1. Get the right people in the room It’s a common misconception that equity, inclusion, and diversity is solely an HR issue – it’s not! It’s important to actively communicate to all staff and volunteers that commitment to inclusion and diversity is central to organisational strategy, and that every individual has a role to play. Expertise from departments including Learning & Development and Organisation Development will be vital to effective cultural transformation. 2. Don’t jump the gun Assess carefully what the issue really is and what type of training may be required and crucially where you are in your journey. Inclusion and diversity training may not be the first port of call. Allocate time to finding out what you want to happen, what result you want to see, and only then go about finding the solution. A carefully curated, multi-stage training process is probably best suited because different audiences require a different training focus.
3. Be prepared to go all-in – inclusion and diversity training shouldn’t be a tick-box exercise Be careful that you’re not just getting caught up in a trend – this may only perpetuate the notion of style without substance. Do your research but go deeper than legislation. Don’t get me wrong, you want to follow the law, but beware of just investing in something you can read out of a book, like the Equality Act 2010. The focus should be on understanding individuals, not regurgitating definitions of legal jargon. Training materials work best when you utilise tangible examples, so get people thinking about real scenarios and finding solutions in real-time. Remember to keep asking yourself: what is the goal here? 4. Stand-alone EDI training won’t work, it must have a strategic context The danger of jumping in without thinking about context is that nothing really changes. Strategic context is crucial to any effective training. Training without an implementation plan often fails. Even the most profound training content runs the risk of becoming a redundant, tick-box exercise unless there is equal emphasis on actionable deliverables as on the content. For example, unconscious bias training out of context often fails, and can even harm your workforce. Within context, however, it can result in improved decision-making and better communication organisation-wide. 5. Establish Psychological Safety Psychological safety is an essential component of inclusive leadership. As we embark into the world of hybrid working, references to psychological safety get thrown around a lot, and, dare I say, they have inadvertently become somewhat of a 'buzzword'. But what is psychological safety? It is, at least in the context of the workforce, the safety level of interpersonal risk of a team dynamic, where disagreement enriches understanding, where curiosity and challenge encourage overall team performance results in innovative growth. There is a mindful undercurrent and general awareness of the mental health and wellbeing within a team or workforce, where there is some level of responsibility, not purely related to workflow or performance, but care, workforce morale, and culture matter - and it is also an important consideration in strategic and personal development. 6. Pro-actively engage your entire workforce
Active engagement with your workforce is vital. Listen to people within the organisation to find out what’s missing, then go about finding a solution to fit. Engage, support, and empower your workforce to be involved in the solution and meaningfully contribute to inclusive growth. Training should drive the message about the whole organisation's improvement. You want to encourage people to actively and positively respond. 7. Be transparent, specific, and accountable Transparency is just a fancy way of saying ‘be open and honest’. Tell your workforce and your key stakeholders your intentions and why this training is so important. Again, context is key. When anyone hears the words ‘mandatory training’ I bet they roll their eyes. Actively communicate the reasons behind why each individual needs to be part of the solution. Eyes also start to roll when there are no concrete actionable training goals. Communicate the potential cultural, unifying benefits. Accountability and commitment from directorial, board and managerial levels is vital. Your workforce will be more invested if you are too. Actively demonstrate commitment by providing the strategic rationale behind training. Everyone must commit to training and learning outcomes to have the desired impact. Accountability from all angles is required: top-down, bottom-u,p and side to side.
8. Seek external expertise
There must be a strategy to translate words into actions, to not solely pay lip service. There is confusion in the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion space to put together a list of initiatives and formulate an Equity, Diversity Inclusion committee without a true strategy in place – this can result in doing more harm than good. To embed inclusive culture, we first need to ensure we have strategic metrics goals related and aligned to your unique organisational values and business objectives. You need a dedicated leadership team with a specific skillset for strategic change and true cultural transformation. An external consultant would be recommended to provide an independent, unbiased assessment of the status quo, to then recommend and facilitate the strategic process – especially if you don’t know where to begin. I can provide this service. Please enquire here and we can work together to see true inclusive growth and cultural transformation. No matter where you are in your cultural transformation – we can work together to make it happen.