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Are you doing EDI training right?

The number of options for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) training can be overwhelming. Questions may arise about the most crucial issues and who should be the first to receive the training. Doubt may creep in as you ponder whether you are approaching EDI training in the right way. Determining the most suitable type of training for your organisation adds another layer of complexity to the decision-making process. Whether considering a one-off online course, small face-to-face sessions, or a company-wide seminar, navigating this terrain requires careful consideration and a strategic approach.

The budget dilemma

Often, training decisions are driven by budget allocations, sometimes unrelated to the business case for EDI. The value placed on EDI by top management becomes a crucial factor in determining the training approach. However, the undeniable data confirms the positive impact of diverse leadership teams, outperforming less diverse counterparts by as much as 36%. The challenge lies in ensuring that the steps taken align with the unique needs of your business.

Is unconscious bias training right for me?

For many businesses, unconscious bias training serves as the initial step, but questions linger regarding its effectiveness. According to a study by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), while unconscious bias training raises awareness, it may not single-handedly transform organisational culture. Explicit training in areas such as race or gender equality, power dynamics, and structural inequality often yields more significant results.

Emily Williams, academic lead for EDI at the University of Surrey, emphasises the importance of expanding beyond unconscious bias. Training should delve into understanding concepts like white privilege, micro-aggressions, and how to be an ally and an active bystander. The call is for a more comprehensive approach that extends beyond addressing unconscious bias alone.

Nevertheless, unconscious bias training remains crucial for raising awareness of bias in areas such as recruitment, selection, and employee promotion, influencing our decision-making processes. It is essential, however, to develop a supportive structure for accountability and monitoring to bolster internal business processes

Make it count

For EDI training to be effective, it requires support at all levels of the organisation. A blend of face-to-face and online training, involving underrepresented groups, staff networks, and promoting honest experience sharing, creates a robust framework. Establishing structures for communication, accountability and monitoring is essential to support internal business processes.

Before setting EDI training budgets, consider internal factors such as monitoring, reporting, and communication systems. Focus is key—tackle the most important issues first. Be transparent about your decision-making and involve employees in prioritising issues to make everyone feel involved.

Engaging your leadership team

To initiate a successful shift in attitudes and workplace culture, working alongside senior management is crucial. Collaborative efforts between the HR team and leadership, gradually rolling out EDI training across the organisation, starting at the top, can be the most successful approach. Creating diverse groups based on responsibilities, age, or ethnicity provides an opportunity for different voices to be heard.

Should I bring in an external training provider?

Bringing in an external training provider injects valuable objectivity into the learning process, offering a fresh perspective that might be challenging to achieve within the confines of an internal department. External providers bring a wealth of diverse experiences and opinions garnered from working with a range of organisations across different industries. This diversity enriches the training by incorporating a variety of best practices, real-world examples, and innovative approaches that may not be readily available internally.

The external perspective fosters an environment of openness and adaptability, encouraging employees to explore new ideas and strategies. Additionally, external trainers often possess specialised expertise, ensuring that the training is not only unbiased but also tailored to meet the specific needs and challenges of the business.

What should I do next?

The EDI journey varies for every organisation, but the ultimate goal is to foster a culture of trust and openness where everyone feels valued and heard. Diversiti UK together with our edi.t Accreditation and Membership programme are ready to support you on this transformative journey. Contact us for a free consultation and take the first step toward a more inclusive workplace.