Introduction

In recent years, the promotion of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) has become an imperative in the workplace. Paying attention to people and valuing diversity have become central to many companies, including ours. In this context, we have developed an innovative training program on DE&I using the virtual environment. Let's discover our proposal together, focusing on virtual training methods and the value of diversity in the corporate environment. But first let's brush up on the basics: what we mean by Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are key concepts that relate to accepting and valuing differences among people in an environment, whether it is the workplace, the community or society as a whole.

Diversity refers to all differences that characterize people, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, physical ability, social class, education, and more. These differences can be visible or invisible and make each individual unique. Diversity is an asset because it offers a variety of perspectives, experiences and knowledge.

Equity: The term "Equity" refers to fair treatment for all people, so that current norms, practices, and policies ensure that identity is not predictive of opportunities or outcomes in the workplace. Equity differs from equality in subtle but important ways. While equality assumes that all people should be treated equally, equity takes into account a person's unique circumstances, tailoring treatment accordingly so that the end result is equal.

Inclusion is the process of ensuring that all people, regardless of their differences, are fully involved, respected and valued in a given environment. Inclusion promotes a sense of belonging and acceptance so that no one feels marginalized or discriminated against. The goal is to create an environment where everyone can contribute fully and benefit from their participation.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) training for a company is designed precisely to make employees aware of diversity, equity, and inclusion issues, with the goal of fostering a work environment that welcomes and values differences among employees, creating a more equitable, respectful, and productive organization. Inclusion in business seeks to combat discrimination, bias, social exclusion, inequality of opportunity, and other challenges that may arise because of differences among employees.

Now that we have clarity on the three key concepts, let's see together how to bring them into the company through our training program.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Training

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) aims to create a welcoming and respectful work environment. Traditional training on DE&I involves instructors, presentations, and group discussions. However, challenges arise with the need to engage diverse audiences on a global scale.

Virtual training: global accessibility and time flexibility

Virtual training emerges as an ideal solution, eliminating geographical barriers and enabling employees to participate regardless of their location. Hourly flexibility accommodates variable work schedules, ensuring broad participation and increased adherence to training sessions.

Virtual embodiment: experiencing DE&I firsthand

We introduce virtual embodiment, a practice that uses avatars in virtual environments. This approach provides an immersive experience, enhancing empathy and reducing implicit bias. Users can literally "step into the shoes" of different people, having experiences that challenge biases and stereotypes. Such an approach not only actively involves participants but also transports them into a realistic context, facilitating understanding of different perspectives.

Implicit Association Test and Toronto Empathy Questionnaire: measuring impact

We always measure impact to assess the effectiveness of our program, using the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to examine participants' implicit associations. This instrument reveals automatic and unconscious <aa41>reactions, which are crucial for understanding biases and stereotypes. In addition, the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire (TEQ) measures empathy, providing data on participants' empathic abilities. Through these instruments, we can quantify and assess the change in participants' perceptions and skills.

Linking it All: the Metaverse and Immersive Training.

We take virtual training to the next level with the use of the metaverse. Here, participants interact in a virtual environment, dealing with D&I-related situations. This approach offers a more immersive and engaging experience, although it requires technological investment. However, this investment results in deeper and longer-lasting learning as participants are immersed in scenarios that require understanding and practical application of skills related to diversity and inclusion.

Conclusions

Virtual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion training is an innovative step toward creating inclusive workplaces. The use of virtual embodiment, psychological testing and exploration of the metaverse contribute to effective and engaging learning. Investing in DE&I not only is morally right but also results in a tangible business benefit. Data collected through tools such as the IAT and TEQ highlight the progress made and provide insights to further improve our approach.

Final note:

This case study demonstrates how virtual training can be a powerful engine for promoting DE&I in the enterprise. Adaptable to specific needs, it offers an innovative and engaging approach that brings long-term benefits. Our experience shows that investing in diversity and inclusion not only improves corporate culture but also contributes to a more productive and collaborative work environment.

Sources:

  1. "Diversity and Inclusion: The Reality Gap" in Deloitte Insights: An in-depth report that explores the current state of diversity and inclusion in companies, emphasizing the importance of effective strategies.
  2. "Virtual Reality as a Training Tool for Enhancing D&I" published in Harvard Business Review: This article discusses the use of virtual reality as a tool for enhancing diversity and inclusion training, drawing on case studies and research.
  3. "The Impact of Implicit Association on Workplace Diversity" in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: A scientific study examining how implicit association tests can reveal and influence diversity dynamics in the workplace.
  4. "Empathy in the Workplace: A Tool for Effective Leadership" in Center for Creative Leadership: A white paper that explores how measuring empathy, such as through the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire, can play a crucial role in leadership and diversity management.
  5. "Exploring the Metaverse: A New Frontier for D&I Training" on Forbes: An article discussing the potential of the metaverse as an innovative environment for diversity and inclusion training, highlighting use cases and potential benefits.

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Frontiere
06/02/2024
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