In today’s evolving workplace landscape, organisations increasingly recognise the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) training. While this training is crucial for creating inclusive work environments, it is essential to shift the focus from making employees feel as if they’ve done something wrong to helping them learn and develop. This article explores how equality and diversity training can be reframed as an opportunity for growth, education, and transformation rather than a punitive measure.
The Blame Game
Traditional approaches to equality and diversity training often carry an implicit accusation: that employees have already done something wrong or harbour prejudiced beliefs. This perception can lead to resistance, defensiveness, and resentment among employees. When individuals are approached with a sense of blame, they are less likely to be receptive to the training and more likely to view it as a mandatory chore rather than a valuable learning experience.
At Red Snapper Learning (RSL) we believe that to make EDI training more effective, organisations should adopt a new perspective, one that reframes the purpose of such training as a proactive, educational, and developmental opportunity.
RSL believes that applying key strategies will help achieve this:
Education, Not Accusation: EDI training should be positioned as a platform for education and self-improvement rather than a response to wrongdoing. This approach encourages employees to engage in learning, ask questions, and grow in their understanding of diverse perspectives and experiences.
Fostering Empathy: rather than focusing solely on compliance and avoidance of discriminatory behaviour, training can emphasise empathy, active listening, and understanding the experiences of others. Empathy helps create a workplace culture that is genuinely inclusive and welcoming to all.
Highlighting Benefits: should highlight the benefits of diversity and inclusion, not just the consequences of non-compliance. This can include improved creativity, innovation, problem-solving, and overall employee satisfaction. When employees see the positive impact of these principles, they are more likely to embrace them willingly.
Open Dialogue: EDI training should create an open and safe space for employees to discuss their thoughts, concerns, and questions. Encouraging dialogue allows for meaningful conversations that lead to personal growth and increased awareness.
Leadership Commitment: Leaders should take an active role in promoting equality and diversity. Their commitment sends a powerful message to employees that these principles are not just lip service but integral to the organisation’s values and success.
Continuous Learning and Development: EDI training should be an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Regular, evolving training keeps these principles at the forefront of employees’ minds and fosters a culture of continuous learning and development.
RSL believes EDI training should no longer be viewed as a punitive measure but as an opportunity for growth and development. All too often organisations are, with changes in legislation and employment law finding themselves with an increased HR workload due to complaints, disciplinary procedures and tribunals. Investing in EDI programmes can also therefore have a positive effect financially for organisations.
By shifting the perspective from blame to education, organisations can create an environment where employees embrace diversity and inclusion willingly and are better equipped to navigate the complexities of the modern workplace. This approach not only benefits individuals but also has the potential to transform entire organisations into beacons of inclusivity.
RSL has been creating bespoke EDI training programmes for a wide range of organisations, particularly those with EDI fatigue and our programmes have resulted in feedback where feedback is that 95% would recommend the training which in the context of such organisational fatigue is an amazing statistic.