Warmer Weather Brings More Diversity and Inclusion Opportunities

This past winter brought relentless winter storms which blanketed much of the nation, making warmer weather seem impossible. A few weeks into May, much of that has changed. Summer is nearing and warmer weather has taken over in portions of the country. Along with the warmer temperatures has come an increased demand for diversity and inclusion services.

Recently, I’ve received an unprecedented number of requests for information on diversity and inclusion assessments, information and services. Commercial and government customers alike have made requests for a variety of instructor-led training courses, coaching services, Web-based training and off-the-shelf assessments to measure areas such engagement, inclusion, emotional intelligence and diversity-related leadership characteristics, to name a few.

Despite the increase in requests, diversity and inclusion development is often dreaded, and many leaders try to avoid it. A shift in perspective and approach can turn your next D&I engagement into something that leaders will embrace and look forward to. Below is a list of guidelines to take into account before rolling out your next D&I effort:

Know the leaders: To the best of your ability, understand the capabilities and needs of the participants. Sometimes, due to the structure of the organization, conducting a formal needs assessment is impossible. Nevertheless, simply hold a one- to two-hour call with the client to better under the goals of the program and the needs of the participants. Apply the information received to the design and execution of the D&I offering with the understanding that leaders are not at all focused on improving the same skills and development occurs at different rates.

Communicate parameters: The next guideline refers to setting a time frame and emphasizing the instructions when using assessments in the D&I workshop. Sometimes, trainees either cannot remember the relevant information or were not employed long enough with the customer to accurately respond. To ensure a respondent’s recall of events and keep attention focused on the present, identify a specific time period (e.g., one year, six months, etc.) and share such instructions in the assessment launch emails.

Instructor-led training is still alive: Although gamificaiton, e-learning and other technology-based training and development have significantly grown in popularity, the demand for classroom-based training is on the rise. It is integral to the success of a standard classroom format with in-person instruction to provide a mix of training approaches. The training approaches can include guided discussions, probing and exploring, experiential practice, pop-up coaching tips, presentation, small-group activities and movie clips to reinforce key concepts. Also, critical to any program’s success is the creative inclusion and linkage to strategy, policy and other related current organizational objectives.

Implementing these suggestions will yield the right D&I offering, and we would love to hear about your experiences. Share some of your D&I strategies that have worked for you.