Kantola’s new training makes DEI relatable, practical and actionable for everyone
In the years since cultural movements like Black Lives Matter and #Metoo reshaped our world, we’ve learned a great deal. We know that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) means embracing our differences, and ensuring that everyone is respected, appreciated and treated fairly. And we know that it’s not only individuals who benefit from DEI, but organizations as well, through greater collaboration, creativity and innovation. That’s why so many organizations have worked hard to create a path toward meaningful change—by integrating DEI into their values and striving to make it a cornerstone of their culture. DEI training can play a critical part in helping organizations to get there, but there is an important caveat.
Today’s training is no longer about explaining DEI, it’s about ensuring that it is relatable, practical and actionable for everyone. That’s the premise behind Kantola’s newest course and why it stands out as the most effective DEI training available.
What makes DEI training effective? The principles behind Kantola’s approach
Before we delve into what makes training effective, let’s take a moment to acknowledge that not all training produces positive results. In fact, research shows that certain DEI training can actually backfire, unintentionally making the problem worse. This is in part because some training takes a tact that involves shaming and blaming to drive home the points—which is highly counterproductive. As experts at Gartner put it, “When individuals from dominant groups feel shamed or blamed for DEI challenges in the workplace, they can be motivated to respond defensively to restore a positive sense of self. This defensive posture may manifest in pushback.” That’s why the best training works from the premise that all people are uniquely different and deserve to be respected. This type of training puts everyone on a level playing field—never pinning any one group as an aggressor or victim.
But moreover, for training to make a positive difference, it must embody some specific qualities. It must be meaningfully interactive, relatable for everyone, and actionable in a way that learning can be applied to real-life situations. And throughout, it must take a nuanced and thoughtful approach to providing guidance on sensitive situations. That’s why we at Kantola have shaped our DEI course on these three critical principles.
Relatable for everyone
When training is relatable, it has the power to make a personal and meaningful connection to each individual. And the most effective way to accomplish this is with storytelling, particularly through first-person accounts of experiences from real-life work situations. That’s because stories reach people at a core human level—connecting to everyone, even those who are struggling to understand why DEI is important and what it means to them.
Why it works: “Personal stories—instead of cold facts—make people want to help keep others safe,” according to a study by the Annenberg School of Communication. “There is a long research history across a number of fields finding that narrative stories are powerful in shaping beliefs.”
How we do it: Interviews covering real-life stories. We invite people from all walks of life to talk about their experiences in an honest and unscripted way.
Watch as interviewees share stories that describe moments when they felt included by coworkers. Discover how small acts of kindness and compassion can contribute toward creating greater inclusion.
Meaningful and interactive
The best training includes purposeful and meaningful opportunities for participants to have interactive learning in a safe space. Exercises should guide the learner with instructions that are useful, clear and easy to follow—offering plenty of time for participants to pause and reflect on how their choices and behavior might impact a situation.
Why it works: Research shows that interactive learning supports memory retention and there’s evidence that it leads to positive outcomes, such as higher rates of attention, interest in the subject matter and satisfaction.
How we do it: Engage learners on how to give and receive feedback. We use scenes and stories that deeply explore possible scenarios, with multiple scenes playing out to show what might happen depending on what people say and how they react.
Watch an instructional interpretation of an employee sharing thoughtful feedback with a colleague.
Practical and actionable
Learning that is practical and actionable means that people can take what they learned and adapt it to real-life situations. This approach turns theory into actionable learning points by enabling participants to practice making choices that can bring about different outcomes.
Why it works: Facilitator and coach, Alison Carter, points out that with practical learning (learning by doing) recall is shown to be 75% and even as high as 95%. This is in comparison to 5% recall after simply being told something.
How we do it: Instruction on constructive communication. Through relatable scenarios, we help learners to improve communication, manage conflicts and work successfully with different people.
Watch as we break down three skills related to constructive conflict, and explore how different approaches can support creating a more positive and inclusive work environment.
Relatable, practical and actionable DEI training helps to carve a path for meaningful change by helping organizations to unite people around their differences. It goes beyond talking about the importance of DEI and moves onto making it an actual part of daily work life. It’s the only way that training can be an integral part of meeting the expectations of the moment—in a way that improves employees’ lives and strengthens organizations now and into the future.