Equality training vs diversity training: what’s the difference?
Lisa Jobson is a specialist in talent management and management consulting and has extensive experience in supporting businesses to determine focus and the strategic importance of diversity.
On the face of it, equality training and diversity training seem to have a lot in common. Often, people discuss both terms in the same sentence or use them interchangeably. However, their meanings are distinct.
- Equality training ensures everybody has equal opportunity and is not treated differently or discriminated against because of their characteristics; such as ‘protected characteristics’ protected by The Equality Act 2010.
- Diversity training considers the differences between people and social groups and placing positive values on those differences.
In this guide, learn more about what equality and diversity training each entails, the distinction between the two, how they can be delivered, and what each type of training typically includes.
What is equality training?
Equality training is a concept that came into being around the same time as the introduction of the Equality Act 2010. It is designed so companies can help their employees understand the contents of the act, and how it applies 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 the 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.
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 they know what is expected of them.
Training should include:
- How the law relates to protected characteristics, as well clear guidance of expected behaviours
- How being a bystander to inappropriate behaviour, thereby ignoring it or seeming to approve of it, has real, negative consequences affecting careers, retention, and recruitment
- How discrimination can affect the way in which an employer functions, and the impact that generalisations, stereotypes, bias, and inappropriate language can have on people’s chances of obtaining work, promotion, recognition, and respect
- How to monitor equality and why it is an important part of maintaining standards
- The company’s equality policy, why it is in place, and how it is being put into practice.
At EW Group, we will design an equalities training programme that encompasses equality, diversity, and inclusion that is bespoke to your company or organisation.
We will take time to understand your individual needs and objectives with an equality impact assessment, your company values and progress with your own D&I agenda; then recommend ways to move forwards.
What is an Equality Impact Assessment?
An Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) 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 EIA 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 EIAs need to be carried out. Your staff will then be able to cascade their learning throughout your business.
Find out how we helped the Financial Ombudsman Service to gauge their diversity performance with EIAs.
What is diversity training?
A crucial part of good people management is ensuring that diversity – in terms of race, gender, ability, sexuality, or otherwise – is promoted and supported in the workplace. Diversity training helps ensure this happens.
It goes beyond equality training, helping build inclusive working environments that let everyone 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. This is why diversity and inclusion are typically linked.
Diversity training is also about forming a plan. 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. These go beyond legal requirements and seek to add value, enrich the working environment, and contribute to employee wellbeing and engagement.
As part of the company D&I strategy, companies also need to provide diversity training to inform employees 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, understanding, tolerance, and teamwork.
View our guides on the benefits of having a diverse workforce, and how your organisation can get started on promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Do you need both equality and diversity training?
The answer to this is probably ‘no’, however it is dependent on where you are in your equality and diversity journey.
Most bespoke D&I training now covers key aspects of the Equality Act 2010 previously only found in equality training.
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). This ensures it better supports your longer-term D&I objectives.
What stage of your equality, diversity, and inclusion journey are you?
Perhaps you are at the start of your D&I journey and need help initiating a programme of activity leading to a more inclusive culture? Maybe 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? Whatever stage you are at, EW Group can help.
Our expert consultants have been running unconscious bias training and diversity and inclusion training for 30 years. They will call upon their extensive knowledge and experience to advise you on the best route to achieving an inclusive culture.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you.