Today, most companies realize the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace—from recruitment, retention, and culture to productivity, innovation, and the bottom line.
When it comes to compliance training, whether you are years into a robust DEI program or still getting your bearings, we offer five insights to consider based on what we see and hear from our clients.
Market your values internally
Developing credible DEI messaging that resonates with employees can be complicated.
Clients have said one of the challenges they face is helping employees understand they all play a role in the organization’s inclusion efforts. They often hear sentiments like, “What does this have to do with me?” and “I can’t fix any of that stuff.”
Promoting DEI in every aspect of the workplace is critical. Consider how your DEI commitment shows up in recruitment strategies, professional development, internal communications, external partnerships, operations, and other areas.
Cascade DEI messaging from the top and prioritize open communication with employees. Encourage senior leaders to show vulnerability, which can help foster courageous conversations and trust at all levels of the organization.
These efforts will help employees feel ownership over the organization’s culture and embrace their part in advancing DEI.
Tap into emotion
To make compliance training memorable—no matter the topic—you must tell a good story. And good stories rely on emotion to make them stick. That’s why we encourage clients to use realistic scenarios and not shy away from gray areas.
One of our clients adopted this notion with DEI training, working with us to craft scenarios highlighting those uncomfortable workplace moments when someone inadvertently steps over a line or when doing the right thing isn’t clear.
For example, in one scenario, a Jewish employee became newly committed to his religious tradition. His team must often work Saturdays, and he asked his manager if he could opt out, given that Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath—a holy day when Jewish people do not work or travel.
His manager questioned the request, as this was the first she had heard about his religious commitment, and it didn’t seem fair to the other team members who would have to pick up his Saturday shifts.
Our client said nuanced training—without obvious right and wrong answers—sparked honest, empathetic discussions. Employees reported that the stories felt realistic and relevant to their work lives and made them think days after completing the training.