As a large media company this organization was highly aware of the influence they had with audiences across the world. Although they already had existing D&I and racial training within the organization, they were looking for a next level approach which would really engage the company from top down with the conversation on race and provide practical guidance on how employees at each level of the business could mitigate bias and be effective advocates for ethnically diverse team members and audiences.
To be successful on this project, the client had three challenging requirements which would need to be met:
- Firstly, they wanted to ensure that any training or workshops provided were aligned with the current company culture and had content that reflected the real life experiences of ethnically diverse individuals within their own business
- Secondly, they wanted sessions to be as impactful as possible for each level of the organization so the needs of each audience would have to be understood and sessions would need to be highly tailored.
- Thirdly, the organization distributed media across every continent where racism plays out with regional nuance so this would need to be reflected in any learning and tools provided.
Before we could plan the content for any form of training, it was essential that we got under the skin of the organization to understand the culture as viewed by different employees and connect with the lived experiences of the diverse individuals who worked there. This information would be able to inform any content we created and provide impactful real-life examples for leaders and colleagues on how bias and microaggressions affects different individuals within the organization.
Working with the client we conducted a ‘listening tour’ which consisted of facilitated safe spaces where different groups of employees could openly talk about race (especially in response to the Atlanta shootings which took place during the tour) and share their own personal experiences and opinions. We also asked C Suite to complete a survey so we could see how their perceptions aligned with those from the wider organization.
All this informed the content and delivery for a set of tailored workshops for C Suite, VPs, PMs, and then wider employees. At the senior level we were able to use ‘the voices’ within the company to bring key company challenges to light such as the fact that people felt that there was a lack of advocacy from leaders and that work around inclusion was being left to employees from marginalized groups themselves.
Making these issues real for participants helped to increase the personal impact of the workshops and the commitment to practical action plans for action.