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April 2020
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TD Magazine

All Are Welcome

Create an inclusive training environment by meeting learners' needs.

If you want training course participants to learn, you need to make them feel like they are in a safe and welcoming environment. One way to kick-start that is by playing music as attendees walk into the training room, as Association for Talent Development education facilitator Nikki O'Keeffe suggests.

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But establishing an inclusive training environment extends beyond music and an inviting room. In "Prioritize Inclusivity in Your Training Sessions," Eliza Blanchard details steps trainers can take before, during, and after a training event to meet learners' needs and provide them with every opportunity to learn.

First, do your best to ensure that the training session doesn't fall on a religious holiday. That indicates respect for participants' religious beliefs. Check the session date against inclusive interfaith calendars, such as those available on Google and Outlook.

Ask your learners via email about any accommodations prior to the course. Inquire about dietary restrictions, preferred pronouns or names, and special requests. Those considerations demonstrate that you are cognizant of participants' needs and comfort and enables you to address them before the course so participants can focus on learning. Alleviate questions as to why you are seeking that information by explaining your rationale for the query.

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To aid in crafting training activities, check with diverse subject matter experts and learners to gauge their reaction to terminology and examples you plan to use to determine whether any may have unintended connotations.

Likewise, take time to examine your own unconscious biases. Work to identify them, and be mindful to avoid them during the training session.

These tips were adapted from the April 2020 issue of TD at Work. Learn more at td.org/TDatWork.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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