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The case for effective DEI training

by Natasha Nicholson
DEI training

It’s no secret that we are in the midst of a major cultural revolution. Companies are facing a new world — where existing norms are questioned and expectations for a new and elevated corporate culture are being set. The mandate is clear. If we are to maximize opportunity and minimize risk, our only real choice is to rise to the challenge.

When once the idea of launching a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) program was considered a “nice to have,” it’s now become a necessity. And once you’ve committed to educate and enlighten your employees, then your next key step is to implement an effective DEI training program.

Why DEI is important

Different groups of people experience the workplace differently. They have a lifetime of experiences that affect their behavior and how they perceive themselves and others. An effective diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) training program takes these circumstances into account and addresses outward problems, hidden issues and reveals unconscious biases that are lingering just under the surface.

According to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 20% of all U.S. employees felt undervalued and disrespected in the workplace, and the problem is even more significant for Black workers, with one in three expressing the same. Additionally, 40% of LGBTQ+ women surveyed for McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace 2020 Report reported feeling the need to provide extra evidence of their competence to counteract being undervalued in the workplace.

Major companies focusing on DEI

Increasingly, companies are recognizing this disparity of experience. A survey by Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported that 62% of HR professionals responding said their “organization plans to take action to combat racial inequities.”

According to LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report, nearly two-thirds (64%) of learning and development (L&D) professionals globally—and nearly three-quarters (73%) in North America—reported that their executives have made diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs a priority.

Companies like FedEx and Marriott International have made DEI a cornerstone of their efforts. As a testament to its commitment, FedEx wrote a letter to all of its employees and leadership on the importance of diversity and inclusion as one of its core values. And the 2020 DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity list recognized Marriott as the number one company for diversity across industries.

In this article in Risk Management magazine, Kantola’s Natasha Nicholson breaks down why DEI training is so important,  the elements of what makes an effective versus ineffective training program, the outcome you can expect, and the risks of inaction.

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