How a March 2020 Llama Found Community and Belonging with Lessonly’s Diversity Training

It was March 2020, and I was simply elated to join the Lessonly team. As a Hoosier living in Indianapolis, I was familiar with the team’s culture and couldn’t wait to experience it for myself. I had heard about the Better Work method, yoga classes, dog-friendly environment, and of course, golden llamas. Once I started, I began to learn so much more about Lessonly’s values and programs offered. 

A first week surprise

A group I didn’t know existed until my first week was Diversity and Inclusion (D&I). I had never been a part of a diversity and inclusion program in the workplace. I had only ever taken an online diversity training course, and sadly, the videos just didn’t resonate with me. 

Prior to joining Lessonly, I didn’t know what true diversity training could be like at work. And I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous and did not go at first. I was then personally invited by a teammate and have been going ever since. Participating in this group has opened my eyes in so many ways, brought me closer to my teammates, and made me a better person. This, in turn, has made me a stronger teammate and employee at Lessonly. 

Justice and equity matter

Lessonly then launched an Anti-Racism 101 training series in October on our platform. This 10-lesson learning path was not like anything I had taken. Why? Because it had history, information, and stats around systemic racism’s impact on people, and also videos of individuals sharing personal stories. Diversity and inclusion training in the past had been led by actors. While the situations depicted were based in reality, the videos to me always just felt fake and insincere. The message was important, but lost in the presentation. It felt more like a check on the to-do list instead of a call to action for change. 

And here’s the bottom line: No one is going to learn, grow, or change without the invitation to practice what they’ve learned with real people.

Diversity training on YOUR team

Companies should invest and promote diversity and inclusion training in the workplace because programs like this can make your team’s collaboration stronger, communication better, and understanding of customers more comprehensive.

If your organization is one that has never created or evaluated a diversity and inclusion training course(s), you are in the same boat I was in several months ago. The start can feel overwhelming and bring uncertainty, and that’s normal and okay! Start by creating a diversity training program outline. This allows you to start building the foundation including; frequency, topics, budget, and diversity training methods. If you need a place to start, consider using Lessonly’s free training plan template.

Diversity is about people

While uncomfortable at times, I am very grateful and enjoy the weekly D&I group. Yes, you just read weekly. Lessonly’s D&I sessions are held by employees weekly for an hour. Each week a different topic is covered, and each session may start with a video, a slide deck presentation from a colleague, a reading, or just discussions of current events. 

If you’re building a new program, weekly may be too often in the beginning. I will say though that one and done is just not enough and doesn’t allow for the same impact. Diversity training programs should be offered regularly in the workplace. There are so many different topics to cover that shouldn’t be squashed into one quarterly, 45-minute session. Why? Because diversity is about people and your company is made up of people. When everyone feels heard, seen, understood, and valued, teams work harder and better. This then makes for better workplaces and stronger companies.

There are so many examples of diversity training topics to cover one topic every month if you’re looking for inspiration.

  • Equality
  • Anti-Racism
  • Gender Identities
  • Anti-Semitism
  • Religion
  • Stereotypes
  • Ageism
  • Gender
  • Disabilities
  • Unconscious Bias

Budget can be a barrier no matter the size of the organization. There are items available out there that are offered for little to no cost. Look for items like:

  • Free cultural diversity powerpoint presentation
  • Ted Talks
  • Free diversity and inclusion webinars
  • Museum webinars
  • Free diversity training PDFs
  • Documentaries
  • Free diversity and inclusion training materials

Blend formal and informal learning

I shared earlier how Lessonly offers an Anti-Racism training path and the space for employees to come together weekly. I appreciate having the combination of both formal, organized lessons and the informal conversations on numerous topics. The formal lessons display the importance of the topic to the organization, which is valuable in building a community. Opening up space for informal learning and conversation allows for individuals to practice talking about what they’re learning. This combo format can be very budget-friendly for an organization.

Final thoughts

Building a great D&I program within a workplace provides its own challenges. One recommendation I have is to ask if there are any individuals who have an interest in this area, and if they would want to work with you and/or your team to help promote, lead, and develop topics. A program does not need to be perfect, it just needs to be started. Everyone can learn and grow together while building a strong program. 

 

Lessonly is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion 💛

To learn more about our commitment to equity and diversity training, 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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