Launching a DEI training program is an important and necessary step, but it can be a daunting one. When you’re ready to get started, there are three things to keep in mind.
Understand Your Organization’s Unique DEI Needs
Every organization and work environment is different. To ensure effective DEI training, you must understand your company’s unique culture so that you can successfully address diversity, equity, and inclusion. First, determine what you would like to accomplish—what are your goals? For example, if you are simply trying to be proactive and are not responding to any specific incidents or issues in your company, a more foundational DEI education may be a good place to start. But if you are pursuing DEI training because there are specific issues that have been brought to light in your company, such as gender hiring bias, you will want to include more targeted information about those issues.
Be Strategic About Implementing DEI Training
In the same way that you are tactical about other aspects of your business, to get the maximum benefit from DEI training, you must be strategic in how you implement it to make sure you are not leaving out important elements. Understanding your company’s culture enables you to address issues that you may not be aware of. As part of the research to create your DEI strategy and implementation plan, a careful review of your company’s policies, procedures, and workplace environment for any areas of improvement should take place. This type of cultural assessment or audit requires a trained DEI professional who can be objective about your organization.
A professional DEI consultant, for example, will be able to do an objective cultural assessment of your organization. In their review, they will do things such as conduct anonymous surveys, focus groups and interviews with your employees. Whether DEI training is recommended will depend on the results of this cultural assessment. If a DEI training program is needed, your DEI expert will use the data they have gathered to determine what kind of program will be the best fit for your employees. Having a neutral third party conduct this research is more likely to yield accurate, honest results, especially in smaller companies or departments where participants might be concerned about identifying factors.
Overcome Remote/Hybrid Training Challenges
The uncertainty surrounding the current return-to-office trend that is taking place is impacting the handling of DEI training. Many companies are making a permanent switch to a hybrid workplace—partially remote and partially in-office—but few have fully implemented these changes or have a plan in place for what they will look like. This can make it a challenge to start your DEI training, especially if some or even all of your employees are working from home and/or have flexible schedules that don’t necessarily line up. For this reason, online, on-demand DEI training is the best way to enable your employees to participate in DEI training. It eliminates the need to coordinate employee schedules or navigate tricky new safety regulations around indoor gatherings.
It is important, however, that your online training be interactive, with reflection questions and knowledge checks. Interactive training ensures that an employee cannot have it running in the background while they focus on other things. And built-in testing ensures successful knowledge transfer. For these reasons, I suggest implementing online DEI training designed to provide flexibility and scalability to meet your company’s DEI needs, such as my ELEVATE DEI program. ELEVATE is designed to give your employees both the knowledge and the tools to drive fundamental behavioral change.
Implementing DEI training for your organization doesn’t have to be an intimidating process. So long as you make the right considerations, evaluate strategically, and use the appropriate tools, you’re well on your way to launching an effective DEI training program.
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.