How do you engage employees in practicing more inclusive behaviors?

November 7, 2023

The results are in.

CultureALL DEI Planning consultants started you on the path to growing and developing inclusive behaviors by measuring how your organization interacts with diversity.

See Step 1: Measure

The data from the IDI has revealed your organization’s current capacity to accept and adapt to differences. You met with CultureALL’s DEI Planning consultants and started to understand how your life experiences have shaped how you interact with diversity. You have begun to gain clarity about the kinds of activities that will improve your team’s ability to be inclusive and equity-minded.

Now what do you do with this information? 

Next, we’ll use that data to engage your employees in developmental activities so that you can achieve a workplace culture where people from a wide range of backgrounds feel connected and valued. 

Step 2: Engage

How can you engage employees in DEI work that will support their growth and development? This is a question that often leaves organizations feeling stuck and unsure of how to move forward. 

You might be asking yourself:

What activities will benefit our employees and customers the most?

How do we engage with training in a meaningful and impactful way? 

How can we ensure we’re investing in training that will bring about change? 

There are a variety of ways to practice engaging with diversity, but not all are equal. 

  • Once-and-done trainings don’t allow for continued and consistent progress. 
  • One-size-fits-all sessions don’t tailor activities for employees who are working with the 5 different mindsets along the continuum. 
  • Activities that are too challenging are just as unproductive as those that are not challenging enough. Rigor and relevance are important factors to keep in mind when planning DEI activities. 

The objective data you gathered in Step 1 indicates how your team members experience diversity. Each mindset requires engaging in activities with focus on different developmental areas to help your employees begin to accept and adapt to differences.

Developmental Focus for Each of the 5 Mindsets

Each developmental mindset requires tailored activities to support growth.

Engaging Employees across each of the Mindsets

Research shows that it takes 30 – 50 hours of intentional developmental activity to move from one mindset to the next. With a solid understanding of your team’s current capacity to accept and adapt to differences, you can set your goals to determine how you’d like to develop. CultureALL provides the resources and training to grow inclusive behaviors at every mindset along the continuum. 

Cultural workshops led by Ambassadors - CultureALL works with a network of 80+ Ambassadors from around the world who represent 45+ cultures. Ambassadors have a passion for sharing their cultures. They provide opportunities for hands-on interactions with different cultural traditions. Participants may create artwork, play an instrument, or cook a dish from a different culture. Personal interaction is the key component of the workshops, which broadens our perspectives and develops more inclusive behaviors. 

"The Ambassadors spoke from the heart about their cultures, families, and traditions. To move beyond minimization, we have to embrace and learn from other cultures. The rich culture that the Ambassadors shared and the conversations that followed were unique. They helped us to continue having follow up conversations and we learned how we can approach some of our other activities as we move forward ... CultureALL provides so many different learning opportunities for everyone." - Anthony Borich, Bankers Trust Employee Relations & Inclusion Officer

Open Book story sharing - Open Book is a community project that creates connections and builds social cohesion through story sharing events where “Books” are people and You are the “Reader.” Open Book’s unique format inspires dialogue and creates emotional connections between people – even when they have differing viewpoints. The Open Book story sharing format sets aside debates and agendas. It turns “sound bites” and rhetoric into something more tangible. Through the experience, both Books and Readers discover they have much in common and meaningful differences. 

“Since becoming a ‘workplace anywhere’ employer, we are always looking for ways to engage our employees. An experience like Open Book allowed our employees from across the country to learn about the experiences of someone else, ask questions and take away valuable information. Programs like Open Book contribute to our diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging goals by providing real-life experiences for our employees to hear about and then apply their knowledge to how they bring themselves to work each day. Our company is very committed to an empathetic culture and the mental and physical wellbeing of our employees, and having programs like Open Book provide unique ways for employees to engage with each other and non-profit organizations throughout the communities we serve.” - Carrie Clogg, Businessolver Foundation Director

Presentation: Beyond Iowa Nice - Many Iowans still live in the same county in which they were born. Although “Iowa Nice” describes Iowa’s reputation for friendliness towards strangers, few Iowans have had meaningful exposure, experience, education, or constructive emotional engagement with people whose life experiences are different from their own. This lack of opportunity to practice interacting with differences is what roots many Iowans in polarizing mindsets or leads them to minimize differences.

During the presentation, viewers meet a CultureALL Ambassador whose life experiences may differ significantly from many Iowans’. Their personal story prompts a brief moment of self-reflection when we consider how "others" might experience Iowa Nice. The presenters also examine Iowa’s changing demographics and explore strategies for building inclusive and welcoming communities in Iowa.

“The presentation challenges this notion of Iowa nice. There’s an intention vs. impact component. We tend to think that if our intentions are good, and we’re being nice, waving, or saying hello, then we’re being inclusive. But do folks really feel a sense of connection? Do they feel a sense of belonging just based on our external engagement? We might think we’re being nice, but often we’re just being tolerant, and probably not really inclusive. This really pushes folks to think about their own individualized experience and about what it really means to welcome people who are different into our community.” - Audrey Kennis, City of West Des Moines Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Online course: What is my culture? - This series guides your discovery of the cultural influences that impact your life. Knowing what has shaped your own thoughts and behaviors gives you powerful insight into the invisible forces that drive other people’s behaviors as well. In this series you will dive into some of the best resources that have been tested over many years and found to be most effective for understanding what has influenced your own beliefs and values. Completing this series will help you transform your relationships to be more meaningful and productive. 

"We wanted to do this training to provide the best service to our members and provide a positive environment for our employees. We all have to work together. We're going to have disagreements, and we have to understand where somebody else is coming from. This training helps boost the respect that's needed to move through those issues." - Jess Lundquist, Mainstream Living Human Resources Recruiter

Stay tuned to learn about step 3 of CultureALL's DEI Planning process and how we help you achieve your goals of developing inclusive behaviors.

The path to inclusivity requires intentional, meaningful work to establish an environment where everyone feels heard, seen, and valued. CultureALL DEI Planning has the skills and experience necessary to facilitate real, lasting change in your organization. Need a good friend to lighten the load on your DEI journey? Call us at 515.273.8569.

CultureALL believes that sharing the cultural richness of our community with others will elevate our society and the quality of life for all.