Equality in learning and development.
Learning & Development (L&D) practices significantly impact employees’ personal and professional development. With a workforce that is becoming more diverse, an inclusive approach to learning is critical. It helps you provide equal opportunities for all employees to achieve their desired learning outcomes.
Let’s explore how your organization can guarantee:
Action 1: equal opportunities to participate
Action 1: Equal opportunities to participate.
Who in your organization decides who has access to a specific training? Is it HR, L&D, or managers, or should employees take the initiative?
Each option results from different philosophies and has pitfalls regarding equal participation opportunities.
Employees follow a specific career path and only have access to training linked to that path. HR provides access to mandatory training. As a result, employees feel limited in their learning experiences, and their individual learning needs are unmet.
Managers must decide who has access to training. They either fail to identify their team members’ training needs, don’t encourage training for some, or provide more opportunities to employees identified as “high potentials” or “top talents.”
Specific organizations consciously leave the initiative to attend training up to the employee. The most vocal employees can lobby best to attend (prestigious) training and develop faster. Others do not manage to identify their own training needs or cannot point out which available training is best for them.
Taking the initiative and deciding on participation is only one barrier to accessing training. Check for other obstacles that have an impact.
Having access to training is one thing. However, ensuring equal participation and engagement during the training is entirely different.
To create a good learning experience for all participants, you need to develop psychological safety: “Being able to show and employ oneself without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status or career.”
Make sure no one feels unsafe or intimidated in a way that stops them from participating and benefitting from the training 100%.
Action 2: inclusive learning programs
Action 2: Inclusive learning programs.
Explore the target audience of your learning programs.
It is unlikely to be a homogenous group of learners. Every individual has unique learning preferences. Make sure everyone gets the most out of your L&D program by reviewing training content, learning materials, learning methods, and delivery from an inclusive point of view.
- Check if your content is offensive to minority groups, insensitive about social or historical events, or triggers negative experiences like sexual harassment.
- When using references, cases, or examples, be mindful of the differences between learners. Either make the references universal and relevant for all or provide a range of examples to accommodate different experiences and points of view.
- Keep content up to date. Circumstances in society and at work change constantly. Ensure the content reflects and responds positively and constructively to events and current topics.
Monitor and review training programs regularly to check their effectiveness in engaging your target audience.
Action 3: diverse and inclusive L&D teams
Action 3. Diverse and inclusive L&D teams
We have already established that homogenous groups of learners are an illusion. Learning is no one-size-fits-all process. You need diversity of thought in your L&D team to design inclusive learning experiences.
Overall, they will help learners feel respected, involved, and able to bring their authentic selves to training.
Become a DEI expert.
This is a collection of articles that allows you to take a deep dive.