Equality training vs diversity training – what’s the difference?

By December 13, 2019Views from EW

Equality training vs diversity training – what’s the difference?

On the face of it, equality training and diversity training seem to have a lot of overlap in meaning. In many cases, people discuss both terms in the same sentence or use either term as interchangeable. However, their meanings are quite distinct.

In simple terms, equality training is about ensuring everybody has an equal opportunity and is not treated differently or discriminated against because of their characteristics (‘protected characteristics’ covers groups protected by The Equality Act). Whereas, diversity training is about considering the differences between people and social groups, and placing a positive value on those differences.

What does this mean when you are putting training plans in place for your employees?


Equality training – what is it?

Equality training was a concept that came into being around the same time as the introduction of the Equality Act 2010. It meant that companies could help their employees understand the contents of the act, and how it applied to their role and those within their team.

The reality is that if employees are to understand what equality law means for them, they will have to be told about it. This is the purpose and meaning of ‘equality training.’ It is a good way of demonstrating that your organisation is committed to prevention of discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

Equality training can be delivered:

  • As part of an onboarding process for new employees
  • As part of regular team or company update meetings
  • As part of a mandatory face to face training course offered to staff that may take a half or whole day.
  • As part of a mandatory e-learning course

At EW Group, we work out an equalities training programme that encompasses equality, diversity and inclusion that is bespoke to your company or organisation. We’ll take time to understand your individual needs and objectives, your company values and progress with your own D&I agenda; then recommend ways to move forwards.


Staying up to date with equalities legislation  

Whichever way you choose to deliver the equality training, there should be regular updates to inform staff of legislative changes as and when they occur. In addition, all new joiners after the initial tranche of training should receive the same guidance so that they know what is expected of them.

Training should include:

  • How the law relates to protected characteristics, as well as giving clear guidance of expected behaviours.
  • How being a bystander to inappropriate behaviour and ignoring it or seeming to approve has personal consequences that could negatively affect employment.
  • How discrimination can affect the way in which an employer functions and the impact that generalisations, stereotypes, bias, inappropriate language in day-to-day operations can have on people’s chances of obtaining work, promotion, recognition and respect.
  • Monitoring and why it’s an important part of maintaining equality standards.
  • The company equality policy, why it is in place and how it is being put into practice.


What is diversity training?

An important part of good people management is ensuring that diversity is promoted and supported in the workplace. It means that everyone in an organisation is valued as an individual. To really receive the benefits of having a diverse workforce, it’s vital to partner diversity with an inclusive environment so that everyone can achieve their potential through participation. Diversity in the workplace is good but inclusion is needed to give diversity real impact and drive sustainable inclusive cultures.

Protected characteristics are in place to set minimum standards of inclusion. But most companies also have a diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy of their own which goes beyond the legal aspects and seeks to add value, enrich the working environment and contribute to employee well-being and engagement.

In the same way that companies need equality training, they also need to provide diversity training to inform employees about the company D&I strategy and the expected behaviours needed to support it. For many, there may be no knowledge of the benefits of diversity and inclusion in an organisation. Making the benefits clear encourages better engagement and understanding, tolerance and teamwork.

Check out our blog post on diversity and inclusion in the workplace to find out how to get started if your organisation is just at the start of its D&I journey.


Do I need both equality and diversity training in that case?

The answer to this is probably ‘no’.

Most bespoke Diversity and Inclusion training will now cover key aspects of the Equality Act 2010 previously only found in equality training. Of course, if you choose bespoke diversity and inclusion training, it is developed in response to the maturity of your individual D&I strategy so it will take into account exactly where you are on your D&I journey (from diagnosis to transformation, to adoption to measurement and re-evaluation) and as a result works better to support your longer-term D&I objectives.


What is an Equality Impact Assessment?

An Equality Impact Assessment helps you embed equality, diversity and inclusion into your organisation. This ensures you can meet the requirements under UK legislation, including the Equality Act 2010, as well as client contracts and service level agreements

If an Equality Impact Assessment is mandatory for your organisation, we offer training courses that can be delivered face-to-face or via our e-learning platform – or a blend of both. In addition, we also provide ‘train the trainer’ programmes for organisations in which large numbers of EIA need to be carried out. Your staff will then be able to cascade their learning throughout the business. Find out how we helped the Financial Ombudsman Service to gauge their diversity performance.


Next steps

Whether you are at the start of your D&I journey and need help igniting a programme of activity leading to a more inclusive culture – or if you’re ready to take the next step on your D&I journey and would benefit from a diversity audit and bespoke programme of activity, EW Group can help.

The EW Group has been running diversity and inclusion training for the past 28 years. Our consultants and staff can advise you on the best route to achieving an inclusive culture.

Contact us to find out how we can help you.

Lisa Jobson has worked with EW Group for 2 years as a Talent Management Specialist and Management Consultant and most recently became interim MD during Rachael’s maternity leave. She is a talent management specialist, having led inclusive leadership training for Neon Underwriting and Cushman & Wakefield and designed and delivered unconscious bias for managers workshops for ABN Amro. Lisa has more than twenty years of experience in the technology and finance recruitment sectors. She was Harvey Nash’s first Director of Talent with the brief to design and implement a talent management strategy for Group businesses across the UK and Ireland. Sign up to EW Group's monthly e-newsletter for industry updates, case studies, exclusive event invites and more!

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