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Diversity and Inclusion Program

Sean Badley
Peter Bagi

By Sean Badley, Senior Facilitator, and Peter Bagi, Learning Designer,
1 January 2024

Diversity and Inclusion Training for Workplaces

The demand for professional development related to Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) or sometimes referred to as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), has grown considerably over the last two years. This includes cultural diversity, but we also need to consider differences related to age, ability, location, gender and sexuality, and focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inclusion. Diversity and inclusion transformation has distinct benefits for organisations, such as a more compelling EVP and increased attraction, retention and engagement of talent.

Learn more about social differences in this short 3-minute video.

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Program Purpose

The purpose of this program is to help employees understand the benefits of working in a diverse and inclusive workplace. The future of work is about eradicating unconscious bias and supporting employees to understand each other’s different backgrounds and work effectively as a team. This means developing empathy, an appreciation for different needs and perspectives, and implementing practical strategies to improve inclusion.

Working with organisations across Australia, we know the value of workplace diversity and that inclusion training is essential to sustained success. Here are some reasons why organisations will benefit from focussing on diversity and inclusion:

  1. Rise of ‘human skills’: More and more, organisations are helping employees develop both technical skills and soft skills to help navigate diverse workforces. Employees who understand the value of diverse teams that demonstrate breadth across underrepresented groups is key. This means representation across ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inclusion, age, and ability.
  2. Purpose-led business: Younger generations of employees are seeking organisations that are committed to purpose and are progressive in areas like diversity and inclusion, sustainability and technology. With purpose and strong commitment to ‘people, planet, profit’, organisations have a significant competitive advantage and a more compelling EVP for attraction, retention and engagement.
  3. Increased use of global talent: Hybrid working has opened up more opportunities for teams to work across the globe. Organisations are no longer restricted to local talent pools and can explore their options with digital connectivity being a key driver. Bringing in global talents means diversity training and inclusion initiatives become even more important.
  4. Increased connectivity: Because virtual meetings and online collaboration is increasing for many corporate employees, an understanding of how to balance different personalities and perspectives will help to drive outcomes. Teams that are diverse have distinct benefits when it comes to different approaches to problem solving and breakthroughs for innovation.
  5. Leveraging diversity in talent pools: Organisations that understand how to work with neurodiversity and can support people with disability and their accessibility needs, benefit from a more diverse talent pool. This brings in ‘thought diversity’ and helps organisations think about ‘universal design’ and how to build products and services that appeal to the broadest range of people and their needs.

Overall, an organisational focus on diversity and inclusion can help to remove unconscious bias from systems and give leaders and their teams tools to embed inclusion. With Diversity and Inclusion Training, coaching sessions, and support from Thinka’s video collection, teams can work toward building a workplace of belonging.

Program Benefits

With the help of Diversity and Inclusion Training, skills that learners can put in place to build an inclusive culture include:

  1. Advocacy: Advocacy is important to establish fairness and equity in the work environment. When underrepresented groups are given opportunities, are included and feel a sense of belonging, organisations benefit and every individual benefits. With skills in advocacy, individuals can feel safe to ask for what they or their team needs and bring issues and unconscious bias to light. 
  2. Collaboration: Employees who can appreciate different needs and perspectives are better able to collaborate with co-workers. Employees with well-developed communication skills know their audience and use an appropriate manner, tone, volume and body language. They also actively include all people in conversations and decision-making. 
  3. Empathy: Finding ways to relate to other people’s experiences and the emotions they are feeling, gives team members a better insight into their co-workers. When this happens, there is a better opportunity for connection and collaboration and this in turn means they’re more likely to support each other to achieve outcomes. 
  4. Relationship management: Employees who seek to understand other people and appreciate their differences, are better able to maintain healthy relationships. Team members who apply an inclusion lens to interactions by responding in respectful ways to what people need, build longer-lasting connections. This also has a positive effect on team member mental health. 
  5. Leadership preparation: When employees actively contribute to a positive, inclusive workplace culture, they increase the likelihood of being promoted into a more senior or leadership position. This gives them greater control over their career journey and helps them access more opportunities.

With the benefits of diversity and inclusion embedded in organisation culture, team members are better able to collaborate and build constructive, supportive relationships.

Program FAQs

What is Diversity and Inclusion Training?

Our Diversity and Inclusion Training is specifically designed for employees to understand the damaging effect of microaggressions, unconscious bias and exclusion. This course aims to provide participants with the strategies, tools and resources to apply their learning and build an inclusive workplace culture. Our experienced facilitators have worked with many Australian workplaces on diversity and inclusion and will share case studies and stories to help your learners. We can connect the program to your exisiting DEI metrics or work with you to design an evaluation approach that helps to measure change.

Why should my organisation offer Diversity and Inclusion Training?

Being part of Diversity and Inclusion Training helps teams put inclusive practices in place, leading to a greater sense of belonging and job satisfaction. It also helps participants break down barriers, such as fear and uncertainty about how they will be perceived, that might hold them back from fully admitting to their biases. Employees are encouraged to safely learn from personal reflections and in small groups – to break down these biases and move toward inclusion.

Who can attend Diversity and Inclusion Training?

This program is designed to be broad and influence organisational change so new, inclusive frameworks can be built. Both leaders and teams can do Thinka’s Diversity and Inclusion training either together or as separate cohorts. If both leaders and teams do the training together, the small group work can be designed so each group can feel safe to express their real views.

We also have a specific Inclusive Leadership Program that is just for leaders to build skills in leading teams with diversity and inclusion lens. Diversity and Inclusion can also be integrated into a more generalised leadership program as a specific workshop topic or as theme across the program.

Is Diversity and Inclusion Training only available in person?

Diversity and Inclusion Training can be delivered in-person or as online training; depending on the organisation’s set-up. It is typically made up of strategies, discussions and a series of activities to support moves to build an inclusive environment.

The training can be complemented with coaching sessions with a Thinka coach. Coaching plays an important role in challenging old behaviours and helping participants build new mindsets that supports inclusion.

We have also delivered this training as a series of webinars and as online training courses (eLearning or video learning), for businesses who are hybrid and dispersed across geographical areas.

Program Case Study

carsales, ‘Lead for Inclusion and Belonging’ program

 

1. What was the objective?

carsales had been forward-thinking and launched a ‘work from anywhere’ initiative when COVID-19 began. This program was designed to support leaders to consciously champion their team members through the new challenges of being a consistently-moving team that could work fully remote, hybrid or from the office.

carsales wanted a bespoke workshop focused on inclusion, belonging and high performance to support this new change. They wanted to engage their leaders with a framework they could use with their teams and actively apply inclusion and belonging strategies to uplift engagement and results.

2. How did we do it?

Thinka designed a unique three-hour virtual workshop that would be rolled out six times across the organisation.

Due to the workshop’s length and the topic’s depth, the content needed to be interactive, informative, and practical. Each session would be made up of 25 participants from various sectors within carsales, including its incubator programs; so, the workshop needed to create an environment of psychological safety quickly, as the group may not have worked together before.

The workshops included understanding bias, overcoming the challenges of working in a hybrid environment, knowing how to be an advocator and what challenges can stop us from being our most supportive selves. A key part of the workshop was focusing on the future leadership need of being an inclusive leader, and how this is a key skill moving forward in their careers.

3. How was it integrated and what were the results?

In addition to the workshop, Thinka created a ‘Leader Meeting Pack’, which included a guided meeting plan, tools and assets that any leader could pick up and utilise with their team. The language and visuals in the assets were all in carsales branding.

The learnings from the workshop, along with the Leader Meeting Pack, allowed the participants to feel supported in driving initiatives focused on inclusion and belonging. There was a consistently positive response post-workshop from the leaders. carsales consequently engaged Thinka after the roll-out to design a workshop on Inclusion and Belonging aimed at their team members.

Example program

Month 1

What is diversity and inclusion?

Defining diversity and inclusion and hearing stories from people across diverse groups.

  • Induction
  • Program roadmap
  • Virtual workshop
  • Guest speakers (stories from diverse groups)
  • Application tools

Month 2

Unconscious bias and barriers to inclusion

Discussing the idea of privilege, conditioning and how unconscious biases need to be unearthed to make way for inclusion.

  • Virtual workshop
  • Application tools
  • 1:1 coaching

Month 3

Inclusive behaviours

Mapping inclusive behaviours to become conscious of what best practice looks like.

  • Virtual workshop
  • Activity (‘Inclusion map’)
  • Application tools

Month 4

Inclusion action plan

Researching, discussing and identifying practical measures to make the team and work environment more inclusive.

  • Virtual workshop
  • Guest speaker (‘Inclusion at work’ expert)
  • Application tools

PROGRAM Outline

Delivery Options

In Person Program

Virtual Program

Hybrid Program

Key Outcomes

1. Participants understand key definitions relating diversity, inclusion and belonging.

2. Participants assess their ability to be inclusive, and their team and workplace’s inclusiveness overall.

3. Participants identify strategies and actions to remove bias and promote inclusion, including recommendations for changes to systems and processes.

4. Participants build a ‘team inclusion action plan’ and take accountability for areas of execution.

5. Participants design a method to evaluate the success of this team inclusion action plan.

Possible Inclusions

1. Activities

2. Guest speakers

3. Tools for application

4. Assets (e.g. eLearning, video)

5. Coaching

6. Participant management

7. Consulting on change management

8. Comms plan design

9. Meeting packs

10. Follow-up support

Target Audience

Business-wide or a specific learning audience

Our in-person delivery option maximises opportunities for robust conversation, experiential activities and intensive group work. This is no ‘death by PowerPoint’ experience – our facilitators are skilled in presenting and leading immersive experiences that get the most out of people. Supported by multimedia, attractive takeaway pages and practical strategies for using back on the job – this in-person approach is valuable for building strong bonds and bringing people together to collaborate.
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Our virtual delivery option breathes fresh life into the online experience with its almost ‘radio show’ feel. Our expert facilitators use a combination of multimedia, questioning techniques and break out activities to target micro-skills – with a focus on application. Supported by an online platform hosting custom-built materials, participants can be assured of lively, dynamic sessions that have a distinct bias to action. Going virtual keeps program sessions succinct, sharp and focused on targeting particular skills in a dynamic way.
Q
A hybrid model takes the best of in-person and virtual delivery options and blends them together, so there’s a healthy mix of face to face collaboration and targeted skill building. Depending on the program themes, we work with you to decide what is better suited to getting together in a training space versus what would sit comfortably in an online setting. This flexible combination allows you and your team to get the best of both worlds.
Q
Diversity and Inclusion Trainingcan be rolled out to a whole business or can be tiered to meet audiences, e.g., team members or leaders or executives (as each audience will have a different level of responsibility with regard to actions and managing change).
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