Six ways to make your learning programs more inclusive
It’s no secret that the business world is competitive. One way to stay one step ahead is to make sure all the employee has access to the best learning programs available, which means your learning programs should be inclusive.
Let’s look at six ways to ensure your learning programs are accessible and inclusive for all employees:
Understand the definition of inclusion
To create an inclusive employee learning program, you must first understand what inclusion means.
Inclusion is about ensuring that all people have equal access to opportunities and resources. This includes people of all races, genders, abilities, religions and socio-economic backgrounds.
Beyond that, making sure your employees feel welcome, respected and valued is the foundation of any inclusive learning program.
Let’s dive into six important inclusion strategies.
1. Make sure your workplace is accessible to everyone
An accessible workplace is the first step in creating an inclusive learning environment. This means that your workplace is free from physical, behavioral and technological barriers. The accessibility of the workplace offers opportunities for everything employees to participate in learning programs and reach their full potential.
Steps to make your workplace more accessible include:
Provide employees with any necessary accommodations (eg, assistive technology, interpreters, captioning).
Make sure your workplace is physically accessible (e.g. wheelchair accessible, Braille signage).
Publish e-learning material in an accessible format
Create alternate versions of learning materials (eg, audio, video).
2. Create flexible learning opportunities
Employees should have the opportunity to learn in the way that best suits them. Some might prefer hands-on learning, while others learn best through lectures or reading.
Using a variety of teaching methods ensures that all employees can absorb the material or develop the skills they need in the most effective way.
Ways to make your learning more flexible for employees include:
Offer lessons in different formats (e.g. text, audio, video)
Create self-paced courses
Allow employees to choose when and where they learn
3. Encourage open communication
Employees need to feel comfortable communicating with co-workers and managers, which means having multiple methods of communication.
Fostering open communication creates an environment in which all employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas, which can ultimately lead to a more productive and innovative workplace.
You can promote communication by:
Maintain an open door policy
Encourage employees to ask questions
Expose and promote transparency in the workplace
Encourage the formation of employee resource groups
Create an anonymous feedback channel/process
4. Create a supportive environment
Employees must feel that they are part of a supportive community. This can mean policies such as zero tolerance for harassment or discrimination, and actively cultivating a collaborative and respectful culture to lay the foundation for a supportive environment.
You can also foster a sense of belonging by providing employees with opportunities to engage with their colleagues both internally and externally in the community.
Consider ideas such as:
Offer mentoring programs
Facilitate employee resource groups
Encourage employees to participate in charities
5. Provide employees with the resources they need to succeed
All employees should have easy access to the tools, equipment or materials needed to do their job well. This could include new software training, upskilling or mentorship opportunities.
Giving your employees the resources they need to successfully fulfill their role and learn new skills can help maintain inclusion over time and boost employee confidence and performance.
6. Celebrate employee diversity and uniqueness
It is an essential part of creating an inclusive environment and learning agenda, and can spark innovation by bringing out unique perspectives.
Benefits of an inclusive learning program
- Improved employee morale: When employees feel included, they are more likely to stay engaged and have a positive attitude.
- Increased productivity: Inclusive workplaces are generally more productive. When people feel valued and appreciated, they tend to try harder and achieve better results.
- Attracting and retaining top talent: The best and brightest people want to work for companies that valuing diversity and inclusion. By making your learning programs more inclusive, you can attract and retain top talent.
- More innovation: Inclusive workplaces are more likely to foster creativity and innovation because employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and are more likely to take risks.
How Software Can Help Your Inclusion Efforts
There are tools that can help you put this advice into practice and make your learning programs more inclusive.
- Online learning platforms can be used to develop and deliver online courses. They often include features like quizzes and assessments to help employees track their progress and ensure courses are available to employees anytime and anywhere.
- Learning management systems are designed to manage employee training programs with features like progress tracking and certification. An LMS can help ensure that all employees have access to the resources they need to succeed.
- Collaboration tools can facilitate teamwork with features such as chat and file sharing. These tools can be essential in creating an environment where all employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas.