Critical Factors in Selecting Diversity Trainers

It is important that those making the selection represent the desired diversity of the organization and have considerable experience in Training and Development training.

You’ve been asked to select internal trainers to deliver Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training—now what?

In response to the killing of many Black citizens by those in authority, and the growing awareness of bias in our communities and workplaces, organizations are looking to identify internal trainers to deliver training on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Training on sensitive topics like these can be a minefield for those who think this can be handled the same way as a program on time management, for example.

Below are recommendations for organizations looking to identify suitable internal candidates to deliver Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs. Looking internally for a trainer provides the advantage of giving the assignment to someone who is aligned with the organization’s culture. However, there are danger zones that can be reduced when applying these criteria. These recommendations are based on training hundreds of corporate trainers over the last decade on diversity-related topics. For those interested in the best practices in the process of designing, developing, and deploying a train-the-trainer (TTT) program on this topic, check out this previous column.

Organizations must be extremely judicious in selecting the right facilitators to deliver DEI training. Do not select trainers only because they took a course on diversity, see this topic as “their passion,” or are from an underrepresented group. All of these factors can positively impact the competence of the trainers, but they should not be the only criteria.

In terms of assessment tools to help in the selection of internal DEI trainers, there are two types of assessments:

 A. Open-Ended Questions

 B. Numerical Self-Identifying Assessment

Open-Ended Questions

Using an open-ended assessment instrument such as the one below can be helpful in selecting the right candidates.

  • Why do you want to teach this program?
  • Why do you think this is important for our organization?
  • Are you willing to learn about the psychology of bias?
  • What would you see as successful outcomes of the program?
  • How familiar are you with the concepts, theories, activities, resources, books, podcasts, YouTubes, videos, films and broadcast programs, articles, art, and music that are part of the diversity and inclusion landscape? Please give examples.
  • Can you give an experience where you handled sensitive issues in a training program?
  • What lived experiences have you had that would contribute to the authenticity of your delivery of DEI programs?
  • How comfortable are you with discussing sensitive issues?
  • How will you cover this topic objectively?
  • What additional experiences have you had that would help you with this topic?
  • What process would you employ to pro-actively collect, monitor, retain, and report on the action plans developed by the participants in the programs you deliver?

Numerical Assessment Process

Have participants rank themselves on the following statements, where 1=Very Little and 5=Very Strong:

___ You have attended professional meetings, conferences, courses, workshops, and seminars that focus on inclusion in the workplace.

___ You participate in community service projects that promote diversity and inclusion in your community.

___ You are sensitive to differences in sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, age, physical and mental ability, and religion.

___ You enjoy taking responsibility for projects, and exhibit tact and professionalism.

___ You have an interest in helping organizations create diverse and inclusive workplaces.

___You possess an undergraduate degree or equivalent in social science (e.g., psychology, sociology, social work, communication, etc.)

___ You have a reputation as empathetic facilitator.

___ You possess a non-threatening and inclusive style of training.

___ You have a strong desire to understand and learn about and teach programs on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Unconscious Bias.

___ You have many relevant experiences that will enhance this course.

___ You would be willing to pro-actively collect, monitor, retain, and report on the action plans developed by the participants in the programs you deliver.

Organizations can employ both assessments types. If they do, it would be best to conduct the numerical assessment first to identify the strongest candidates. It is important that those making the selection represent the desired diversity of the organization and have considerable experience in Training and Development training. Selecting external vendors would require additional factors not covered here. If you have any questions or experiences regarding the selection and development of internal or external trainers, contact me at ngoodman@global-dynamics.com. All inquiries will be confidential.

Neal Goodman, Ph.D., is president of Global Dynamics, Inc., a training and development firm specializing in globalization, cultural intelligence, effective virtual workplaces, and diversity and inclusion. He can be reached at 305.682.7883 and at ngoodman@global-dynamics.com. For more information, visit http://www.global-dynamics.com.

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