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Diversity Training for Leaders

Lee Roulston

By Lee Roulston, Thinka Co-founder,
7 June 2024

Thinka’s ‘Advance Diversity’ workshop

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) has become essential in organisations committed to developing a fair, equitable workplace. Senior leadership groups are working hard to break down old systems, build inclusion and bring a sense of belonging into workplace life. Diversity and inclusion transformation has distinct benefits for organisations, such as a more compelling EVP and increased attraction, retention and engagement of talent.

What you’ll explore

  • What diversity is and what it isn’t
  • Why the future of work depends on diversity
  • Culture, gender, age and ability
  • Solving problems and avoiding groupthink 
  • Inclusion: strategies to engage people

What you’ll apply

  • A working understanding of diversity
  • Knowledge of macro trends and influences
  • Skills for hiring and leading diverse teams
  • An ability to harness diversity of thought
  • Inclusion strategies for better collaboration
Workshop Purpose

The purpose of this program is to support senior leaders with an understanding of the benefits of working in a diverse and inclusive workplace and how to challenge systems that don’t support this. As senior leaders start to understand how behaviours like unconscious bias and a lack of psychological safety affects others, they can make changes to support diverse groups. Senior leaders learn how to demonstrate the value of a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace and put specific actions in place to transform workplace culture.

We work with many Australian organisations committed to diversity and inclusion training, knowing it is essential to sustained success. Here are some reasons why organisations will benefit from this training:

  1. Rise of ‘human skills’: To prepare for the future of work and navigate a diverse workforce, organisations are developing both technical skills and soft skills. Organisations who understand the value of diverse teams and include underrepresented groups have stronger workplace culture. This means representation across ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inclusion, age, and ability. 
  2. Purpose-led business: Employees are seeking organisations that are committed to purpose and are progressive in areas like DEI, sustainability and technology. With purpose and a strong commitment to developing workplace culture, organisations have a significant competitive advantage and a more compelling EVP for attraction, retention and engagement. 
  3. Increased use of global talent: Hybrid working has opened up more opportunities for teams to work across the globe. Organisations are no longer restricted to local talent pools and can explore greater options for building top talent and a diverse workforce. Bringing in global talent means diversity training and inclusion initiatives become even more important. 
  4. Rising expectations of leadership: Organisations expect leaders to set an example and demonstrate allyship, so that psychological safety is maintained and diverse groups are represented fairly. Competencies in understanding and implementing DEI initiatives will become an essential component of leadership development, ready for the future of work. 
  5. Leveraging diversity in talent pools: Organisations that understand how to work with neurodiversity, and can support people with disability and their accessibility needs, benefit from a more diverse talent pool. Inclusive leaders who welcome ‘thought diversity’ and think about ‘universal design’, build better products and services that appeal to the broadest range of people and their needs.

Overall, an organisational focus on diversity & inclusion can help to remove unconscious bias from systems and give leaders tools to embed change. With Diversity and Inclusion Training, coaching sessions, and support from Thinka’s video collection, organisations can work toward building a workplace where people feel a sense of belonging.

Workshop Benefits

With the help of Diversity and Inclusion Training, skills that learners can put in place to build an inclusive culture include:

  1. Allyship: Allyship is important to establish fairness and equity in the work environment. When underrepresented groups are given opportunities, are included and feel a sense of belonging, organisations benefit and every individual benefits. When senior leaders promote allyship and advocacy, people feel safe to ask for what they or their team needs and bring issues and unconscious bias to light. 
  2. Collaboration: Organisations who celebrate different needs and perspectives are more likely to collaborate with greater ease. Organisations with employees who have well-developed communication skills know their audience and can relate to others with an empathetic approach. They also actively include all people in conversations and decision-making. 
  3. Empathy: Finding ways to relate to other people’s experiences and the emotions they are feeling, gives leaders and team members a better insight into each other. When this happens, there is more opportunity for connection and this in turn means they’re more likely to be high performing and support each other. 
  4. Relationship management: Organisations who promote understanding and an appreciation of differences, are better able to foster healthy workplace relationships. Leaders who apply an inclusion lens to interactions by responding in respectful ways to what people need, build longer-lasting connections. This also has a positive effect on team member mental health. 
  5. Leadership skills: When leaders actively contribute to a positive, inclusive workplace culture, they increase the effectiveness of their leadership and earn greater respect from their direct reports. This opens up opportunities for better, healthier relationships and greater buy-in on initiatives and change.

With the benefits of diversity and inclusion embedded in organisation culture, teams are better able to collaborate and build constructive, supportive relationships.

Workshop FAQs

What is Diversity Training for leaders?

Our Diversity Training is specifically designed for senior leaders to understand the damaging effect of microaggressions, unconscious bias and exclusion. This course aims to provide participants with strategies that promote inclusive leadership, so they can build a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. Our experienced facilitators have worked with many Australian workplaces on diversity and inclusion and will share case studies and stories to help your learners.

Why should my organisation offer Diversity Training for leaders?

Being part of Diversity Training helps senior leaders put inclusive practices in place, leading to a greater sense of belonging and job satisfaction. It also helps participants break down barriers, such as fear and uncertainty, so they can confront bias and make change. Leaders are encouraged to safely learn from personal reflections and in small groups.

Who can attend Diversity Training for leaders?

This workshop is designed to be broad and influence organisational change so new, inclusive frameworks can be built. Senior leaders do Thinka’s Diversity Training to get a foundation set in place, so they can establish actions and initiatives to drive change.

Is Diversity Training for leaders only available in person?

Diversity Training for leaders can be delivered in-person or as online training; depending on the organisation’s set-up. It is typically made up of strategies, discussions and a series of activities to support moves to build a diverse and inclusive environment.

The training can be complemented with coaching sessions with a Thinka coach. Coaching plays an important role in challenging old behaviours and helping participants build new, inclusive mindsets.

We have also delivered this training as a series of webinars and as online training courses (eLearning modules or video learning), for businesses who are hybrid and dispersed across geographical areas.

After this workshop, I'm committed to better understand the diversity amongst individuals and ensure others are giving everyone a voice.

Advance Diversity participant, State Trustees

Workshop Outline

Delivery Options

In Person Workshop

Virtual Workshop

See Demo

Key Outcomes

1. Leaders who understand the definition of diversity.

2. Leaders who understand the value of diverse teams.

3. Leaders who can use diversity of thought to solve problems.

4. Leaders who can actively apply inclusion strategies.

5. Leaders who can see the future of work and its possibilities.

Target Audience

Executives

Learning Approach

Experiential and application based learning

Workshops to pair me with:

Empower Culture

Culture is more than ping-pong tables; it’s about intentional behaviours and values.

Transform Workplace Culture

Embed Strengths

When you know a leadership team’s strengths, you have a language to talk to.

The CliftonStrengths Approach

Our in-person workshops maximise opportunities for robust conversation, experiential activities and intensive group work. This is no ‘death by PowerPoint’ experience – our facilitators are skilled in presenting and leading immersive experiences that get the most out of people. Supported by multimedia, attractive takeaway pages and practical strategies for using back on the job – our in-person workshops build a formidable bridge between exploration and application. We have a 10 person minimum for an in person workshop.

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Our virtual workshops breathe fresh life into the online experience with their almost ‘radio show’ feel. Our expert facilitators use a combination of multimedia, questioning techniques and break out activities to target micro-skills – with a focus on application. Supported by an online platform hosting custom-built workshop materials, participants can be assured of a lively, dynamic session that has a distinct bias to action. We have a 6 person minimum for a virtual workshop.
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This audience includes executive leaders who are driving the more visionary and strategic areas of the business. The skills are geared toward building capability in innovation, operationalising strategy and working with ‘middle management’ to cascade information. Leaders must be advanced in their development to truly benefit from working with these skills.
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Thinka believes that every learner needs to walk away being able to do something differently once they’ve engaged in a learning solution. The real power is in every individual applying their learning. Our behaviour-based methods, supported by the latest research, are key to making the steps for change relevant and realistic.

Thinka supports with methods like storytelling, experiential activities or rich questioning, but ultimately, we know the integration between solution and real world is the most crucial part of the learning experience. That is why we look for ways to ‘build a bridge’ between the solution we provide and what happens back out on the job.

Whether it’s an application template, a set of strategies, some tips or a ‘how to’ model – we work hard to provide every learner with not just information but the tools they need to make a real difference.

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