Make Your Training Work: It’s Time to Chuck the Box!

Do your workplace training programs help reduce instances of discrimination, harassment, and other improper conduct? Or are they simply an annual check-the-box ritual, which at best helps build defenses to legal claims but accomplishes nothing much more?

The good news is that with the proper ingredients in place, training not only helps prevent improper behavior but can contribute to a workplace that is inclusive, professional, and civil. The result is a culture that enables colleagues to work together most effectively and further their agency’s important public mission. What are those proper ingredients? You might envision legal lectures, presenting hypotheticals for discussion, asking participants to answer questions or respond to online quizzes, and documenting attendance. Unfortunately, those won’t achieve the desired result.

For training to impact behavior and change what may be long-standing conduct, it must be shaped and reinforced by the organization’s commitment to building lawful, professional and civil workplaces. In turn, learning must be engaging, realistic, and memorable, and provide applicable content related to participants’ roles and responsibilities. It must also address both sides of this equation: long-standing behavior patterns that lead people to either perpetrate uncivil behavior or create an aversion to speaking up and intervening as bystanders.

This session will address a strategy and structure for changing behavior and culture and include a practical example used in a federal agency’s workplace. Participants will learn:

1. the role of the 5 Cs (Commitment, Communication, Content [related to learning experiences],Consequences and Continuity) and how they contribute to an inclusive culture;

2. a model for delivering workplace training to maximize its impact: it must matter to participants, be simple to understand and apply, and must stick (be sustained beyond the immediate impact of class or online learning experiences);

3. how learning has actually been deployed in a federal workplace using principles addressed in this session and the impact of this approach as reported by U.S. government agencies in the EEOC’s June 2016 Harassment Report.

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