Given the demographic diversity of the UK’s population, representations of diversity in the UK workforce is significantly lacking. Driving diversity in the workplace is influenced by a number of factors. Leveraging a well-planned diversity and inclusion (D&I)-focused L&D function, however, may be the tool that you need in order to create a fundamental change in how your organisation endeavours to increase diversity.
According to the 2019 L&D report, companies who saw growth over the last year are 72 percent more likely to have high diversity than companies that didn’t see growth. Furthermore, the 2017 McGregor-Smith Review revealed that if diverse talent was fully utilised in the UK, the economy could receive a £24 billion boost (approximately 1.3% of the UK’s entire GDP). More diverse workplaces are not only better reflections of existing heterogeneity of the working population, they’re better at producing growth-oriented results.
The times are constantly changing, and keeping your organisational culture at par with the capricious business trends of the contemporary marketplace is an important aspect of maintaining your business’ competitive advantage. Embrace the change, and learn how, with a few simple steps, you can build an effective D&I training strategy that will help your workplace culture to embrace the idea of transforming diversity throughout your organisation.
A comprehensive training strategy for change
Creating a training strategy to shift your workplace culture’s approach to increasing diversity may bring about a flurry of different ideas and perspectives as to which strategy is the best strategy to really bring about transformation.
If you’re leading the change charge, understanding some change management basics like: the importance of leveraging your current workplace culture as a springboard for change, getting support across organisational hierarchies, and using training and development as a support mechanism are all important tools in ensuring your initiative is a successful one.
Considering the report’s finding that 48% of all employees go without any kind of D&I training whatsoever, taking the time to mould a comprehensive D&I training strategy aligned with the overall goals of influencers within your organisation is the best way to maximise your potential success as a change-maker. With support from the upper echelons of management trickling downwards, all levels of the company will be entering the training room with an open mind; and the actual learning content will be harmonious with both trainee’s and upper management’s expectations. By avoiding a piecemeal training strategy, implementation can become transformation.
Bespoke D&I training is more effective
Communicating core company goals effectively to your employees plays a central role in implementing any kind of transformation. As a project or change manager tasked with shifting your workplace culture, making your management and communication styles as bespoke as possible is the best way to begin raising awareness around diversity issues; and to see your endeavour succeed.
Diversity is an especially complex issue, and will mean and signify different things to different employees. This is often dependent on their life experiences and previous exposure to diversity in and out of the workplace. Use and combine management perspectives like Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Agile, and Change Management in forming and delivering your training offerings in order to provide a customised learning experience tailored to individual employees’ needs.
The overall goal of increasing diversity can always be addressed, but by approaching your D&I training strategy with the multitudes of learning styles and preferences common to every workplace in mind, you’ll increase your chances of driving your core message home. Most importantly, you’ll be more likely to see your desired change come to fruition.
Take advantage of technological tools
The report found that companies with revenue growth are more than twice as likely to use innovative technologies such as game-based learning and augmented reality in their L&D offering.
Harnessing the power of technology has simultaneously become somewhat of a truism and a well-worn phrase over the last decade. But clichés are clichés for a reason. In the L&D industry, powerful new technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) have become commonplace in D&I training around the world.
Without clearly planning out your D&I training strategy, you run the risk of your training actually confirming trainees’ conscious and unconscious biases instead of repudiating them, lowering the possibility for transformation by a significant margin. Communicating for results requires a careful balance of both empathy and assertiveness, and technologies like VR can help you strike that balance in the training environment.
VR offers trainees the opportunity to learn experientially, living in other people’s shoes for a short period to experience the marginalisation that under-represented populations may experience in the recruitment process or in the workplace environment. By using technology to teach empathy, trainees will get as close as possible to understanding the importance of increasing diversity in the workplace first-hand.
D&I is an emotionally charged, complex training area that challenges organisations across industries. Endeavouring to increase diversity in your organisation is a significant change, but armed with a well-planned L&D strategy you’ll certainly move your workplace culture in the right direction. Taking an organisational and vertical approach to increasing diversity, personalising your training strategy to maximize your message, and harnessing the power of innovative technological tools are three straightforward training strategies that can transmute increased diversity in the workplace from a pipe dream into a reality.
About The Author:
Max Maccarone is a content editor for the higher education portal educations.com and professional development search engine findcourses.co.uk. Originally from Canada, Max relocated to Stockholm after graduating from York University in Toronto. An avid traveller, Max is dedicated to creating diverse and engaging learning and development content for a wide-range of publications.