Using L&D to create a culture of inclusivity

North America Sales Manager Patrick Burns and General Manager for the USA, Rob Camp, describe how Mind Tools can play an integral part in fostering an inclusive culture.

Written by Mind Tools
Published 17 May 2021
Using L&D to create a culture of inclusivity

Although organizations across industries operate on different business models, they share a common challenge when it comes to executing their L&D strategy: They struggle to engage and connect with employees who don't work from a computer or sit at a desk throughout the day—from consumer-facing personnel to factory floor workers. This is increasingly the case as more organizations endeavor to switch from traditional classroom learning to hybrid or digital learning. 

We've spoken with dozens of L&D leaders who aren’t sure how to approach creating an online learning model that will be inclusive of all employees. It’s a challenge that I enjoy working with them to solve, and one that I will elaborate on in this article. 

Understanding and overcoming inclusivity challenges  

There is quite a disconnect between how management and individual contributors view inclusivity in the workplace. While 70% of leaders feel they’re creating an empowering, participatory environment, only 40% of employees agree, according to Accenture’s Getting to Equal 2020 report. That’s quite a perception gap. 

When considering this statistic through the prism of your business, who are the employees most likely to feel left out? Probably your non-office staff, and it’s no wonder when you consider the various in-office initiatives and opportunities they are regularly excluded from, including L&D.  

Many leaders focus L&D efforts only on office workers and managers—an unconscious bias that doesn’t contribute to an inclusive work environment. While these employees are integral in driving business initiatives, their direct reports and the business’ non-desk workers are vital to success, too. Empowering those employees to take responsibility for themselves and their workloads allows management to focus on higher-level priorities.   

By implementing an L&D strategy that covers all employees across the organization, regardless of whether they need a computer for their day-to-day tasks, you’re also creating a culture of mutual respect where everyone feels supported and encouraged to improve their skills. Although some employees don’t work from an office right now, they have the potential for growth and could make lateral or upward movements within your organization. 

These non-desk employees are often under-resourced, but L&D leaders could make a big impact with the right learning strategy and tactics. 

Changing the message around inclusivity in learning, and how Mind Tools can be part of that 

Shifting to a culture of inclusivity starts with changing the message that your actions are sending to employees. What you want them to receive is, “Regardless of where you are in our organization, you matter.” Getting this message across sincerely can improve employees’ happiness, attitude and how supported they feel by their employer. 

To do this successfully, use the “show, don't tell” technique. Words may not always be interpreted as genuine, but actions are unmistakable. 

Mind Tools for Business can play an integral part. Our learning toolkit was designed to empower all levels of learners to develop their skills and perform better at work, regardless of qualifications or job title. The fact that Mind Tools is available on-demand and online makes it even more suitable for a distributed workforce.  

This is directly related to the online learning challenge that many L&D leaders struggle with. But the reality is that it doesn’t have to be a challenge. Employees may not need a computer to do their job, but that doesn't mean that they're not tech savvy Outside of work, they’re using digital capabilities like online banking, Netflix, eSigning and social media. If they can sign in and navigate their way through a digital platform, then they can use Mind Tools for Business.  

Millions of people access our content while they’re at their work, but they also log in at home when there’s more time to focus on learning. Individuals care about their career, and you’ll see that rising stars will take time during their commute, at night and on weekends to develop or hone their skills.  

Giving all your employees the ability to access learning content on demand is part of building a culture of inclusivity. It also facilitates “pull” learning, which is interest and need based. Employees are more engaged when given this opportunity, rather than scheduled in-person learning that pushes the wrong content at the wrong time. That’s why providing flexible learning opportunities that your people can access anywhere, at any time should be a top priority for L&D leaders. 

How Mind Tools for Business can advance your L&D inclusivity strategy 

When an organization partners with Mind Tools for Business, it sends a clear message to their employees that L&D is available to all, and you don't need to be a manager or in upper levels of the business to have access to continuous learning. 

Mind Tools for Business is for every level of learner and boasts a wealth of skill-building content presented in a variety of formats to appeal to all learning styles, helping organizations like yours meet their L&D goals. We’d love to show you around our toolkit. Get in touch with the team to book your demo.

About the author

Mind Tools

Mind Tools

Mind Tools was started in 1996 to offer practical online learning to people in the workplace.

By the time they joined Emerald in March 2019, they had grown into the one of the world’s most comprehensive learning resources, with millions of individual learners in 50 countries worldwide.

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