Three Outcomes Diversity Training in the Workplace Should Drive
In recent years, organizations across the globe have been increasingly investing in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training, with the goal of fostering more inclusive and engaged workforces. How can they make that training effective? Our team at Paradigm has designed and implemented DEI training for hundreds of thousands of learners across industries and our experts have published academic research on DEI education. We’ve found that the most impactful DEI education ultimately drives three distinct outcomes:
- Raising Awareness
- Driving Motivation
- Enabling Behavior Change
Here’s some guidance on how organizations can design and implement DEI learning with those three outcomes in mind.
Raising Awareness of DEI
Building awareness around DEI topics first requires understanding learners’ baseline knowledge of and attitudes towards DEI. Within a single workplace, there are bound to be people at different points in their DEI journeys: people who have long been DEI champions, people who have never heard the acronym before, and people everywhere in between. Understanding their audience’s baseline helps identify where organizations should start on their DEI journey and how to set goals based on their employees’ growth.
Additionally, it’s important to understand the context in which learning is happening: the cultural norms within the organization itself, or within the geographical location in which people live and work. Knowing this context allows us as educators to shape content that feels most relevant to learners and meets them where they’re at.
Lastly, because people are compelled by different types of information, it’s important to use data, research, and statistics, as well as personal anecdotes, to educate employees about DEI topics. This helps you appeal to both the head and the heart.
Motivating Actions for Better Workplace Inclusivity
Next, training should focus on motivating learners to act, translating awareness into application. Motivation to act means balancing two types of discomfort: that which comes from potential defensiveness in having DEI conversations, and that which comes from realizing that one’s actions or inaction are contributing to inequity. Training should encourage people to lean into discomfort rather than shutting it down. Ultimately, we want people to believe that positive change can and should happen and that they can directly contribute to it.
In our work at Paradigm, we find that these approaches have resulted in increased learner motivation – for example, our pre- and post-training surveys have shown a 10% increase in agreement with the statement “I feel personally motivated to do my part to foster an inclusive culture.”
Enabling Behavior Change
Finally, motivation to act needs to also be accompanied by knowing how to act. The third outcome of effective DEI training is therefore enabling behavior change. Again, it’s important to have context on the types of decisions and interactions learners face day-to-day in their work. Strategies introduced in training can then feel relevant and within the learners’ sphere of influence.
Training should also allow learners to have the space and opportunity to plan how they implement new skills and behaviors by reflecting on how to respond to relevant workplace scenarios, brainstorming strategies as an individual or team, or by practicing specific skills (e.g., inviting different voices in discussion). According to our pre- vs. post-training surveys, across our Paradigm trainings we see that understanding of strategies to promote workplace inclusion increase by 106%.
Professional DEI Training Resources
Designing our trainings at Paradigm to drive these outcomes has proven successful. Learners understand how to use specific strategies, feel motivated to make a change, and commit to action, and clients attribute increases in the diversity of their workforces directly to these training strategies. To learn more about driving these outcomes in your organization, check out our full report in our whitepaper The Keys to Effective Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Education.
December 9, 2022