How diversity and inclusion training has changed for the better

26th August 2015

In 2002, I launched the first Marshall E-Learning diversity and inclusion’?training course. I used to spend a lot of time explaining what diversity training was.

Back then, the first bullet point on my website said:

‘??This e-learning module has been designed for companies who are concerned about avoiding the negative publicity and high costs created from recent discrimination and harassment cases.’??

And that was all that people wanted.

I would often be called into boardrooms and told??we have identified employee litigation as a high priority on our risk register due to equal opportunities legislation’??.

But most of the work was with the public sector who needed to show compliance with the then race relations amendment act. City institutions and the public sector formed the bulk of my work.

So how has that changed over the past 13 or so years?

Clients do not talk to me about mitigating risk from employee litigation anymore. They want to show employees they really take diversity seriously as they know people want to work in modern, liberal organisations where they are free to be themselves and work allocation, performance management and recruitment are meritocratic.

It is very gratifying to see in 2015 the breadth of organisations investing in diversity training, with a great deal of focus lately on the tech sector, as made clear by Facebook making their internal diversity training available.

This shows how diversity has become integral to a modern organisation’??s brand as being an employer of choice. No one wants to work for a stale organisation.

Back in 2002, when I first started Marshall E-Learning, I was interested in this notion of diversity not so much as something to comply with but a philosophy which meant we did not judge people by two dimensional criteria. Bill Clinton said this at The Richard Dimbleby Lecture in 2014:

‘??Somewhere along the way, we finally come to understand that our life is more than all these boxes we’re in. And that if we can’t reach beyond that, we’ll never have a fuller life. And the fanatics of the world, they love their boxes and they hate yours.’??

Diversity awareness is both good for business now but more importantly a way of understanding and working with others.

For example, our new Managing Diversity and Inclusion training course, which we developed in partnership with The Employer’??s Network for Equality and Inclusion (enei), moves away from focusing just on equality strands – such as race, disability, gender – but rather to workplace themes that everyone can identify with, like work allocation, performance management and work life balance.

Here we commissioned enei to update our content with a contemporary focus. What’??s more, existing Marshall clients can get this course as an upgrade.

So, how has diversity and inclusion training changed?

Overall, it used to be about compliance but now it is about being an employer of choice, a place where talented people want to go and work.

I think that’??s a better approach for companies everywhere.

Now I’??m looking forward to seeing what other changes are ahead.

– David Marshall, Founder and Managing Director, Marshall E-Learning

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