What is Effective DEI Training & Why is it Essential?

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Diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, training has become an essential part of employers' never ending battle to retain top talent and avoid losing them to the front line of The Great Resignation.

As organizational leaders have started to listen and be more responsive to the factors employees consider most important in a job, equal opportunity and inclusion are two aspects in high demand.

That is where effective DEI-focused training programs are making a difference. When done well, DEI training can benefit employers by helping workers feel confident in their ability to respect, appreciate, and understand co-worker differences while still doing their jobs effectively.

By teaching workers to advocate for equity, recognize subtle acts of harm in the workplace, and interrupt bias, organizations find they can affect profound change while increasing job satisfaction and retention.

In this episode of Insider Training, the Learning Queen, Veronica Reed, uses her background as a Learning Experience (LX) Designer and Trainer to explain why DEI Training has become an essential need in today's workplace. She also examines five critical ingredients for DEI training to really be effective.

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Speaker: Veronica Reed, The Learning Queen

First, you want to talk about why is DEI training essential? Why should you care about it? Why does it even need to be in my organization?

So first, it's going to raise awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This training enables your employees to become more comfortable with DEI concepts.

It helps them understand what it is and why we want them to really care about it.

When employees are more familiar with DEI concepts, they can begin to identify how these concepts can show up in real-world situations. Also, how they show up within the workplace.

You want your employees to be encouraged to understand different perspectives that people bring and the comfort levels of others. We want them to think about how their actions could unintentionally cause offense to others.

We also want them to start thinking about, "How can my actions impact others?"

"How can I create a good work environment so that people don't feel like they are being discriminated against?"

Training can also help prevent discrimination and harassment in the workplace. You don't want to be known as the workplace that has all the discrimination and harassment claims — are kind of known as the workplace that people don't want to work there because there's just a lack of overall inclusivity.

Successful diversity training will get your employees into the habit of thinking about inclusion and how they can take actions that make the workplace more inclusive for everyone.

We want people to start thinking about, "How can I make sure that my co-workers — how can I make sure that the team that I work on feels included within our organization?"

"How can I make sure that everyone feels like they're a part of making this organization successful?"

There's been so much research out there that says that diverse teams have a distinct advantage when it comes to decision making; because it helps you bring a broader perspective on the problem or opportunities that your organization has.

You don't want a whole bunch of people that think just like you. We want to be able to bring in diverse perspectives, but we also want people to feel included. We want them to feel like they can bring these diverse perspectives to work.

Lastly, diverse teams can identify more options for problem-solving, reducing biases, and increasing accountability. This is helpful because that can help you drive that collaboration and innovation in the workplace.

As we know, collaboration and innovation are very important in our work as everything is constantly changing.

5 Keys to Ensuring Effective DEI Training

What is effective diversity, equity, and inclusion training? How do we make sure that once we implement this or as we're thinking about creating that plan...how do we make sure it's effective?

Of course, the most important is you have to get support from all levels of your organization. Before you begin any serious diversity training effort, you need to make sure you have support from top management or your senior leadership.

We want them to be able to make sure they're holding employees accountable. Make sure they're actually taking those training. Make sure they're really involved and really show employees that "I'm all in." Because we understand in most cases that leadership really does drive the culture and drives a lot of the organization.

And let's just be really honest, upper management has the money. They have the financial resources that you need to put these plans into place.

As you're looking for those resources, it takes money to make that happen. Once you have your senior leadership involved and all in, they will be a little bit more willing to add you into the budget; make sure you have those financial resources that you need.

But, this is not an effort that is only for senior leadership. Everyone has to play a part; everyone has to be involved in this initiative to make sure it's successful.

This is a group effort from everybody within the organization. You want to also be clear about your training goals. I don't know about you, but I don't like to take training where I don't understand what I'm supposed to learn from it.

Really understanding the goals of your organization in regards to what you want to do with diversity, equity, and inclusion is essential. We can also communicate that well through the training, so all employees understand, "this is what we need to learn from this training." And then, "what we need to do after we take that training."

Different people in workplaces require different types of training and materials. Make sure when you're doing that research.

Whether you decide to create the training in-house or if you decide to utilize the many resources available, the many training resources that are out there.

Make sure it makes sense for your organization. Make sure you truly understand what your organization needs. Make sure it's adaptable and that it makes sense.

DEI training is long term so this is not a one-and-done solution. You can't just put out one training, we follow up, and that's it. It has to stay at the forefront. So, as you're thinking about that plan, think about the communication that goes along with that.

How do we keep this at the forefront of everyone's mind? How do we make sure that it's a constant theme within our organization so that people don't feel like: "Oh, I just took this training, and that's all there is to it."

We need to make sure it's ingrained within the organization. Then obviously, the most important thing with any training or any program or initiative that we put within the organization needs to be constantly evaluated.

Veronica Reed

Veronica Reed

Veronica Reed, AKA The Learning Queen has a passion for helping organizations create meaningful diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives that make a real difference. Veronica uses her background as a Learning Experience Designer and Trainer to make sure learners understand the "why" behind the "what" by developing learner experiences that rouse the mind, stir powerful emotions, and leave a lasting impression.
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