McKinsey’s ‘Diversity Matters’ report has shown that organisations with a prominent level of gender, race and ethnic diversity have 35% higher financial returns than companies with more homogenous employee bases. Furthermore, the inclusive companies have demonstrated that the advantages of this diversity extend to co-workers, clients, customers, and the community at large.
However, building a comprehensive custom Diversity and Inclusion program comes with its own challenges. At Sponge, we get these questions from HR professionals all the time: How do we create D&I learning that is not merely a tick box exercise and really resonates with our employees? How do we implement and measure such a program? How will we know that it will be effective?
How to tailor your Diversity and Inclusion programs
We know from experience that a well-designed workplace diversity and inclusion training program can heighten awareness of relevant issues, and contribute to elevating employee morale, boosting customer satisfaction, and driving bottom-line business success.
We also know that a poorly designed elearning program can have the opposite effect, serving to reinforce differences between people in the working environment, rather than supplying the insights and methodology for working together effectively.
For large globally dispersed workforces, a ‘one-size-fits-all’ training sessions may not be the best approach due to companies' own unique challenges. Bespoke elearning that is tailored to an individual company, like the elearning we developed for The Weir Group, is likely to have a greater impact and be more meaningful to employees, as well as possibly offer competitive advantage.
A tailored approach can address wide range of challenges which include:
- recruiting a diverse talent pipeline
- inclusive talent management
- tackling unconscious bias in the workplace
- promoting neurodiversity at work
- addressing microaggressions in the workplace
and many other sensitive issues.
Thinking hats to put on when discussing custom Diversity and Inclusion programs
When working on projects, Sponge partners with clients using discovery methodologies to analyse the training needs, understand the challenges and develop unique and customized solutions. Using the analogy of Edward de Bono’s “thinking hats”, we can present some of the hats we put on when supporting our clients with Diversity and Inclusion elearning:
Hat 1: Learning interventions that span over time
Creating short bursts of learning over a longer period of time gives your employees time to reflect, implement and raise questions that come out of both elearning intervention and practical application. Multiple touch points reinforce and embed learning.
Hat 2: Social media for elearning
Think about using social media as a platform to deliver your elearning (e.g., Facebook Workplace) to broaden the reach of diversity training programs and get the conversation going. Leaders can serve as ambassadors of D&I elearning, encouraging building communities, thus strengthening the message, and shifting the culture.
Hat 3: User Generated Content for connecting with learners
User Generated Content allows for peer-to-peer learning and stems directly from the social media and the internet. User Generated Content lands well with learners because it is authentic, imperfect, simple – and even budget-friendly. Think about how your people can learn from each other both online and offline to better build an inclusive team.
Hat 4: Consider how you can use video for storytelling
Utilising the short format, like on the social platform TikTok, you can deliver micro-learning at the point of need. Vlog-style videos, relevant to people’s jobs are another possible medium. Another approach is the use of silent empathy videos which can work well with a multi-national workforce, as they require no translation and transcend global language barriers.
Hat 5: Maximise the use of technology
Maximise the use of the tools that are available to you, like a smart learning platform:
- Use geo-aware platforms like Spark, our Learning Management System that can automatically adapt to the language of the learner
- Take advantage of deep data analytics and go way beyond just measuring completions to gain insights into learners' progress and where there are gaps in understanding
- Explore incorporating Virtual Reality in your custom Diversity and Inclusion programs to enable your learners to “walk in someone else’s shoes”.
Advantages of building your Diversity and Inclusion program as elearning
Current restrictions on face-to-face learning, travel or social gatherings need not prevent your company and its workforce from growing and learning.
Online learning can offer a multitude of opportunities to make learning engaging for your workforce – the ideas mentioned above are just a starting point to get you thinking in new ways when it comes to your organisation’s Diversity and Inclusion programs. And if you're wondering which option is better for your organisation, our experience in the creation of both custom and off-the-shelf diversity & inclusion online training can answer some of those burning questions for you.
Sponge designs bespoke Diversity and Inclusion elearning programs that focus on effective digital learning experiences that resonate with your learners and make a difference in your organisation.
We can help support you in designing and delivering custom D&I learning experiences to build the skills and behaviours for high performing organisations. Ring us on +44 (0)330 390 3920 or fill out the form below.
We look forward to reimagining your Diversity and Inclusion elearning.