Are you getting a good return on your investment from your diversity and inclusion training program? Are the goals that you set forth making a difference? Here are four questions that you and your team should ask before launching or when developing your diversity and inclusion strategy.
Q1: What is your diversity and inclusion story?
Glen’s Answer: Maybe another way to frame this is why is your organization passionate about diversity & inclusion and how have key leaders experienced it in their own life/work? It is vital that initiatives have a champion in your organizations. Change champions are individuals within an organization that volunteer or are selected to facilitate change. The champion is an active member within the change management project during all of its stages. If you want to change the culture, leadership must embrace the change and change needs to happen at every level.
Q2: How do I know that your diversity training was/is effective?
Glen’s Answer: In general, from a profit-making standpoint, most organizations want to reach their organizational goals with less stress and in the most efficient manner possible. The bosses want to know if they are getting their money’s worth? How can we measure our diversity training process?
Studies show that practicing intercultural competence gives you the following benefits:
- Access to a larger talent pool and better retention of acquired talent.
- Access to untapped markets.
- More focus on the mission and less focus on internal conflicts or cleaning up media/marketing faux pas
- Enhanced creativity that is spurred by a diversity of thought.
All of the above can be measured, and you can use a variety of tools to measure the overall intercultural competency of organizations and individuals. Know where you are starting from and have clear, measurable goals. Both you and your employees need to know how success is defined.
Q3: After we implement our strategy, will our organization be less _______ (sexist, racist, ableist, homophobic, etc.?)
Glen’s Answer: It depends. You will have increased awareness, a baseline assessment, and practical tools to help you reach your organizational goals. However, participation in diversity and inclusion training does not always change attitudes. It can help organizations design systems and procedures that define organizational culture and creates awareness that will eventually lead to changes in attitudes and behaviors. Also, I would ask you as an organization, “What are your diversity and inclusion goals, and what goals are you committed to reaching?” A diversity and inclusion strategy is not meant to fix people, but it can impact organizational culture and expectations. Check out this Forbes article on Signs of a Toxic Corporate Culture.
Q4: Does diversity and inclusion training work?
Glen’s Answer: It depends on your commitment as an organization and the trainer you hire. Here are my tips to help you maximize your return on investment.
- Go for short, regular training versus one and done training. Give people time to digest the information, to practice, and reflect. People will have questions after the training and after they have practiced what they have learned in real-world scenarios.
- Leadership must be committed. The employee must believe that leaders are engaged and that the work is essential. If leadership does not make it a priority, then the other staff won’t either.
- Know your #DiversityGoals. Set clear organizational goals that line up with the training objectives. People will reach for success if they know the target. They need to understand that the time they spend in training will have a direct impact on their work. Many organizations request diversity and inclusion training, but they are just checking a box. Your #DiversityGoals must be tied to your organizational mission.
- Focus on awareness and skills. I emphasize intercultural competence in my training programs because participants become more aware of their own and others’ cultural values and biases to understand the need for diversity and inclusion. After building awareness, the next step is to have participants monitor and practice their actions in using appropriate responses in interactions with diverse groups of people to build their skills.
- Keep the training fun and inviting. Studies have shown that mandatory training is less effective than voluntary training for changing behavior. While employers want to ensure everyone is compliant, the training should be designed in a way that is engaging and inviting. One easy solution is to do a mix of mandatory and voluntary training that engages employees in a variety of ways.
If you don’t know where to start, connect with an expert. There are many diversity and inclusion trainers out there. We all have our strengths and we all have specific areas that we are passionate about. I am happy to share a free download with this post that includes perspectives from four other diversity and inclusion trainers and yours truly.
Here are links to episodes of the Julie Ann Sullivan podcasts where five diversity and inclusion trainers, including myself, were interviewed to share our perspectives:
- Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace with Glen Guyton
- Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace with Jessica Pettitt
- Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace with Corey Kupfer
- Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace with Tracy Brown
- Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace with Tony Chatman
Are You Looking for a Diversity & Inclusion Trainer?
I have spent years advocating for change for underrepresented groups including women and younger workers at the places I have worked.
I have a deal great of experience designing change programs for institutions struggling to find their identity in the midst of a changing demographic.
I was the first African-American to lead MC USA. I was one of a handful of African-Americans selected to attend the United States Air Force Academy from my area. I understand what it means to operate as a minority in both the government, the non-profit and the for-profit world. Also, I have provided training for and participated in forums for leaders from across the globe. My experience in diversity and inclusion training is not only from the USA perspective but includes a practical understanding of how to effectively communicate across cultures.
Contact Glen today to set up a discovery call. He will help determine what Diversity & Training option would be best for your organization.