According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), almost all of the employers (97%) surveyed provided some form of sexual harassment training to their employees. Additionally, a survey by the National Women’s Law Center found that nearly two-thirds of workers (64%) say their employer has provided some kind of training on gender inclusion.
This is great news! But is it making a difference?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the agency responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. According to the EEOC, in 2020, sex-based discrimination charges made up about 30% of the total charges filed with the agency.
The number of sexual harassment charges and corresponding payouts has gotten worse, not better. The slight drop in numbers in FY2020 and FY2021 is likely due to remote work.
Additionally, LGBTQ+ discrimination charges are rising rapidly. And the payouts have drastically increased in amount over the past five years.
This data indicates that the current approach to discrimination training is not effective at solving the problem inherent in every workplace. Companies need a new training approach that changes behaviors.
How VR training breaks through discrimination to change behaviors
Traditional training methods such as with an instructor in a classroom or using video training are severely limited in providing a way for employees to practice gender inclusion. The material may explain that discrimination is illegal, but until a person is put into a real-life situation there is no way of knowing how they will behave.
Virtual reality (VR) training goes a level above other training methods by providing employees a safe environment where they can work through discriminatory content and practice inclusion in a judgment-free way. In VR, an immersive, life-like experience can be created where employees can engage in difficult conversations with people who are different from them.
A PwC comparison study of using VR for soft skills training demonstrated that those that learned using VR were four times more focused and could be trained four times faster. Perhaps most important for gender inclusion training is that the study showed that those using VR felt almost four times more emotionally connected to the content and almost three times more confident to apply the skills they learned. Basically, the study proved that VR is a powerful training method for teaching critical leadership, communication and interpersonal skills.
VR Gender Inclusion training is available now
VR Gender Inclusion content is gaining in popularity as companies seek new ways to address this highly-charged training topic. The training content includes many scenarios where employees can observe discrimination and engage in conversations to remediate. The unique and powerful feature of this particular training is that the interactions in VR can be replayed where the employee can see their own body language and their words during the interaction to identify potential issues they need to work on.
This Gender Inclusion VR training course enables employees to learn to identify offensive behaviors that may stem from gender discrimination. This can be subtle behaviors such as body language and interruptions, to obvert behaviors such as sexist stereotypes, aggressiveness, and marginalization. The training also provides guidance for practicing ways to challenge these behaviors in themselves and in their peers in the workplace. After practice communications, the training suggests ways to improve so employees can continue to develop more inclusive behaviors. This is the only training that encourages real change and growth in employees.
Upgrading sexual harassment and discrimination training to VR pays off
As the data from the EEOC illustrated, the costs of not properly addressing sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace are significant and increasing. And the settlement monetary figures don’t include the high costs of legal fees to deal with complaints. Companies looking to avoid expensive discrimination accusations need to upgrade their training.
Bringing in VR for gender inclusion training will lower incidents and help protect companies from these costs. But this isn’t the only benefit. There are many short and long term reasons to invest in gender inclusion.
Benefits to using VR for Gender Inclusion training
- Improves morale – When employees feel safe and respected in the workplace, they are more likely to be engaged, have better mental health, and be more positive.
- Drives productivity – When morale is high, so is productivity. Employees call off from work less and do more during their shift.
- Increases diversity – Companies that promote a culture of respect and inclusion are more likely to attract and retain a diverse workforce.
- Attracts talent – The most talented and productive employees are attracted to companies that have diversity and inclusion. This also makes hiring cycles faster and less expensive.
- Enhances reputation – Companies with a reputation for treating employees fairly and respectfully are more likely to attract customers and business partners.
- Reduces risk – Addressing sexual harassment to reduce these problems as well as complying with regulations avoids legal penalties and costly lawsuits.
Gender discrimination isn’t going away. Companies need to address this issue with renewed effort. Introducing VR into employee training is a simple way to make a big step toward true gender inclusion.
Wondering how to get started with VR training?
For learning and development leaders looking to help their company’s thrive, VR training is the answer. VR content naturally compliments existing training content to provide employees with ways to apply and practice skills needed to be successful.
Want more evidence for leadership on the cost cutting benefits of VR training? Read whitepaper here!
In our previous whitepaper we covered how to bring VR into your training program, get the step-by-step guide here!