How to Make DEI Training Work

Season #1 Episode #15

In Episode 15 of Your Greatest Work, Manja talks with Belinda and Calvin about supporting diversity and inclusion in course creation. You won't want to miss this incredibly useful episode.

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Diversity, equity, and inclusion are incredibly important topics that require incredibly hard conversations. For many people, those conversations are emotionally packed, sensitive, and uncomfortable.

That's why trainings exist on the topics — and why corporations and institutions are hungry for courses and learnings that will help their people.

Belinda and Calvin know this very well. They create and facilitate trainings on this exact topic. In our fifteenth episode of Your Greatest Work, Belinda and Calvin shared their thoughts and insights on the topic with Manja.

Why is it important to talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion?

The simplest question first: Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important in course creation because everyone has different lived experiences.

It's that simple.

People do not work or learn in isolation from the events of their life. As Belinda explains, if employees cannot show up to work as their most authentic selves, they cannot be their most productive or creative, but — more importantly — they will not feel valued at work.

So this topic matters.

Now that we've established that, let's address the real meat of this conversation:

How can you effectively design learning that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Belinda and Calvin share some lessons they've learned.

1. This training must be ongoing

As Belinda and Calvin repeatedly emphasized, learning in these areas is not a one-time event. Training must be ongoing and people must continually learn and practice and reflect. This creates a culture of learning and a culture that is welcoming and safe for hard conversations.

While different people have different approaches to diversity training, everyone agrees that this is not a one-time event.

A series of training sessions could take place weekly or biweekly. Through regular and spaced practice, learners can develop a deeper sense of how to have hard conversations in a productive way and how to be an ally for their colleagues and coworkers.

2. People must be ready to learn

According to Calvin, learning is an intentional act. No course or training — not matter how phenomenal — will teach an unwilling learner.

Instead, courses should begin by asking participants if they're ready to learn and if they're entering with an open mind or a growth mindset.

And if people aren't ready to learn? Meet them where they're at.

3. Multimodal learning is best

Whenever possible, Belinda tries to use blended learning — a combination of videos, readings, and in-person engagement sessions. Why? Because everyone learns differently. And because people need time to process, to feel, and to think about the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Multimodal learning allows everyone to engage in a way that is productive for them.

4. Hypotheticals must engage emotions

The best hypotheticals generate emotion, Belinda explained. You want participants to feel emotions as they engage. Then, as a facilitator, you need to acknowledge this emotion and let participants know that an emotional response is warranted.

People need to feel validated in their emotions before they can move on to the rational brain.

Because people have different lived experiences, this is particularly important for any courses that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In this week's episode of Your Greatest Work, Belinda and Calvin talk extensively about how they approach their work and the importance of their work. Tune in to hear Belinda & Calvin