3 Ways to Build a More Equitable Workforce With Thoughtful Diversity Training Programs

Equity. Justice. Peace. I don’t know about you, but these are three words that have been top of mind for me in 2020. The spotlight on systemic racism and events that unfolded this year prompted the Lessonly team team to stop and evaluate how we could use our position of privilege as a business to take meaningful, thoughtful action against social injustice and amplify the voices of black, brown, and indigenous communities (BIPOC). 

We’re committed to building a more equitable future in Indianapolis and beyond with three new initiatives. You can learn more about them at lessonly.com/equity, but at the highest level here’s what’s on the docket:

  1. Lessonly for Good – We’ll provide free Lessonly licenses for qualifying charitable organizations and non-profit teams if our product can amplify their impact in helping marginalized communities.
  2. Brighter Indy – In 2021, we’re linking arms with four organizations that support Indianapolis kids (with preference for orgs addressing racial inequity) and giving $10,000 grants to each of them to elevate their impact and mission. 
  3. Anti-Racism 101 Content – This is the one we’ll spend our time on for the rest of this blog post. We’re giving Lessonly customers who want anti-racism training access to a premium 10-lesson learning path authored by Dr. Janice Gassam with all proceeds benefiting The Black Teacher Project. Simply shoot your Account Manager a note if you’re interested.

(Also, this is a shameless plug for the finale episode of the Practice First podcast because a few of my teammates actually had the chance to interview Dr. Janice Gassam live. They talk about how we can all work together to dismantle racism and become better advocates for the BIPOC community. She is remarkable, and it’s more than worth a listen.)

The Value of Diversity Training in the Workplace

Now, if you’re asking yourself, “What’s the value of diversity and inclusion training in the workplace?” you’ve come to the right place. The impact diversity and inclusion training courses has on an organization is incredible—but only if they’re built and deployed correctly. Below are three suggestions for making diversity training engaging, effective, and informative for all.

1. Assess where your team is right now.

In our Better Work Training Method, the first step to building effective training is to Assess your current efforts. So, assess where your company’s diversity training methods stand and evaluate your team’s attitude and emotions. Do they love your current diversity and inclusion training topics? Or, do they dread diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) assignments? Are you sourcing diversity topic ideas from the right sources and staying up-to-date with what’s happening in the world? What free diversity and inclusion training materials are available, and are they what your teammates need? These are questions worth asking people across all departments, and I’d encourage you to consider looping in DEI committees and resource groups as you explore what employees are thinking and feeling.

2. Find the right trainers.

Subject matter experts are key when it comes to producing any meaningful content, but it’s especially true when it comes to diversity training. Seek financial investment from your leadership team and identify together, based on the data you assess and collect, the types of diversity training in the workplace that would best suit your workforce. And then, hire a consultant. Bring in a guest speaker. Show a TED talk. There’s no set-in-stone diversity and inclusion training outline, so listen to your teammates and then find the right SMEs to bolster diversity, equity, and inclusion at your organization.

3. Follow up education with action.

It’s valuable to read articles, take lessons, watch webinars, and listen to podcasts with DEI themes and leaders. But for true impact, follow up your education with action. For your organization, it may look like revisiting your referral hiring process. Or, maybe it’s donating to local organizations doing great things to combat racial inequity. Maybe it’s volunteering, mentoring, or tutoring. If you’re responsible for DEI training, be sure to provide practical ways for employees to get involved both in and outside of work.

Final Thoughts

I once heard this metaphor: If diversity is like inviting a new kid to sit at your table when you’re in elementary school, inclusion is sharing your food and building a friendship. And belonging, which is the step after inclusion, is when that friendship is strong and secure enough to invite other people to join in, too. This metaphor, while imperfect, has implications that I’d love to see across all of our workplaces. Diversity training programs in the workplace are by no means the sole solution to the racial inequity, but they’re a great start. It’s about awareness and education, and without educated people, no action will ever happen.

If you’re a Lessonly customer, and you’re looking for a place to start, feel free to contact your Account Manager or our Support team, and we’d love to get our Anti-Racism 101 training in your account. For everyone else, we’d love to help you, too. Feel free to email us at hello@lessonly.com to get more information about our training software.

 

Lessonly is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 💛

To learn more about our commitment to equity, visit lessonly.com/equity, and to discover why more than 1,000 business teams across the globe learn, practice, and do Better Work with us, click any of the tiles below. Or, try a Lessonly lesson for free right here!

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