Building an inclusive and equitable workplace is a priority for many organizations this year. The social unrest of 2020 called organizations to reexamine their company cultures and make necessary changes. This includes examining corporate values, hiring practices, leadership demographics, decision-making processes, and opportunities for employee development and advancement within the organization. Many organizations are realizing that doing nothing is unacceptable. 

This edition of Training Industry Magazine examines the role of learning and development (L&D) in building equitable workplaces. Feature articles address a variety of challenges facing organizations today, including practicing inclusive leadership, leading with authenticity in a hybrid world, creating opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations that promote community and inclusivity, and raising the bar on diversity training.   

Creating and sustaining real change requires organization-wide effortsIt’s going to take more than one diversity training class to change perspectives, behaviors and mindsets. Business leaders will need to reevaluate all aspects of the organization to ensure the company culture promotes career growth and progression for all employees 

L&D can ensure employees have access to professional development and advancement opportunities, as well as create opportunities to amplify voices and perspectives by sponsoring employee resource and focus groups to get feedback and insights into the business. Those contributions should be formally recognized within the organization 

L&D can also be tapped to leverage their core skills in deploying training at scale and with speed.  Traditional diversity and inclusion teams lack the capacity to support mass change initiatives, but for many L&D teams, rolling out those programs is a core competency. L&D professionals have the capability to encourage participation, track progress and, most importantly, design programs that align with the company’s longterm vision. In conversations with heads of L&D and several companies, I am hearing this participation has already begun.  

Building a workplace culture that values and supports employees at all levels and roles is an ongoing journey. As the business evolves, leaders must ensure they have a finger on the pulse of their organizational cultures and be prepared to make changes when necessary. People are the heart of organizations – and learning leaders play an important role in providing employees with access to the development they need to progress in their current and future roles 

As always, we love to hear your thoughts on the perspectives shared in this edition. Feel free to send any suggestions for us to consider.