Diversity – the state of being diverse or having variety.
We know that no formula strengthens a workforce like a variety of cultures and backgrounds with diverse skills and talents. Then why do so many companies offer a one-size-fits-all learning program?
If you have not diversified your training program lately, it’s time to get started! Equitable development and training ensure that each individual receives the tools to advance to the best of their ability and grow their careers. And that’s good news for your equity, diversity, and inclusion (DEI) program!
Inclusive learning in the 21st century
A 21st-century workforce evolves all people through continual learning, ensuring that each individual has the tools and opportunity to thrive. For mid-level workers, many of whom are minorities and those without a college degree, workplace training that fills skills or knowledge gaps is their best chance to rise. It is also an opportunity for employers to fill positions with great people who simply lack traditional credentials on their resumes. Diversified learning recognizes individual gifts, lifts morale, and increases fairness. As DEI expert Kemy Joseph explains, what diverse workforces need now are training programs based on equity – or “fairly and systematically giving all people in honor of their race, color, or creed, what they need to live safely and thrive at work….”
So, how can you address growth, access of opportunity, and cut advancement barriers for people of all diversities in your training and development programs? The key is to level the playing field by customizing learning opportunities to the unique needs of the individual.
Assess for knowledge gaps
The first step is to find out each team member’s unique skills and barriers by reviewing hiring documents, education, past training, and performance reviews. It would be best to use self-assessment tools or interviews to get a first-person understanding of the employee’s competencies and training needs. Discussions should focus on engaging your employee’s interests and motivation to thrive in their chosen career path because, without buy-in, there is little chance of success. A positive experience in skills assessment will help the person trust that you have their best interest at heart. Trust is especially important when you find deficits in basic educational skills such as English language literacy, math, or communication. Be encouraging. Help them to see that mastering basic skills is achievable and will boost their confidence and economic self-sufficiency.
Collaborate on designing a unique learning plan
Once you have identified the individual learning needs, you may group company-wide knowledge requirements to allow for more formal but cost-effective learning seminars or workshops. For example, practical teaming strategies training often works best when the whole team attends. But as you create individualized plans, it is good to consider both structured (formal) or unstructured (informal) learning opportunities.
Formal learning opportunities like vocational adult education programs, webinars, workshops, or certificate programs appeal to some people who enjoy fast-tracked or more participative education. For example, honing an employee’s English skills might best take place in a company-paid college course alongside others working toward the same goal.
Other people may benefit more from informal, lower-stress learning opportunities like a mentorship under a more seasoned employee, self-driven e-learning, or even outside supplier or customer visits to boost relational skills. The perfect learning portfolio can be designed by collaborating and considering individuals’ unique experiences and learning styles. Then, each is free to explore information and meet goals vital to them and their employer.
If homogeneous seminars and boring e-modules unrelated to individual goals, abilities, or interests mirror your workplace learning system, change it up today! Learning removes barriers, supplies opportunities, and improves the lives of all people, especially those from minority communities. So, make a renewed upskill commitment by addressing the uniquelearning needs of each individual at every level of your organization.
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