How to Make DEI Training Stick

Creating training on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) topics can be challenging. At MT Consulting Group, we use existing research to inform our content delivery and facilitation style. Below are 3 strategies we use that can help make your next DEI session memorable. 

Make it personal 

In 2022, Harvard Business Review published an article on the relationship between someone’s perception of privilege and the disadvantages they experienced. Researchers conducted 10 studies with more than 5,000 white men from the US and UK. The goal was to find ways to foster greater recognition of racial privilege amongst white men. The researchers chose to study white men as they proportionally hold more power than any other racial group. 

They found that participants could only recognize their own racial privilege after reflecting on personal experiences of feeling marginalized. Though their disadvantages did not equate to the racial discrimination experienced by others, it was a crucial aspect of their self-reflection. As a facilitator, it’s vital to create space for learners to reflect on their advantages and disadvantages. These can be facilitated through writing exercises or group discussions. 

Lead with empathy

As DEI training often covers awkward and uncomfortable topics, facilitators must lead with empathy first. Anger and shame are important emotions to initiate action and change, yet these can inhibit individuals from fully participating in training. Robert Livingston discusses the importance of empathy when promoting equity in the workplace. As an emotion, empathy is the opportunity to experience the same emotions as those that have been marginalized in the workplace. Employees won’t buy into DEI initiatives without empathy and without personally understanding the hurt and anger that others experience. 

Similarly, as a facilitator, it is necessary to lead with empathy. If the learners perceive judgment from their facilitators, they will be less likely to open themselves to more learning. When facilitating DEI sessions, consider sharing anecdotes that show personal vulnerability. 

Sticky learning tips 

DEI facilitation and training need to go beyond the hour, the day, or the week training was facilitated. To make learning stick, facilitators need to go beyond slide decks and handouts. Learning Psychologist, Stella Collins, offers the acronym LEARNS to remember her strategy for creating memorable content. 

Linking: Connect new information with familiar information

Emotions: Create emotional ties to the content that reinforce decision making

Anchor: Bridge two pieces of information together that trigger a memory or action 

Repetition: Encourage learners to use exercises or practical applications after facilitation

Novelty: Find new ways to present familiar information  

Story: Use stories to bring up important points or reinforce a piece of content 

Consider these sticky learning tips when creating content for a workshop. To help build emotional ties, ask learners to pair up and share related stories or share with the group. Add relevant news stories to the presentation to link new content with recognizable examples.  

How we’re different 

DEI training requires mental and emotional labour, but it doesn’t have to be challenging. At MT Consulting Group, we bring research to life through these strategies and more. 

  1. We make training personal by sharing our own stories of privilege and vulnerability. 
  2. We aim to create psychological safety for learners by leading with empathy. 
  3. Our content and sessions are the results of our collective experience in adult education and the use of sticky learning principles. 

Are you interested in bringing DEI training to life at your workplace? Maybe you’re curious about how we can make DEI training stick. Send us a message, and we’ll let you know how we can help! 

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *