What grinds my gears – diversity training

A group of people standing in a circle raising their right arms together up to form a group connected at the centre
Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

I saw an image the other day of a webinar and I felt the need to vent again. I expect this might attract a few comments and look forward to working through it with people.

Diversity is not having one white man without a beard, and two white men with beards.

Training sessions which people sign up to voluntarily on diversity will be full of people who want to do something about diversity. Worry about the people opting out who aren’t there.

Unconscious bias training doesn’t work. Really it doesn’t. It’s not just that bad training doesn’t work, but that it can be counterproductive, actually reducing the number of women or people of colour in management positions.

Stop doing equality theatre where you can point at events and performative activity. It doesn’t make any difference other than to provide something people in the org can point at to prove ‘something was done’, rather than ‘something was changed’.

People WILL switch between hierarchy and equality depending on the context they’re living and working in. Understanding this is essential to bring about change. Focus on the context more than the content.

Goals are meaningless unless you’re honest with the numbers. Having 70% of your employee population completing training means nothing if you are maintaining the same gender, ethnicity, and disability pay gaps. You should be judged on your impact, not your output data. Don’t set completion targets – agree change targets.

As we’ve seen in the UK in the last week with the defence of Lady Susan Hussey, White Fragility is a real thing. Prepare for it and expect to have to challenge white people’s defensiveness.

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