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Intent does not equal impact. Time and again I see organizations with good intentions embark on an enthusiastic endeavor to increase diversity in their workplace. Time and time again I also see their nonexistent to negative impacts, from failure to create lasting positive change to crash-and-burn disasters rife with unproductive conflict. Often it’s because they didn’t follow one or more of these five proven strategies for diversity and inclusion success – the “new school” way. The good news is it’s never too late to learn and regroup, and a new year presents ripe opportunity for fresh starts!

Strategy No. 5: Hire an Excellent Training Partner. If you’ve invested lots of money in training but seen low to no meaningful results, or you’ve received feedback that D&I training has led to confusion or increased problems, you may have selected a training partner that was inadequate, or not a good fit for your organization’s culture. Not all diversity training or trainers are high quality, especially now that D&I is more common and sought-after than ever before. Engaging an inadequate training partner wastes scarce resources, and undermines the credibility of D&I efforts. Ensure you’re set up for success before making a game-changing investment by asking: (1) Do we need training? Sometimes leadership coaching, systems change, or data collection is a more appropriate intervention, and a true D&I professional will help you figure this out. (2) Do we need it now? Training usually yields a higher ROI after proper assessment or other interventions. (3) Who do we already have internally with expertise in organizational development, adult learning, instructional design and facilitation? Ask potential internal and external training partners strategic questions to determine expertise and fit.

Strategy No. 4: Measure the Meaningful Impact of Training … and Reinforce It. If your D&I training got rave reviews, but you’ve seen no-to-low meaningful outcomes in your culture, systems, or leadership, you may not have set training up for success back in the workplace. Not creating a robust plan for implementation and systems change following D&I training wastes resources. It’s a false belief, even among some training professionals, that the effects of training can’t be measured. This belief undermines the credibility of D&I, and reflects poor stewardship of an organization’s trust and investment of budget, time and talent. Before investing in training, ensure you’re set up for success by asking: (1) What are the specific goals or learning objectives for the training? (2) What is our baseline? In other words, where are we now in relation to our training goals? (3) How will we know whether this training was a success? What metrics will we track, and how will we measure it?

Strategy No. 3: Identify and Measure Meaningful Goals.  Read the next 3 strategies on Workforce Magazine!



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