How Retailers Can Condition Their Workforce for Inclusivity and Diversity
Sephora closed 400 stores across the U.S. earlier this year for an hour-long diversity and inclusion training following claims of racial profiling in-store. While certainly a necessary action for the cosmetic retailer to take, a sensitive and inclusive workforce isn’t built in an hour. It takes a complete overhaul of attitudes, behaviors and practices for HR, managers and employees.
This type of shift in workplace culture depends on training and development. To be successful, however, training programs need to extend beyond a required workshop session here or a lengthy lecture there. They must be far more comprehensive and intuitive.
From the CEO to a Cashier, Learning Opportunities Need to Be Accessible to All
In order for companies like Sephora to bounce back after an incident, all employees — from the C-suite to in-store staff — need to have access to continuous learning opportunities. This means constant exposure to trainings that emphasize your company’s mission, as well as personalized guidance as to how each employee contributes to that overall goal. This type of 24/7, on-demand approach to learning and development ensures that best practices become ingrained and adopted more rapidly.
Making training mobile compatible, for example, is a critical element of this strategy. Doing so ensures employees can always access information at the point of need. In retail, when day-to-day functions are often unpredictable, having that resource to rely on is critical to mitigating the risk of misjudgments happening at your company.
Ditch the Guidebook and Let Your Employees Learn Through Experience
The fast pace of change and historically high turnover in the retail industry makes delivering adequate training a challenge. To maximize the benefits of training under these circumstances, employees need to have access to hands-on, experiential learning opportunities. When it comes to diversity and inclusion training in particular, experiential learning is the most impactful way to give employees an understanding of how to actually apply what they’re learning in the real world.
That’s not to say that experiential training is the only recommended approach. Actually, embracing a 70:20:10 model of learning, where 70 percent of learning happens via on-the-job experiences, 20 percent through interactions with peers, and just 10 percent in traditional environments gives employees a range of learning opportunities, from hands-on to social to instructor-led, which not only ensures they’re well-rounded, but heightens their engagement with the learning content itself.
Give Employees the Tools to Carve Their Own Learning Paths
Diversity and inclusion training should go hand-in-hand with being able to ask questions, raise concerns, and seek input from colleagues. Traditionally rigid training programs that adhere to a singular format don’t allow participants to do this. Investing in artificial intelligence-powered learning technology that’s rooted in enabling social connections allows employees to question what they’re learning and have debates and discussions with their peers, ultimately resulting in a deeper understanding of the information.
AI-powered training not only enables businesses to facilitate social connections, but it also delivers personalized, adaptive learning experiences that can be customized based on individual job roles. For example, a sales associate requires a separate set of skills than a security guard, and will therefore have a different perception of learning content. AI-powered learning platforms allow different employees to personalize what, when and how they learn so they get the most out of training.
Furthermore, traditional training formats don’t provide HR executives the level of insight necessary to identify skills gaps or recognize those that are excelling. Taking learning digital allows executives to track employee progress and identify opportunities for restructuring or reskilling before mistakes happen.
Conditioning your workforce for inclusion and diversity doesn’t happen overnight. There needs to be an established culture of constant and continuous development. Supplying employees with resources to embrace learning is the first and most important step toward achieving this.
Lindsey Davison is the product communications manager at Docebo, a SaaS learning management system.
Lindsey Davison is the communications manager at Docebo, an AI-powered learning platform working with more than 1,300 companies around the world including Starbucks, Uber and HubSpot for training and development and diversity and inclusion initiatives. She is the published author of Milan & Beyond: Moon Guide of the Moon Travel Series.