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DEI Training Is Not Enough. DEI Systems Are Better

Monday, October 03, 2022 11:41 AM | Anonymous

By Debbie Swanson, CFRE
IDEA Committee Chair

We all know that most organizations have embraced DEI training as a norm, whether because of true social consciousness or to avert a social media crisis. And it isn’t any surprise to hear that DEI training isn’t very effective in changing attitudes in a long-term way, as many social scientists are now proving. But DEI training is not going to go away. If an organization truly wants to see DEI training be effective and to create desired change, it must also implement changes to their systems - mentorship and accountability systems, mainly - to see any long-term success.

Ivuoma Onyeador, an assistant professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School at Northwestern University, has provided 5 suggestions that will help any organization see more success from DEI training in securing a more diverse workforce and diversity among leadership. They are:

  1. Be realistic about what one DEI Training will do for your organizations. Lofty goals like “increasing diversity in leadership by 25%” takes more than one training and need to be paired with other structures for the needle to move.
  2. Set better goals AND provide tools to help attain them. Providing opportunities for affinity groups, for example, may help your diverse employees attain their personal goals while helping the organization attain its DEI goals.
  3. Get Comfortable with Discomfort. Let’s face it. It goes hand in hand with DEI work. We’re scraping open very old wounds. Diverse groups will feel targeted, majority groups will feel accused. While assuring everyone it’s normal, just know there will be some tense moments and flared tempers. Providing space and time-outs for people to calm themselves will be important. So is the commitment to still continue the work.
  4. Measure Efficacy, not just Preference. Measure what was learned, not how people feel about the training. That is a better measure of effectiveness.
  5. Commit to on-going work. It will feel awkward at times. It will be tense at times. But nothing will change if people give up because of discomfort. Having more than one training is always better. Keep plugging away on your commitment.

Read the whole article here: https://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/improve-diversity-training

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