Creating value is the most sought after and least understood factor in designing learning and development solutions for clients; and there are few areas where this is more acutely felt than in the field of Inclusion, Equality and Diversity training. Many of our clients initially look to us to treat symptoms by inviting us to run, for example, unconscious bias training. Having experience has taught us that before we deliver a seminar we need to invest time in helping the client make the right diagnosis before deciding on the treatment.
One courageous organisation we worked with recognised that if they were to move forward, then they needed to change. Following years of deep-rooted and systematic problems relating to the treatment of minority ethnic groups, they were determined to address the issue of ‘under-representation’ at a senior level. Failure to do this might be perceived as morally wrong and socially unacceptable but would certainly be operationally damaging with a negative impact on service delivery.
Whilst in agreement with them that a diverse workforce is key to a successful organisation, in our judgement they were unlikely to leverage the value of diversity without becoming skilled at managing inclusion. They recognised that if their wider objective of creating an inclusive culture was to be realised then it would not be a matter of simply promoting more minority ethnic people; it would require them to create an environment where people’s differences are allowed to flourish. An environment in which everyone is able to bring of their best.
In supporting the wider objective of bridging the gap between how they wanted their organisation to be perceived and how it was actually perceived, we designed an intervention to allow them to actively manage inclusion. The explicit intention was to enable them to get more out of more of their people more of the time.
The solution we created, “Fitting Together”, enabled them, not only to make the selection process agnostic, it also supported their senior management teams to begin to move toward inclusion as a way of doing business an outcome that the client was thrilled by.