Assessing Diversity Training Needs of an Organization

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Diversity training teaches employees and management how to understand and respect differences among people. Explore the process of assessing the diversity training needs of an organization through internal and external audits. Updated: 01/24/2022

Diversity Training

Herbert is a CEO of a company. With all the news stories about organizations where harassment and discrimination is rampant, he's worried about his company's diversity. He wants to make sure that his employees feel safe at work and that everyone is being accepted. What should he do?

Herbert might want to think about diversity training, which is education to help employees within an organization understand and respect differences among people. Diversity training is usually given or organized by human resources in large companies, though some companies pay outside organizations to come in and provide the training.

Diversity training often focuses on differences between workers with regard to race, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity, though it can focus on other areas of diversity. As such, it is an important part of creating a healthy work environment, avoiding potential legal issues regarding discrimination or harassment, and making companies more productive and competitive.

So could Herbert's company benefit from diversity training? To answer that question, Herbert will first want to do a diversity audit to see where the company currently is and what it needs to move forward. Let's help him out by looking at how this audit might be done.

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  • 0:04 Diversity Training
  • 1:18 Scope of Audit
  • 3:13 Gathering Information
  • 5:00 Lesson Summary
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Scope of Audit

Herbert is ready to do a diversity audit in which he assesses his organization's need for diversity training. But he's not sure how to do that. Where does he even start?

The first step of the diversity audit is to identify the scope of the audit, which is basically just asking and answering the question, 'Why are we doing this audit?' Essentially, Herbert will be trying to figure out what has motivated the need to look at diversity within the organization.

There are many possible answers about the scope of the audit. An organization might be doing the audit to comply with laws and regulations. They might be doing it to receive contracts reserved for diverse companies. They might be looking at diversity training as a way to improve the company culture, including retaining current employees and boosting company-wide production. Perhaps they're thinking about diversity training due to public relations, to boost the company image.

The point is, there are many different ways to think about why a company might be thinking about diversity training, and the answers will determine whether the audit is done internally (that is, by people who work within the organization) or externally (that is, by people who work outside the organization). There are pros and cons to each of these.

Internal audits are great because the people doing the audit have institutional knowledge and are motivated stakeholders. Internal audits can also cost less money. On the other hand, external audits are great because the people doing the audit have expertise in diversity auditing, and they are more likely to be objective.

Identifying the scope of the audit can drive the decision to do it internally or externally. For example, a company that is facing legal issues due to problems regarding discrimination and harassment might be best served by doing an external audit because objectivity will be paramount. On the other hand, someone like Herbert, who is doing the audit to improve company culture but with no looming legal or public relations threat, might choose to be more cost-efficient and do the audit internally.

Gathering Information

After thinking about the scope of his audit, Herbert has decided that he's going to do an internal audit. But what's next? How can his company actually do the audit?

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