they’re all on the same page when it comes to serving these folks. And your online diversity training program can very quickly be utilised to reflect ways to help new sets of clients you might be seeing.

Here’s another example. You may be running a guesthouse, but with holiday bookings all but replaced with cancellations, you may find yourself hosting key health workers who need to be in accommodation near a hospital. Your usual clients, perhaps vacationing retirees or young honeymooners, are now going to be younger workers who come back to your establishment each evening with very different requirements. Your online training courses for your staff can support them in coping with this sudden change of client and reflect values they need to be demonstrating or the services these different customers need.

Communication Plus Teamwork

However, the most noticeable effect diversity training will have on your business is how your employees treat each other, and how well they work together. At the heart of diversity training is the message of openness, understanding, and deploying solutions to ensure that both staff members and clients are heard and valued. These actions involve everybody working as a team and listening to a wide range of needs in multiple scenarios. It’s teaching true collaboration. It means balancing flexibility with finding the best way forward. And the medium is as important as the message. An online resource like a Learning Management System has the potential to grow and change with your hospitality business. It’s actually much like the customers you serve or the employees you hire – not a finite thing – but something transformable to work in tandem with the demands of your industry. It’s diverse in itself too, in the kinds of ways it delivers learning. Accessible to everyone thanks to the multiple ways in which you can relay teaching modules, be they audio, video or more traditional text-based lessons, you can utilise numerous techniques to convey diversity and inclusion training. You can provide e-learning in relatable, concrete terms for daily work-related tasks, or you can train staff in more overarching ways. You’ll want to cover protocol for general personnel interactions to prevent behaviours that may eventually lead to conflicts. Maybe you see the opportunity for training your staff to focus more on a growth mindset and build confidence in their abilities. Diversity training is fundamentally about communicating to everyone the need to communicate, and engaging in it will open up pathways to innovation.

So, we’re all in this together, we always have been. Let’s recognise that each individual has the potential help us all succeed, and that now is the time to make the most of every skill-set, viewpoint and technique for moving forward.