Cultural Diversity Training Course

 
Cultural Diversity Training Course

Diversity training is an indicator of an organization’s commitment to having a diverse workplace. Moreover, the employees should embrace training relating to the topics. In order to ensure the effectiveness of diversity training, it is crucial to strike a balance between addressing the legal issues and enhancing the cultural awareness of employees (Diller, 2014). The balance will help organizational members understand the significance of cultural diversity training, company initiatives and commitment to respect and fairness. Studies have shown that organizations that utilize diversity training have competitive advantage, which can be attributed to attracting and retaining top human resource talent; gaining benefits from the diverse workforce; and building a positive corporate image. Without a climate that embraces diversity, costly turnovers are a likely outcome because of the talent that leaves the company (Lambert & Myers, 2009). In addition, diversity programs have to be implemented within the entire organization and have buy-in in different levels to maintain diversity. The current paper focuses on the ethical and cultural considerations when designing a cultural diversity training course for all employees in a global organization. The legal and ethical implications, impact of demographic diversity, and standardization of training are explored in the project. It also outlines the recommendations for the training course implementation.

Similarly to other forms of employee development strategies, cultural training programs should take into account some legal considerations. The first legal issue relates to the failure to provide respective training. Organizations have a legal requirement to offer certain types of programs for their employees. In some sectors, including healthcare, cultural competence training is mandatory (Lambert & Myers, 2009). The negligent failure to train human resources is a legal problem that the organization should solve when designing cultural training programs. Therefore, providing cultural training may be a legal requirement depending on the industry and jurisdiction. Beyond the legal compliance, cultural training is a crucial management requirement, especially in global organizations that operate in diverse markets characterized by different cultures. Despite the fact that there is no federal training regulation applicable to all entities, certain agency rules and laws guide particular employers or industries (Laroche, 2012). Therefore, when designing the cultural training program, the organization must determine specific federal or agency regulations, especially the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), pertinent to the industry.

The second legal consideration when designing a cultural training program is employee injury in the course of the activity. Although the probability of employee injury in a cultural training program is minimal, it should not be overlooked (Laroche, 2012). Several states have enacted laws that make employers responsible for paying the salaries and financial settlements for injuries received in any activity during the work hours. Training is an employment-related activity. As a result, the organization should set up measures to prevent employee injury when they are undertaking cultural diversity training (Schneider & Smith, 2008). Moreover, the organization is liable for damages resultant from the actions of incompetently trained employees. With regard to cultural training, consider the following scenario of poorly implemented program (Diller, 2014). The outcome is that employees will not embrace cultural diversity; as a result, they may exhibit inappropriate behaviors and actions. As mentioned above, the organization is liable for their actions. Therefore, it is essential to document the training content and evaluate the results.

The third legal consideration when designing cultural training program is defamation or confidentiality breach. Certain information is confidential in any activity. The organization is entrusted to maintain confidentiality of sensitive employee information. Legal issues like identity theft and privacy laws require organizations to implement regulations aimed at securing and safeguarding sensitive personal data (Schneider & Smith, 2008). Employees should also be notified of any cases of confidential information breach. In the context of cultural training, it is important to ensure that the information stored in employee’s files is correct. In addition, the organization has a legal obligation to inform the employee of when and how the training performance information will be used.

The third legal consideration when designing a cultural training course relates to the reproduction and use of copyrighted material. Copyrights have the aim of protecting the expression of ideas. Copyrights forbid the development of a product based on the original work of the creator. The laws also forbid publishing, broadcasting, or copying the intellectual discoveries of others without their permission (Diller, 2014). Therefore, utilization of handouts, manuals, videos or other forms of copyrighted material in the training program without the owner’s permission is an illegal practice.

The exclusion of older employees, ethnic minorities, and women from the cultural training program is the fourth legal issue to consider in the strategy development. A number of laws protect the aforementioned groups from being discriminated in any employment-related decision. For instance, the Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employment judgments that evaluate national origin, gender, color, or race (Diller, 2014). Therefore, participation in the cultural training program should not discriminate the employees. Similarly, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids excluding people aged 40 years and above (Laroche, 2012). Th ADEA and the Civil Rights Act are enforced by the EEOC. The resulting implication is that the cultural training should be offered to all employees in the organization.

The fifth legal issue in cultural training involves accommodating trainees with disabilities. The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) forbids discriminating individuals based on their disability in various employment practices, including compensation, promoting, dismissing, hiring, and training (Diller, 2014). According to the ADA, disability is defined as form of mental or physical impairment that poses significant limits on engagement in at least one major life activity (Lambert & Myers, 2009). Based on the ADA, employers have an obligation to provide accommodation in their facilities for the employees with disabilities to perform their work effectively. The only exception is the situation whereby the accommodation would result in undue hardship for the organization. The cases refer to excessive costs and productivity loss of the organization’s profits.

The last legal consideration in cultural training includes ensuring that all employees receive equal treatment in the process. The company should force employees to participate in the programs they consider offensive. Moreover, the management should not disclosure discriminatory information in the course of a training session (Schneider & Smith, 2008). Also, the organization should ensure that feedback and practice opportunities are equal for all trainees. The trainers should refrain from using offensive and non-sensitive remarks and jokes. Finally, using stereotypes in cultural training programs is offensive and inappropriate.

How the Demographic Diversity of Employees Affects Discussions of Cultural Diversity

Globally, the workforce diversity is increasing, involving genders, different ages and races into employment. Therefore, the globalized business environment poses the need for employees to understand other cultures besides their own. Diversity denotes the ways, in which individuals are different or from and similar to one another (Schneider & Smith, 2008). Diversity may be defined using any characteristic, including professional background, tenure, education, age, race, and gender among others. Although the phenomenon may be defined through any personal peculiarity, demographic diversity focuses on the visible characteristics of religion, age, race, gender, sexual orientation, and physical abilities (Schneider & Smith, 2008). Managing demographic diversity is a significant challenge for many organizations as evident by the number of discrimination complaints that have been filed with the EEOC.

Discussions of the demographic diversity focus on gender diversity, earnings gap, glass ceiling, race diversity, age diversity, religious diversity, employees having disabilities, and sexual orientation among others. The gender diversity deals with the fact that men and women are often treated differently in the workplace. Earnings gap and glass ceiling present particular interest. Earnings gap is a case when women and men differ in job remuneration (Lambert & Myers, 2009). The glass ceiling is defined as men dominating executive positions in organizations. The glass ceiling issue has been attributed to gender-based stereotypes that favor men in high level job positions. On the other hand, gender discrimination can cause legal issues in employment.

The glass ceiling and earnings gap are also prevalent among employees of ethnic minorities. Moreover, age diversity can cause problems, misunderstandings, and conflicts in the workplace. There is no doubt that the population is aging, and so is the workforce. Thus, age-related stereotypes in the workplace are also common (Schneider & Smith, 2008). For instance, older employees are perceived to be less qualified when compared to young competitors. The stereotypes discourage older individuals from remaining in the company, which threatens age diversity and experience sharing. Age diversity implies that the workforce comprises of people from diverse generations, which has implications for human resources management.

Another challenge that results from the globalization patterns is religious diversity. Organizations have to ensure that they accommodate people regardless of their beliefs, expect when the religion causes hardship for the employer (Lambert & Myers, 2009). Religious discrimination may become an issue, because there might be the need to modify the employee’s schedule based on holidays and traditions. Moreover, religious diversity includes taking into account the religious practices of employees, such as their dress codes.

Disability should not be the cause of discrimination in the cultural training. Moreover, when the world becomes open to diversity, sexual orientation diversity requires education and tolerance among the employees in the organization. On the other hand, sexual orientation diversity is not legally protected. A common issue related to sexual orientation diversity is concerned with revealing of sexual identity.

The aforementioned aspects of demographic diversity have an influence on cultural diversity perceptions. Culture denotes the customs, beliefs and values in the society. There is no doubt that the workforce is becoming increasingly multicultural, which is attributed to globalization. Therefore, organizations have to understand the impact of cultures on their businesses to develop competitive advantage (Schneider & Smith, 2008). Diversity training contributes significantly to improving cultural diversity in workforce. The focus of the diversity training should enhance the cultural intelligence of employees, avoid ethnocentrism, recognize the culture dynamics, and refrain from the assumption that culture is the management problem. Cultural intelligence refers to an individual’s ability to understand how his/her cultural background influence his/her behavior. The development of cultural intelligence is a crucial strategy for international organizations (Schneider & Smith, 2008). The globalized corporations can face employees’ ethnocentrism, which refers to the belief a one culture is superior to other cultures. Ethnocentric organizations hinder their potential success through the inability to evolve. Thus, organizations should not ignore cultural differences, local customs, and norms to remain competitive in the market.

Ethical Implications That Should Be Considered

Ethics is a crucial factor in cultural training programs, since it is intrinsically transformative type of education for both learners and trainers. Cultural training programs have the main aim to promote cultural learning that entails acquiring affective cognitive and behavioral competencies to interact effectively in diverse environments (Diller, 2014). The importance of ethics in cultural training stems from the fact that the trainers should be aware of the learners’ welfare. Specifically, the teachers should possess values, skills, and knowledge that will enable to function effectively in intercultural environments. Thus, supportive and non-threatening environment should contribute to effective training process.

A number of ethical issues have been identified in cross cultural training. The first category relates to trainee issues, when employees want training that coaches perceive inappropriate given the circumstance (Lambert & Myers, 2009). The second category is trainer issues, which comprise of trainers who are ill-prepared; do not know their strengths, weaknesses, and biases; and experience burnout. The third category is concerned with training issues. The group comprises of trainers, who do not know how to conduct diversity training but take the lucrative offer; and trainers who do not know ways of establishing positive learning environments.

Another ethical issue that should be considered is the psychological risk associated with diversity training. Cultural training spans organizational and personal transition. Therefore, it is a challenging type of education that results in significant challenges for trainees (Laroche, 2012). The risk factors are the potential of failure and self-disclosure, risks associated with embarrassment, cultural marginality, cultural alienation, and the threat to a person’s cultural identity. Therefore, trainers should strive to have a balance between upholding one’s cultural identity and cultural awareness.

Standardization of Training for All Locations in a Global Organization

The standardization of training for all locations in a global organization is a feasible practice. The factor requires the organization to develop an efficient universal training program that can be transferred to various locations. In order to achieve the goal, it is essential to provide the various subsidiaries with an opportunity to offer their input with respect to the design and implementation of the diversity training program (Laroche, 2012). The method increases the chances of success at the various locations globally. The most effective media in a standardized global training is e-learning, which refers to technology-enhanced education administered through via the Internet and any virtual medium. The specific e-learning medium recommended for global training is the Internet. The organization should consider developing an online resource containing all the training materials that employees can access regardless of the location or time (Kopp, 2014). For example, employees on international assignments can access online cultural briefs. In addition, the e-learning can be blended with an interactive classroom-based instruction depending on the needs of trainees and their location.

Recommendations for Implementing the Training Course

From the discussion, a number of recommendations can be made to address the legal, cultural, and ethical considerations in cultural diversity training. They include:

  1. Setting up measures to prevent employee injury when they are undertaking cultural diversity training;
  2. Informing employees of when and how the training performance information will be used;
  3. Ensuring that all employees participate in the program without consideration of their personal characteristics;
  4. Accommodating the needs of trainees having disabilities;
  5. Refraining from forcing employees to participate in training programs they consider offensive; and
  6. Refraining from the disclosure of discriminatory information in the course of a training session;
  7. Ensuring that all copyright laws are adhered to in the course materials;
  8. Checking the required qualifications and preparedness of the instructors;
  9. Ensuring that the entire training process is documented.

Conclusion

The diverse workforce is a benefit for the organizations; therefore, organizations should maintain this diversity using programs and training courses. Diversity training is the great approach to ensuring that employees foster diversity and benefit from it. In cultural diversity training, a number of legal issues to be considered have been outlined, which include failure to provide training; employee injury in the course of the training activity; defamation or confidentiality breach; duplication and use of copyrighted material without seeking permissions; exclusion of older employees, minorities, and women; accommodating trainees having disabilities; ensuring equal treatment; forcing employees to participate in training programs they consider offensive; and disclosure of discriminatory information. Ethical issues should also be taken into consideration when designing and implementing a cultural training program, which include trainer, trainee, and training problems. Lastly, the paper has proven that the training program can be standardized and administered using e-learning.