Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging (and Learning)

DEIB is still (and rightly so) at the top of many HR and organisational agendas. I’m having more and more client conversations about what and how they continue to grow, mature, and ‘do more’ in this space. It feels as though a level of maturity has been reached by many, but now seeing the intrinsic value that comes from taking those first few steps, organisations are wanting to accelerate what they do, shifting over time from a ‘this is the way we have to be’ to ‘this is the way it should be’ and ‘this is the way we want to be’ narrative.

Now for us at Connor, DEIB isn’t about ticking a box, fixing a few processes, or making a business appear to be more diverse or inclusive, it’s about intrinsic and systemic cultural change. A change where it is proven that having a workplace that is more diverse, inclusive, fair and where people feel part of something they are part of, adds a clear and measurable improvement to the bottom line. My personal opinion – change is simply learning to be, or doing something different than you did yesterday, and learning must be at the heart of any DEIB agenda if you want to make sustainable and impactful change.

When I say learning, I don’t mean simply delivering some unconscious bias workshops. We know there’s evidence that this alone will have little impact. What I mean by this is how do we use organisational learning as a powerful vehicle to enhance DEIB?

Here are a few things we in the learning world can do:

Promote inclusive learning communities – create spaces for people to learn where people from diverse backgrounds, perspectives, experiences, and identities feel valued and included. This encourages people to participate, collaborate and experience a richer learning experience, often with better learning outcomes due to the diversity of participants.

Develop cultural capability by design – almost any learning intervention is an opportunity to enhance knowledge, capability, and cultural awareness. When designing a new programme or course, use it as an opportunity to address the change your organisation is seeking. Not only does this give you the chance to ensure your design recognises good practice, but also to embed and weave in DEIB principles, address cultural difference, or unconscious biases.

Personalise learning – most modern learning platforms provide an element of personalisation (the Netflix approach), knowing and automatically promoting related content based upon personal preferences. Whether you have a modern learning platform or not, personalisation of learning goes far beyond learning styles, in fact it’s expected by most employees today. It’s about recognising individual needs and the necessity for flexible content delivery, customisable learning paths, inclusive content, language and communication, and ensuring that learning designers are well developed in diversity and inclusion in education.

People analytics – most HR teams have access to a wealth of data coming from their systems and processes. For us in the learning world, we need to access the data we have available to help us understand what people want, what people need, how we can improve the learning experience, and learning outcomes. When we start to aggregate our data up against other data points in the HR space, what trends do we begin to see? What biases or inequalities are being uncovered?  How does the data help us make better decisions for DEIB?

The learning team in an organisation has a unique advantage in having access to numerous employees, often on a daily basis, and should be seen as a key enabler to develop the maturity of your DEIB agenda. Whether this is explicit as part of an educational programme, or more implicit in developing and designing learning that is diverse, inclusive, and engages every person across an organisation.

If you’d like to learn more about how your organisational learning can have a significant positive impact on your DEIB strategy, or anything else relating to DEIB development, visit our website or give us a call on 01491 414010.


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