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How to Identify High-Quality, Online Diversity Training Programs to Build Inclusive Workplaces

written by: Dr. Candace Warner
Date: 1 · 30 · 23
Category: DEI Education

In this post, we share advice on how to identify high-quality online diversity training courses and how ours breaks the mold.

When you hear the term “DEI training,” it might elicit feelings of skepticism, apprehension, or even an eye roll from you or your colleagues. While many programs available today meet compliance requirements for sensitivity training, they are often still cheesy, don’t have a measurable impact on your organization, and after staring at the screen for an hour or skipping through lessons just to “check the box,” team members stand around the latte machine or send Slack messages making fun of it. Not all online DEI training programs are created equal, and they certainly don’t have to be boring and ineffective.

At people3, our approach is different. Our online diversity training course is delivered by our own expert DEI consultants (not paid actors) who do this work in-person for organizations across the country every single day. Modeled after our most popular in-person facilitator training, Inclusive Organizations–which covers diversity, equity, and inclusion along with unconscious bias–the virtual version shares the same practical knowledge, approachable expertise, and real-world application that has earned us an industry-leading reputation.

What should organizations look for in an effective online DEI training program?

If your organization is searching for a high-quality, online diversity training program, not one that simply meets basic compliance criteria, look for these key components:

  1. Curriculum centered in data
  2. Real-world examples and practical strategies for understanding others
  3. Content that enables both individual and organizational growth

01. DEI Curriculum Centered in Data

An effective DEI training course should show the value of investing in diverse teams and dive into why they are important. Over 85% of well-managed, diverse teams make better decisions, are more productive, and bring in more revenue than their counterparts. And when you think about it, that makes sense, as organizational cultures that include everyone and ensure all voices are heard have a greater chance of capturing new markets and better understanding the perspectives of the customers they serve. Effective training programs will make it clear how diverse teams are truly an asset by providing helpful data like:

  • Over 87% of diverse teams make better decisions
  • Two thirds of job seekers indicate that a diverse workplace is important when considering employment
  • Team collaboration has been shown to increase by 26% in highly diverse and inclusive organizations

Online DEI training programs should provide your organization with factual, data-informed resources and educational materials that can be used to drive decisions that will make impactful, lasting changes. Companies that implement diversity, equity, and inclusion practices throughout the organization can see the effects through increased collaboration, better decision making, and higher profitability.

02. Examples and Strategies for Understanding Others

High-level DEI programs will not only highlight the data-driven benefits above but they will also show you how your company can leverage diversity as an asset by mitigating unconscious biases, building empathy, and practicing mindful communication so that people can better understand and navigate the differences between all of us.

Diversity training programs that go beyond just “checking the box” will include resources and recommendations for you to use during the training and beyond. Some of these resources might be educational materials for you to reference, surveys, exercises, or actionable steps to take within your organization immediately. These activities and related content should ask tough questions that make people reflect on their own identity and how their unconscious biases impact the way they show up and interact with others. They will also provide strategies for what to do if they “step in it” (as we call it!) during a conversation. Hint: it’s not to ignore it and hope no one says anything or to avoid the person forever.

03. Content that Enables Individual and Organizational Growth

The goal of DEI programs is to create inclusive, respectful, and equitable workplaces. High-quality DEI programs have the capacity to afford organizations opportunities to grow across the board and across the org chart. These strategies aren’t just meant for individual employees, but for building inclusive leaders, policies, and decision makers within the company. Also look for DEI implementation strategies that go beyond the initial training program and offer ways to truly make an impact in your organization.

How is the people3 online diversity training course different from others?

The people3 team has a proven track record of developing and facilitating impactful diversity training across all types of organizations – large corporations, small businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits. As a remote workplace ourselves, we know it’s not always possible to hold in-person training programs. We understand the need and developed the next best thing: a virtual alternative that is accessible to anyone, at any time, from any internet-connected device, anywhere in the world.

We took our most popular and successful in-person facilitator-led DEI training and modeled the online curriculum after those education modules. We use the same content and similar visuals and activities from the in-person training along with our own team of consultants. The one-hour, self-paced online training is managed within our own learning management system (LMS), thus, one less thing for organizations to navigate on the tech side of administering a course like this.

There are four areas that make the people3 course different from what you’re used to:

  1. Curriculum presented by real people (our team) vs. paid actors
  2. An impactful identity and empathy exercise
  3. Informal coffee chats
  4. Resources for download within the course

01. Real Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Experts

Throughout the process of creating and filming the online training program, we enlisted some of our own people3 consultants: the team who practices this work every single day. They know DEI inside and out. Inside the course exercises, you’ll get to hear them share about their own identities and personal experiences. They keep it real, they keep it light, and most importantly, they provide the data-informed tools that will make for lasting change in your organization.

02. Know Thyself: An Exercise in Personal Identity

People3’s proprietary Identity Exercise was developed by the company’s founder, Dr. Candace Warner, when she was a sociology professor. The exercise asks participants to think about their own demographic characteristics, such as race, gender identity, social class, religion, and other characteristics. When Dr. Warner utilized this with her students, it provided a platform to show how their individual experiences differ from others and how understanding one another’s identity can create empathy. The people3 Identity Exercise has evolved within people3’s core training with some adaptations for organizational settings. This exercise continues to provide employees and leaders with valuable insight into how others’ experiences can be different from our own and exemplifies how empathy can create more inclusive workplaces.

03. Real Talk: Informal Coffee Chats

The coffee chat segments in the online training course allow for more casual side conversations about our team members’ personal experiences with biases they’ve experienced or first-hand accounts of what being in an inclusive environment feels like. This gives training participants another way to relate to DEI topics and why it’s important to be mindful of these experiences in the workplace.

04. Resources for Download

We love data; it drives nearly every decision we make. We understand that the more data you have to inform and advance an organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion mission, the more reliable your decision is. Our training participants–both online and in-person– receive downloadable resources and educational materials to not only have insight into where our DEI strategies are coming from, but they can also refer to them in the future to help drive decisions in their companies.

Are you ready for it?

If your organization is ready to leverage diversity and inclusion as an asset to build a better workplace, check out our online diversity training course as soon as humanly possible. Start with a free trial. If you’re ready now, the curriculum is available to purchase today, right now, as soon as you stop reading this blog. Group pricing options and features are available to meet the unique needs of all types of organizations.

We worked tirelessly to develop a different type of online DEI training, one that doesn’t simply just check the box. We educate. We keep it real. We make it practical. And by looking at the data, an organization that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive is a successful one.

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Dr. Candace Warner

Candace Warner, Ph.D., is the founder and CEO of people3, Inc. People3 is a full-service diversity and inclusion consulting firm providing consulting services and educational workshops to organizations that want to leverage diverse teams and expand their diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Dr. Warner is a sociologist with over 20 years of experience educating others on all things people and a ten year veteran in the D&I space.

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