We live in a vast, diverse world. There is no denying and no escaping it–instead, we can choose to be open and adapt to it. Though workplace diversity training has been met with its fair share of skepticism, a strong approach and strategic implementation techniques are key to making a successful impact. With the release of our new Diversity: Inclusion in the Modern Workplace course, we want to clue you in on what you can expect in the course and why this one stands out from the rest.
Our Humanistic Approach to Diversity Training
Keeping diversity training pitfalls in mind, this course was created as an introduction to the topic of diversity, inclusion, and equity via the human experience. We conducted interviews with real individuals and incorporated their stories and experiences into our content, gathered data on a number of topics that we used to provide the most current and relevant statistics, designed an entirely new course template while taking a new approach on interactive graphics, and so much more. With our clients, users, and diversity in the forefront of our minds, we hope our efforts shine through and make a positive impact in your workplace.
Incidentally, in order to have a meaningful and lasting impact, one’s commitment to diversity needs to extend into the everyday operations of their organization. This course uses the stories of real people to explore concepts such as identity, power, and privilege, to help us communicate more effectively and promote mutual respect in the workplace.
Each team involved in this project had a unique opportunity to make something special with this course. With prejudices and biases running rampant in and out of the workplace, we recognized the importance of this immense topic and were excited (yet nervous) to tackle it. Next, we will explore how the design and content teams put their visions into action.
Design Invites Users In
Taking a humanistic approach to how this course would be planned out, the design team altered their usual strategy to make a statement, allowing photography, graphics, videos, and color to act as a foundation in executing the important message they wanted to send about diversity, inclusion, and equity. “In previous course designs, we tried to stay away from representing specific human characteristics, by obscuring facial features and graying out skin tones in our illustrations,” said graphic designer Kris Shogren. “For the Diversity course, we wanted to do the complete opposite. We have upgraded the way we will handle illustrations, infographics, and color palettes to mirror the message and knowledge we are trying to provide our users.”
Stemming off of Shogren’s comment, animator Jenna Strange remarked on the difference in their design plan. “Usually we will make generalized figures that anyone can relate to,” said Strange. “This time, we wanted to be as clear and direct about as many facial features, skin tones, age ranges, and cultural backgrounds as we possibly could while using a wider rich color palette.” The variance in the aforementioned graphics achieves a more diverse collection of people to look at in the interactions, which is one way we as a company want to include our users. What better way to practice what we are trying to teach?
When asked about the team’s motivation, art director Drew Hard expressed that the design team was affected and motivated by the content team’s research into studies that reported the little, or even negative, impact that many diversity training courses had in the workplace. “With this in mind,” said Hard, “we made a dedication to try to remove the feel of a compliance course from our compliance course. Highlighting the content while not feeling like the content is forced onto the learner.”
The ultimate goal was to craft a course that invited users in, something that exposed them to the reality of diversity and could even have users relate to the images. The design team utilized a neutral color palette and elegant, modern design page themes in an attempt to make the course feel more like a microsite experience and less like a compliance training course that could potentially isolate the user.
Research and Content Focused on Interpersonal Communication
Our goal with content was to be as open and informative as possible, while maintaining sensitivity to the issues we’d be discussing. This course was written by people, for people, and taking a humanistic approach geared toward social justice seemed like a good route to guide our research journey.
A social justice approach–what does that really mean? It’s a broad interpretation, and for this course, we wanted to focus on framing social justice meaningfully, linking to interpersonal communication in an instructive way (as best we could). Our research supported these thoughts: “Interpersonal communication is critical to social justice, both in the form of engagement (social interaction) with people who are underresourced and as advocacy (communication with those who control the resources that are lacking) for these people.”
Lead Instructional Writer Carmen Poole said that her team “wanted to approach diversity from an inclusion and equity standpoint, and since social justice theory speaks directly to the importance of human interaction and value of using privileges to become a diversity ally, we felt a more conceptual approach would be successful.”
Interviews with Real People, Not Actors
Topics like diversity and privilege are sensitive, and can be uncomfortable to talk about, especially if the approach is highly academic or far removed from our day-to-day experiences. So we felt it was important to interview real people instead of actors, and film them in settings they felt comfortable in. Participants were asked thought-provoking, tailored questions to best allow their experiences and expertise in this subject matter to be reflected through their stories and thoughts.
Instructional Writer Jayinee Basu noted that the writers “wanted to ground this course in the lived experiences of real people so the human element wasn’t lost–humans are social animals and we care about each other’s stories.”
Our Hope for the Diversity Training Course
This project was groundbreaking for our company, as it is not only a significant and sensitive topic to navigate, it is also the first course LawRoom powered by EverFi has created together post-acquisition. The marriage of two compliance training companies has only strengthened our mission by combining even more people who care about these issues and by fusing their talents and perspectives into what we hope is one cohesive and successful course.
LawRoom (powered by EverFi) delivers online training to help your business meet compliance requirements both dynamically and scalably. In addition to our award-winning online courses, LawRoom delivers a robust, cloud-based learning management system to help you easily deploy and track our growing library of ethics, anti-harassment, data security and employee conduct courses.