To create more equitable, diverse, and inclusive organizations, we must acknowledge that racial and gender inequities are inherent and systemic in most employment strategies–including leadership development and training processes. In other words, workplace learning is unfair. Some team members have access to a variety of personal and professional development opportunities while others have no access or flexibility.
It’s time to shift our thinking and start looking harder at our systems of power and how our workplace reinforces inequities. In this case, it requires looking at our existing power structures and how we reinforce them. Many of the learning and leadership development systems, programs, and resources that are put into place are not equally accessible to everyone across the board, especially those who are on the front line.
Only 58 percent of frontline employees receive regular learning opportunities. When the pandemic pushed people to take on new tasks or transfer into new roles, only 48% were provided with learning opportunities. Redesigning training and leadership programs to be equitable can be a key intervention to ultimately designing more equitable workplaces.
When considering the training programs offered at your company, reflect on the following to evaluate how accessible they are by answering the following questions:
Then, consider how funding for training is allocated and prioritized. According to research conducted by Guild, for every $1 spent on training for white employees, $0.81 is spent on training for Black employees, and $0.68 is spent on Latino/a/e employees. This inequity in training will permeate through organizational culture and the development of future managers and senior leaders. How are your training programs funded and who is eligible for full employer-sponsored training? In one case study when the employer provided fully-funded development opportunities across to everyone on the team, they saw substantial participation increases. There was a 100% increase in Black participants, a 216% increase in Asian participants, and a 187% increase in Latino/a/e participants.
Shifting priorities in training and development won’t happen all at once but it’s an important step in designing a more equitable system to build a more diverse leadership pipeline.
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