How To Drive Innovative Growth With Diversity and Inclusion Training

March 4, 2020 | Max Maccarone

Business girl presenting hand drawn sketch graphs and charts concept

Recent research from professional search engine findcourses.com confirms that diversity and inclusion (D&I) training is a significant driver of innovation and growth. 

The days of mandatory and ineffective D&I training initiatives are a thing of the past. Profitable and growing companies are 72% more likely to have high diversity in their organisation compared to those that didn’t see growth last year. 

Sustainable, innovative and strategic D&I training is bringing organisations out of ignorance and setting them on the right track towards heterogeneity, on par with the realities of the 21st century American workforce. Technological innovations in the training field like virtual reality have combined with new understandings of how D&I should be implemented to create a formidable new learning landscape that tackles complex issues like unconscious bias and cultural competence. 

Discover how companies and training professionals that have implemented a contemporary mindset towards D&I training are experiencing fundamental shifts in their workplace cultures as D&I and innovation come together to carry organisations into a more diverse, and profitable futures.

 

Allow D&I To Develop and Normalise Over Time 

“Rome wasn’t built in a day” may be a cliché, but the sentiment tends to ring true when you’re trying to effect change on a fundamental level. Once D&I loses its taboo and becomes a normalised part of employees’ understanding of their workplace culture, you can start to look for ways to make inclusive practices a tangible reality. 

At BCG Digital Ventures, delivering training with multimodality in mind has made their initiatives more effective, as it allows important knowledge to be learned through a variety of different learning styles and preferences. While the company recognises the value of formal training sessions, it complements them with what the company’s learning and development specialist Max Avruch terms ‘radical inclusion in practice.’

All senior leadership receives unconscious bias training, and employees are welcomed to employee business groups for individuals that share identities (and allies) to discuss the common issues they face in, and outside of the workplace. Furthermore, the company runs lunch-and-learning programming to keep diversity and inclusion a priority across organisational hierarchies. 

Giving employees the freedom to practice open communication and interact with conversations around D&I on a daily basis will begin to shift your workplace culture organically before your very eyes. 

 

Small Steps Are Equally As Effective 

D&I training doesn’t have to be drawn out, one-off sessions that all employees are obligated to ‘endure’ once or twice a year. Simple yet effective training strategies can be implemented in order to make consciousness surrounding D&I a part of employees’ day-to-day experience at work. 

In celebration of Pride Month, BCG DV decided to make D&I a visual, and physical reality. Posting Kinsey scales on all their bathroom stalls, the company invited employees to (anonymously) mark their own positions on the scale.

Showing employees the existing diversity within their organisation is a powerful tool to raise awareness surrounding unconscious bias and attitudes, and drive a cultural shift from within. Avruch explains that “It was a way for us to show diversity on our walls and to show people there is a spectrum around orientation.” 

Small steps can go a long way, and beginning your D&I journey by practicing radical inclusion and implementing smaller innovative initiatives will make D&I training more effective, and more readily apparent at the heart of your business’ operations. 

 

Technology And D&I Aren’t Mutually Exclusive  

Once D&I has become a normal part of your workplace culture, how can technology play a part in your training initiatives? 

Companies with revenue growth are more than twice as likely to integrate innovative technologies like augmented reality and game-based learning in their training offerings. At the virtual reality coaching company STRIVR, Chief Strategy Officer Danny Belch is seeing the impact of VR as a tool for teaching empathy in the D&I training environment. 

“With VR, because of the on-demand nature, a real life experience can be fired up with a click of a button,” Belch says. “You can now practice these situations. You can get a legitimate lifelike scenario with full end-to-end practice. It’s not role play. It’s alone and the stakes are free. You have this beautifully free space to practice, to stumble on your words,” says Belch. 

As innovative technologies become more commonplace, integrating them into your D&I training strategy is an easy way to allow experiential learning to flourish, and help make the most important aspects of D&I training stick.

Building up and normalising D&I won’t happen overnight, but any step is a step in the right direction. As the Head of US Learning & Talent Development Karen Bicking puts it, “you can influence innovation when you’re living it.” Take the plunge today! 


About the Author

Max Maccarone is a content editor for the higher education portal educations.com and professional development search engine findcourses.com. Originally from Canada, Max relocated to Stockholm after graduating from York University in Toronto. An avid traveller, Max is dedicated to creating diverse and engaging learning and development content for a wide-range of publications.


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