The civil rights movement Americans experienced in 2020 pushed most of the country’s most major organizations to engage in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training, if they weren’t already doing so. During the past year, D5 Consulting Group has experienced many schools seeking us out to lead this important work. But diversity consulting training is tricky – you are asking people to thoughtfully address and shift their behavior and thoughts without making them feel badly about themselves. It’s truly a delicate balance that requires an expert approach, and for that reason, we urge you to choose your presenter and program carefully. Today, we’ll walk you through how DEI training can go wrong so that you don’t make these mistakes with your faculty and staff.
1. Making DEI training a one-time thing.
It is commendable for a school district, or any organization, to admit that they have shortcomings and take action to address them. Still, DEI training isn’t a one-and-done event, but rather, a long-term commitment to acknowledging how our attitudes and feelings may be harmful and resolving to be more tolerant and respectful going forward. First, help your staff get their feet wet with an introduction to diversity training, raising employee awareness of the importance of working together with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs. At future trainings, your group can dive deeper into hard-to-have conversations about bias and micro aggressions.
2. Failing to get feedback and data.
To ensure your DEI initiatives are effective, you should be collecting and reviewing data as a way to gauge their success and make the necessary adjustments. All too often, this isn’t the case. Give your people the opportunity to critique the training afterward is a great learning tool for both the organization and the presenter. If you collect these evaluations each time your team engages in this work, you can measure the gradual growth and success of your program. Assess the data, learn from it, and if the feedback is consistently negative, it’s probably time to rethink what your program looks like. The most important thing is that you stay the course and remain committed to the work.
3. Bringing in a presenter who talks at people, rather than to people.
This is the most important reason why diversity training fails, at schools and elsewhere. When preparing a presentation for a room full of superintendents, administrators, and teachers, you must remember two important things: the first is that these people are educated professionals, and the second, is that they care about kids. They are there to learn how to do their very best for their students and colleagues, not to be made to feel incompetent, bigoted, or racist. Approaching school professionals with an attitude that is confrontational or accusatory will only alienate them. We’ll dive deeper into this conversation in our next blog, “DEI Training: It’s All About Your Approach.”
Ready to get on board with DEI training? Trust D5 Consulting Group to help you navigate the process. Reach out today for a free consultation and quote.