If you’ve taken the initial steps towards launching your DEI training (outlined in my previous blog), you’re ready to take a closer look at the fundamentals of a successful DEI training program.
Customize DEI Training to Fit Your Organization
The right DEI training program will fit your company like a glove. Perhaps you have a hybrid workforce and would benefit most from hybrid training. If you have employees who work flexible hours, in different time zones, and/or primarily remotely, access to on-demand online training is crucial. In certain situations, your workforce might benefit most from the immediacy and personal attention that comes from a live training, whether virtual or in-person. Or you can do a combination of online training and live training to create a truly hybrid solution. That is the beauty of a customized approach that addresses your unique culture.
However you choose to conduct your DEI training, keep in mind that your company’s culture and size, as well as how your workforce is distributed (remote, in-office, or hybrid) will have a big impact on what kind of training will be most effective.
Use Data Collection to Measure Training Success, Not Guesswork
Keep in mind that DEI training is just one important part of a DEI strategy, and your goals for training should be realistic. For example, DEI training alone cannot magically change your company policies to be more equitable. However, it can help make your team more aware of things that impact equity, such as unconscious bias. Effective DEI training will not only make employees feel connected to their company’s DEI goals, but also give them common terminology and fundamental education so that they can understand DEI topics and see how they are reflected in and out of the workplace. To be truly effective, however, your DEI training must be data-driven; it’s simply not enough to base it on what you feel the company needs, or what you’ve picked up in conversations with some of your team members. Gupta Consulting’s proprietary ECAT (ELEVATE Cultural Assessment Tool), for example, enables me to fully understand a client company’s DEI needs. Using it, I take a deep dive into a company’s current culture, collecting qualitative and quantitative data about the employees’ concerns and experiences. Acquisition of this knowledge can and should be measured—before, during, and after the training. This can be done with entry and exit surveys, as well as with testing built into the training.
Gain a Competitive Edge with Online Training
There are many reasons that online, on-demand DEI training can be advantageous to your company, some of which I’ve already mentioned above. In addition to making the training available to employees who work remotely or with flexible hours, as well as ensuring employees are more comfortable around engaging with and learning the material, online DEI training is a more cost-effective option than in-person training, which makes it accessible to a wider range of companies. For smaller businesses with tighter budgets, online DEI training is a more affordable option than traditional in-person training, giving them access to the competitive edge that DEI training provides they might not otherwise have.
Senior Leadership Must Be Active Allies
For DEI training to be successful, C-level executives must show their commitment to the process, both by intention and by action. As the tone-setters and goal-setters for the organization, CEOs have the power to make or break any DEI initiatives, including training. By participating in the training, actively engaging “on the ground” with employees at every level of the company, and by making real, demonstrable changes to things like company policies—and their own behavior—that reflect the values and initiatives laid out in the training, CEOs can be true and active allies, not just cheerleaders. This is the kind of leadership that will help inspire the positive cultural shifts that organizations seek with DEI training initiatives.
Have A DEI Expert Conduct the Training
When it comes to conducting DEI training, it is tempting to simply “let HR handle it.” But I know from experience that one of the biggest mistakes most companies make is in choosing the wrong person to lead any DEI efforts by simply reaching for whomever is convenient, such as the HR manager, or the nearest BIPOC individual . You want someone who has the right knowledge and tools to do the job effectively, and who can motivate, unite, and inspire your team. As with all other aspects of DEI initiatives, to ensure the success of your DEI training you will want to have a DEI professional to run and/or design it. If the program is designed by an expert, you then can follow the “train the trainer” path – license the training, and then certify internal trainers to deliver it.
DEI training is a crucial component of your organization’s overall strategy. Ensure the success of your training by making it customized, data-driven, available online, led by a DEI expert, and championed by your CEOs.
I’m Dr. Sangeeta Gupta, and I founded Gupta Consulting Group to help CDOs and HR leaders create and implement DEI programs that meet their organization’s unique needs.
Schedule a conversation with me today to learn more about our DEI solutions.