Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (“DEI“) are more than just buzzwords. A full understanding of DEI helps us better implement DEI training in the workplace. It’s about understanding the unconscious biases that live within all of us. If left unchecked, it morphs into toxic behaviors that show up in various ways like microaggressions, exclusion, and disrespect. Likewise, understanding and applying the DEI concept, “cultural competence” in the workplace will pay dividends to all your colleagues. In short – DEI is rooted in empathy for the perspectives and experiences of others previously not considered in most business environments.
Companies are beginning to embrace the change of incorporating DEI in their values and cultural behaviors. Through diversity, equity, and inclusion training, they awaken employee perspectives and empathy for other people’s struggles. The result is a stronger bond between employees and a more vibrant, welcoming workplace culture. Yet, most DEI training sessions last an afternoon to a few days, seen as a brilliant way to begin the company’s DEI efforts. But what’s important are your post-training DEI actions/commitments. After all, DEI is about lasting change, not a temporary interest.
Below I’ll share some essential ideas for post-training DEI actions/commitments all companies can use to further their efforts.
DEI Implementation – Put your lessons into practice
You know what a microaggression is – fantastic! But, what are you going to do about it when you see it? Recognizing microaggressions is only one part of the solution; handling them is the other. Post-training DEI action means putting your lessons into practice.
It’s about creating a company culture where acknowledging and tackling unconscious bias and microaggressions is a part of everyday life. But, of course, you don’t want to make people fearful they’ve done something wrong. Rather, you want your colleagues to work together to be better; it is not about canceling someone’s career.
Celebrate your diversity
Bigger companies often have more diversity than they realize. Even smaller companies can have people from all walks of life. If you are still talking about skin tones and equating it to diversity, you are 50 years late to the discussion.
Make one of your post-training DEI commitments to celebrate your full range of values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, and behaviors. Celebrating diversity means engaging with different voices and perspectives. It’s a chance to broaden your horizon. But also, to understand how our social and cultural circumstances shape our views. In fact, you’ll find diversity can bring about new ideas, new frontiers, and new opportunities for your company.
Lead by example
Employees look up to their managers; they set the culture and attitude of a company. Senior leaders should identify the key opportunities to alter company practices in a DEI-conscious manner to drive change. It’s not about total transformation. Instead, 2 to 3 strategic actions can show your commitment to being different.
Spark a discussion with your colleagues about the change you want to see.
Refresh. Rejuvenate. Recharge.
Being an ally includes being DEI-conscious and continually engaging with the ideas. For example, run coffee mornings discussing specific topics within cultural competence, inclusion, or equity; invite speakers to talk about relevant issues; ask for employee feedback about what people wish to see and hear.
You can even rerun a training session after a year – to see your progress and where you want to go next. Just as companies routinely review their market progress, your DEI efforts need to be refreshed and reflected upon. Rely on experts to help continue your conversation as a facilitator, leveraging their expertise within DEI.
Final thoughts – When You Implement DEI Training
One of the most important concepts to remember when you are learning how to implement DEI training in the workplace is consistency. Diversity, equity, and inclusion training isn’t a one-time thing: it’s a journey. Most importantly, it’s about your post-training actions/commitments. For example, will you celebrate your diversity and change your hiring practices? Will you speak up when you see a microaggression? Will you lead by example?
Let us know your thoughts.
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