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ATD Blog

Inclusion Matters—Here’s How to Get There

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Take daily steps to increase DEI actions and awareness in the workplace.

Eliza Blanchard, operations manager for the Talent Leader Consortiums at ATD, recently spoke with Ruchika Tulshyan, author of Inclusion on Purpose: An Intersectional Approach to Creating a Culture of Belonging at Work. During the interview, Blanchard posed the question of what talent developers can do to create a culture of belonging. Tulshyan replied, “The intentionality piece of this puzzle can’t be overstated. To cultivate a growth mindset towards inclusion, you can’t possibly get everything right—and you won’t—but it’s necessary to keep trying.”

She explained that it isn’t about one action or training course but rather about all the actions and awareness on a daily basis, “from who owns the cafe you get your coffee from (and so, spend your money to support) to whose careers you are sponsoring.” Here are ways you can expand employees’ and leaders’—and your own—daily DEI awareness and actions to grow a culture of inclusion.

Start with training. More than three-quarters of organizations provide diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging education, with nearly 40 percent having launched that training in the past two years, according to the ATD Research report DEI&B Education for Employees. Further, slightly more than one in three provide training that is tailored to different employee audiences. If your organization is one that has not yet developed DEIB training, take that first step.

Boost engagement through people managers. To build an inclusive culture, Sabrina-Yvette D’Almeida at Children’s Law Center, who is quoted in the DEI&B Education report, recommends enlisting business leaders to drive participation in training if it’s not mandatory. She calls out that they can “open doors, encourage their staff to attend, and send a message by showing up themselves.” If training is mandatory, at least offer employees choices, such as in learning modalities, so they have different options to meet the training goal.

Expand inclusivity. Consider all types of inclusion—not only gender and race. That includes those with disabilities and accessibility needs. The Forbes article “4 DEI Practices Your Company Should Adopt in 2022” defines an accessible workplace as “one that prioritizes needs and unique support systems of employees who are differently abled.” It advises companies to work with people who are knowledgeable about accessibility to incorporate or revise policies and practices to ensure they accommodate individuals of all abilities.

Increase accountability. The Forbes article also points out, “In 2022 and beyond, companies must recognize that no matter how many interventions you introduce into the workplace (mentorship programs, employee resource groups, DEI trainings, etc.) nothing will change if employees aren’t being held accountable for the environments that they are cultivating.” Take steps to establish DEI goals and then invest in reinforcing the learned behaviors. In the TD magazine article “Stumped on How to Measure DEI Training,” James and Wendy Kirkpatrick point out, “Performance support and accountability is where to invest the largest share of resources to maximize program outcomes and success.”

Increase your knowledge. Take steps to increase your own personal learning about DEIB, and then take that knowledge and share it with your organization. During ATD22, a number of sessions and activities are focused on DEIB—in fact, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Curated Learning Path is dedicated to programming that spans activism; unconscious bias; reverse, diverse mentoring; facilitating challenging dialogues on DEI; creating more diverse and inclusive environments; designing accessible learning programs; and measuring and improving the value of DEI programs. Additionally, check out ATD’s curated Resources for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion page.

About the Author

ATD22 News is your source for news, updates, and session coverage for ATD's 2022 International Conference & EXPO.

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