The human race is incredibly diverse, which couldn’t be more apparent in today’s society; different races, religions, sexual preferences, age and gender all seem to be readily accepted by the majority of society. Take the latest political video that was leaked online which featured some BNP candidates making inappropriate comments as they canvassed for support; this caused outrage for much of the population. So, if the general consensus is that discrimination is completely unacceptable, why is it that a new discrimination case appears in the media on a weekly basis?
Surely we as a nation are past diversity issues?
The fundamental problem appears to be ignorance, which in truth has been the proverbial elephant in the corner for decades. It’s argued that the growing ‘political correctness’ debate has done little but add fuel to the fire; rules and regulations are constantly changing and being updated, which has led to confusion and arguably desensitisation of diversity issues.
So it is unsurprising that when told about diversity training programmes the general view of employees is anything but energised. Righttrack Consultancy has provided diversity training for many different types of organisations and has experienced first-hand the trepidation that diversity training can generate.
However from Righttrack’s experience this opinion is not held for long and by the end of the programme delegates have appreciated the learning, embraced the true meaning of diversity and, more importantly, been able to practice tackling discrimination in a safe environment.
John Freshney, Righttrack’s Operations Manager, says, “Whilst many delegates are initially very quick to poo-poo diversity training before the course even begins, it quickly becomes apparent to all delegates the benefits that the training brings.
What many delegates state as finding most valuable appears to be the opportunity to practice tackling discrimination as and when it occurs. Rightly or wrongly, people are reluctant to tackle situations for fear of making them worse, so they adopt the ‘head in the sand’ approach, which does nothing but allow the problem to grow and become worse.
This is something that all businesses need to avoid otherwise the costs are enormous in many ways; monetary, personnel, reputation, etc.”
UK businesses have had a tough couple of years, what with the recession and now the unstable political arena, so creating positive working environments that embrace diversity is a must, otherwise there is the very real possibility of organisations falling foul of the law and the tribunal courts.