Is Your Diversity & Inclusion Training Working?

Diversity and inclusion training best practices and case studies

There is a lot of uncertainty if traditional diversity inclusion programs are really working.  According to HBR, “we found very little evidence that diversity training affected the behavior of men or white employees overall—the two groups who typically hold the most power in organizations and are often the primary targets of these (diversity training) interventions.”  This is problematic because the white male majority group has the largest impact on driving diversity.

What to drive positive change through diversity and inclusion training?

Consider These Best Practices

Measure success.  Nearly all of the Fortune 500 companies do diversity training, yet few measure the success of it.  As with any business initiative, measuring success is critical.  The first question to think about is how will measure the success of this training (surveys, performance, employee diversity data)? When we think about diversity, equity, and inclusion what do we mean?  What perceptions need to shift for us to know that our training is working?  

If you don’t know how you’re measuring success, that’s a great place to start.

Be intentional.  Gone are the days of one-and-done check the box training. That kind of diversity and inclusion training never really worked.  And it absolutely won’t work in a virtual work environment with racial justice conversations regularly occurring.

Be consistent. This means setting a roadmap that is very clear it has a regular set of activities dedicated to drive diversity and inclusion. Just like any other business imperative, diversity and inclusion should be embedded in your culture and consistently messaged over time from every layer of the organization. Consider going beyond unconscious bias and diversity awareness training with tangible, deep dives into subject matter on how to have candid conversations about diversity or how to be an ally for others on diversity.

Communicate the importance.  This means that senior leadership needs to regularly communicate the importance of diversity and inclusion over time. Diversity and inclusion is a journey, not a destination. There is no organization that feels like it has arrived at the end of this journey.  If they did say that, it would be unbelievable.  The interesting part of diversity work is that it never ends.  That’s both exciting and challenging.  It means we get to learn new things, but it also means we have to be open to continuous learning.  The diversity dictionary is always evolving. 

Learn from These Case Studies

I have a client that recently went through a diversity and inclusion strategy series with me.  Through our work together, we defined what diversity and inclusion meant to them, why it mattered to them, and how they were going to approach a road map of intentional, consistent touch points with employees.  This included ideas like employee development training, a DEI dashboard, interview bias training for hiring managers, and diversifying their recruiting sources. Through our partnership, we were able to create a communication plan with monthly touch points to employees through videos and a variety of tangible, salient actionable talking points for employees to believe that they were truly committed to the hard work required to drive continuous diversity and inclusion.  As a result, they were able to shift perceptions inside the organization about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  They measured success with a pre and post assessment recognizing a 20% increase in perceptions of key dimensions of diversity in just one year of consistent activity..

Another client I work with began their diversity and inclusion journey a few years ago.  By facilitating listening sessions, we uncovered key opportunities to grow the employee resource groups as well as drive positive change through intentional engagements.  They went beyond unconscious bias to much more complex subjects about privilege and allyship in the workplace.  Specifically, they had an initiative to increase participation of the middle manager who was primarily white male.  As a result, their senior leadership team is now gender-balanced and they have two people of color on the SLT.  That’s tremendous progress in a short period of time.  Diversity doesn’t happen by accident.  It happens with true intention and consistency going to top down.

Next Pivot Point Diversity Training

Want to know more?  We have intentional, consistent diversity and inclusion training programs available for your organization, no matter what size or industry.  Check out our diversity training page to learn more.

If you liked this post, check out my Next Pivot Point podcast.  We have over 100 interviews with diversity, equity, and inclusion leaders all over the world.  Be an ally and leave a review on Spotify – it helps other allies find it.