11 April 2024 | Rosalind Fordyce

10 tips for launching successful DEI e-learning

So you’ve done your research and found the diversity and inclusion e-learning solution that meets your needs. That’s half the battle won – but how can you make sure that people are actually going to do it?
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One of the biggest challenges that we see around diversity and inclusion training is engagement – and that’s with everybody from your leadership team down. Top-level sponsorship of any new training is key to ensuring that people sign up, and managers and team leaders have a key role to play in talking to their teams about it and creating positive expectations. Most of all, people need to understand exactly what the purpose of the training is and how it’s going to benefit them.

Here are 10 tips for ensuring that any DEI e-learning you launch gets maximum uptake.

Boost DEI employee engagement with these tips

Inspire increased employee engagement for DEI initiatives and learning to make a positive impact.

1. Link it to organisational objectives

Positioning training in the context of what you’re trying to achieve as an organisation shows that everyone has a part to play. Think about which key objectives the training will support, for example:

  • Are you aiming for B-Corp status?
  • Have you identified specific DEI-related risks that you need to address?
  • Would a better understanding of unconscious bias help the organisation to recruit from a wider pool of diverse talent and get the best people?
  • Would better cultural competence help you to tap into emerging markets or new customer bases?
  • Could inclusive leadership training enable managers to unlock their teams’ creativity and boost their performance?
  • Can inclusive teams training help to improve team dynamics and ensure more effective cross-team collaboration?

2. Show how it supports personal development

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It’s also crucial to explain how the training will support employees’ own professional development and help them do their jobs. Is it going to enable them to communicate better with their customers, for example, or understand the needs of a particular group of service users? Will it help them to make fairer and more sustainable decisions about the people in their team? People are far more likely to sign up if they can see a clear personal benefit to DEI e-learning.

3. Get leadership endorsement

If senior leaders make a sincere public commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives, people are more likely to take them seriously and want to get involved. Think about getting one of your senior leadership team to record a personal message that establishes diversity, equity and inclusion as a key priority for the organisation and endorses the training as a main plank of your DEI policy. You could also consider getting leaders to share personal stories on how the online diversity and inclusion training has impacted them, what they’ve learned and what they are trying to do differently as a result.

4. Make it a regular thing

One-off DEI training has been shown to have little meaningful impact – as psychologists, we know that biases are difficult to shift and being inclusive takes time and effort to practise. Incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion training in your onboarding and induction training for new joiners and continuing to deliver it as part of your employees’ professional development ensures that you’re reinforcing its importance and relevance at every stage of a person’s career and at every level of the organisation.

5. Set aside time

A major barrier to engaging people with e-learning is that they simply lack the time to do it, so make it clear that it’s a priority for everyone and ring-fence a dedicated amount of time every month for people to devote to DEI learning.

6. Be flexible

Everyone learns differently, but the beauty of e-learning is its flexibility. You’ll need to set clear expectations and timeframes for completion, but be sure to give people control over how, where and when they do the training to allow for different learning styles and time pressures.

7. Build social support

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Research shows that having support from peers and co-workers can greatly improve our learning engagement and satisfaction, so consider how you can create a ‘learning community’, either virtually or in person. You might want to encourage participants to choose a ‘training buddy’ or sign up as part of a group, and be sure to incorporate time in team meetings to discuss learning, share experiences and look at how behaviour is changing.

8. Reward your champions

We all like to have our efforts recognised, so rewarding diversity and inclusion employee engagement and achievement is key. The way you do this will depend on the processes already in place in your organisation, but showing recognition of positive change will boost employees’ motivation, encourage sign-up and encourage learners to think about how they can build on their learning and put it into practice.

9. Tell people about it

Showcasing the success of the training and the positive experiences of learners will motivate more people to sign up, as well as demonstrating that your organisation is serious in its commitment to DEI. You could organise drop-in sessions where people can go to find out more, share stories on social media or encourage senior leaders to share the success of the training with their wider professional networks.

10. Show that it’s making a difference

Being able to demonstrate that the training is helping people to do their jobs better and having a positive cultural impact in the organisation will be the best possible advertisement. Training that comes with DEI analytics tools built in can provide unique insights into your organisation and its people. This can help you chart behavioural and attitudinal shifts, enabling you to not just demonstrate the effectiveness of the training itself but also to formulate policy and practice around DEI and shape future training and development opportunities.

E-learning that makes a difference

At Kandola+ we’ve got 40 years’ experience of helping people to identify and tackle their biases and build inclusive working cultures. Contact us today to find out how our digital diversity and inclusion learning programmes can help your organisation.