Updated: Sep 14
D&I training is one of the main approaches adopted by management to increase awareness and inclusion. It plays a crucial role in building staff engagement and knowledge, but must be accompanied by other activities.
Whilst training has increased in corporate organisations, there are questions about its effectiveness in achieving long term goals of attracting talent, creating supported workplaces, and adding value to business outcomes.
If training is delivered in isolation, it will not achieve the development and organisational culture change necessary to embed diversity and inclusion. It will not achieve the behavioural change necessary to stop inequality and discrimination and poor decision making.
Understanding, appreciating, and embedding diversity is the key to developing engaged workplace environments. The ability to change attitudes and develop the behaviours necessary to embed inclusion takes time.
The process also involves a genuine commitment from leaders and management to see the process through to conclusion.
Whilst integrating a D&I training aspect to the change process is important, it should be predicated by an assessment of the business as a whole. This is where an assessment of organisational values, culture, and behaviours becomes necessary.
Often, there is a temptation to implement a ‘quick fix’ solution to diversity through a rapid training process.
These isolated, short term solutions will not embed diversity or change behaviours in the long term. They will serve only to achieve short term, generic outcomes.
Aligning diversity training for best results.
The impact of D&I Training is closely related to other, key organisational activities. As such for training to be successful, it must be aligned to specific organisational goals and activities.
By aligning training to key elements of organisational and people planning, the personal skills and knowledge required will be achieved.
This will make the process embedding diversity and inclusion across functions, projects and people strategies more coherent.
It is best practice to align D&I training to frameworks and operational structures to achieve optimum results.
Training agendas are also highly dependent on the structures in place to support, both the organisation and staff, towards achieving long term, functional and behavioural change.
Support for training interventions
Any training delivered must be supported by structures to effectively transfer knowledge and practice back into the workplace environment.
These structures could be planning boards, policy frameworks, diversity networks, inclusive recruitment structures, etc.
By ensuring that effective support networks are in place, staff will be enabled to learn and continuously engage with diversity. Support structures will underpin and assist the process of transferring knowledge and understanding. They help maintain the continuous development of policy and practice.
Embedding D&I learning is supported by having structures in place to support the development of practice and enable engagement.
By enabling and empowering staff via a robust framework of support mechanisms, learning from training will be enabled across the organisation.
This is where results will be achieved and diversity and inclusive processes are embedded.
Within this space, learning from training becomes value-added. It encourages concrete actions within people, processes, and learning agendas.
But what of these frameworks and mechanisms?
In of themselves, they are useful to any organisation. However, in relation to D&I training and continuous learning programs, they are of extreme relevance to embedding diversity and inclusive behaviours and supporting actions.
Frameworks and structures should be developed with an acknowledgment, of diversity and inclusion training or D&I assessment outcomes. This can be from support networks, such as staff diversity, diversity champions, or as a result of an external diversity review.
Diversity networks are a useful way to support training and strategic planning activities.
Diversity groups or networks are important. These will have experiential information that can be effectively applied to the governance and maintenance of a wide range of organisational mechanisms.
Networks can be a real enabler for organisational development of D&I practice. They support further learning and development around the application of D&I training and are useful for engagement both, both pre and post-delivery.
The reciprocal nature of diversity networks, serves as a conduit for learning and the development of practice and continued learning around diversity and inclusion.
Read more about the organisational benefits of diversity networks.