Each one of us has biases, most of which we are unconscious. A deeper understanding of biases allows us to foster more inclusive environments in our homes, places of work, and other areas of our lives. People don’t always think about how their jokes, questions, comments, or attitudes come across, even if done from a point of innocence. DEI experiences increase our awareness of how these types of interactions or conversations can be harmful. DEI training and initiatives can create experiences that bring together all perspectives, ideas, and people to create a stronger, more unified workforce where all employees feel safe and included, rather than marginalized.
Today, more and more organizations are realizing the importance of creating and implementing DEI programs and policies. In 2021, there was a 13 percent increase in organizations self-reporting DEI initiatives. As organizations recognize the value of these initiatives, many have turned to technology to assist in meeting DEI training demands.
There are many new tools and ideas that can help organizations create effective DEI experiences without spending thousands of hours or dollars trying to create or recreate the process. Let’s take a closer look at some of the strategies talent development pros can use to boost their organizations’ DEI efforts with technology.
Gauge Attitude and Training Effectiveness With SurveysSurveys have been around for years and are still one of the most effective tools to get a baseline for your audience’s feelings and attitudes at the beginning of any training initiative. You are then able to share the results as part of the learning interaction. For an organization-wide survey that you deliver pre-training, there are many technology options like Qualtrics, Google Forms, or Survey Monkey. You could also integrate more personalized results by using a live-poll option. Even many of the voice technology tools like WebEx, Zoom, and Google Meet allow surveys to be administered during calls or events. Many of these tools have accessibility features integrated into their interfaces.
Some number-ranked or scale questions you might want to include in your survey are:
- How safe do I feel to be completely myself at work?
- The people I work with treat each other with respect.
- My opinions seem to count at work.
You can also use surveys to measure the effectiveness of a learning solution. Smart technology options allow for live feedback, which gives facilitators the opportunity to change their training in the moment and create a more engaging and memorable experience. Alternatively, surveys can be sent after the training and used to adjust the learning process for future modules.
Streamline Training by Creating a Calendar With the ScheduleConversations on DEI should be held regularly, so it is important to have a calendar with a continuing education timeline. You can integrate your calendar with the execution schedule to make everything as streamlined as possible. Easily incorporate coordinated video presentations and track employees progress by using an online learning platform. When creating the calendar, include time for both knowledge acquisition about DEI and practice to reinforce understanding of that knowledge.
Use Technology Options to Make Training More EngagingParticularly with the rise of remote work, corporate instructors are relying on technology to make presentations interesting, engaging, and interactive. Videos, interactive questionnaires, images, and text to emphasize important parts of the training can all work together to make your training more interesting and effective.
For example, applicable videos can be added to engage learners, to illustrate some of the lessons from the training, or to add a personal perspective. Andrew Rawson, chief learning officer at Traliant, shared a story during a webinar about an organization that edited an elephant into a video and added the caption “Let’s talk about the elephant in the room” as an intro to their DEI training.
Incorporate Diversity in Images and AnimationsTechnology has not always been the solution. At times, it is part of the problem. Bias in AI algorithms has led to discriminatory hiring practices. Wikipedia is still largely written and edited by men. And in the past, the graphics used in corporate trainings only showed certain groups of people.
The good news is that learning organizations are stepping up, creating digital libraries of images and animations that reflect the diverse population of workforces around the globe. It’s up to instructional designers and HR managers to incorporate these images into all training content, not just DEI efforts. Representing all workers in all training modules shows that an organization is serious about creating a more inclusive environment.
Get Creative by Incorporating Technology SolutionsWhen it comes to training options and using technology, the options are limitless. Not everyone is receptive to DEI efforts at first. But games, virtual reality, video coaching, and other tools can create more engaging moments and open the minds and hearts of your workers.
Creative technology solutions can surprise people, giving instructors the opening they need to bring everyone closer together and truly create that safe space we all want at work.