Elevate’s Inclusive Workplace Training Series is one of our most in-demand courses. Led by Elevate Founder and CEO Natasha Tony, the program fosters an environment where participants are encouraged to develop the skills that promote inclusive practices. It emphasizes proactive conflict resolution methods and enables individuals and their colleagues to build a common understanding of what a culture of accountability means within the workplace.
Entire organizations can benefit from this training series. We also offer custom inclusive workplace training designed for senior leadership — which is imperative when creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace culture.
Each session is interactive and includes opportunities for group discussion and personal reflection. At the end of the training, participants are invited to share any takeaways they will implement personally and professionally. The responses are most often illuminating and encouraging.
Similar themes emerge with each session and point to the support employees need to be part of an inclusive organization. Specifically, the following three concepts influence and stick with participants long after the training is finished:
1. Recognizing and responding to microaggressions and their impact on individuals and teams.
In our training, we discuss the impacts of discrimination on both the individual and on organizational culture. However, one topic that participants gravitate towards understanding at a deeper level is microaggressions. Some are familiar with the concept — many more are not.
Microaggressions are a subtle, often unintentional, form of discrimination. Rather than being overt, they can take the shape of a causal comment, an inadvertently painful joke, or insult. Microaggressions have a profoundly negative impact on the people they are directed toward. This can include feelings of isolation, a lack of self-worth and a deterioration in their psychological health and safety. Human Rights decisions in Canada clearly indicate that microaggressions contribute to a poisoned workplace.
During the session, we show All the Little Things by Meena Aiyttey. This short but impactful video on microaggressions encourages an empathic understanding of unaddressed biases and their harmful effect on co-workers.
When individuals develop an awareness of microaggressions and the psychological harm they cause, there is the potential to reduce occurrences. For example, here’s what some of our participants shared with us:
“I now recognize that microaggressions are not micro! I will use the tools given during the training to address any microaggressions that I see or hear.”
“I loved the shared tool for handling microaggressions. I will use this guidance to interrupt microaggressions.”
“I will definitely use the calling-in and calling-out phrases provided. I also liked the paraphrase and reflect-back communication approaches we practiced. They put the onus on the microaggressor to think more about their comment and provide a real teaching moment.”
Eliminating the incidence of microaggressions makes for healthier teams, a more inclusive workplace and supports the psychological health and safety of people who have been historically marginalized.
Another key factor is to equip team members with the tools to interrupt microaggressions when they occur. Essentially, that means becoming more than a bystander.
2. Challenging discriminatory behaviour: Shifting from avoidance to effective interventions
Becoming more than a bystander calls for a proactive approach to challenging discriminatory behaviour rather than passively observing and assuming others will take action. It means developing an inclusive practice where you commit to learning intercultural communication skills and strategies and building the “muscle of moral courage” to intervene.
Participants in Elevate’s Inclusive Workplace training series often express appreciation for the intervention techniques they practice in the sessions:
“Thank you for this essential training. Using the Interrupting Bias – Call In vs Call Out resources are two things that really stood out to me. I will implement these practices both at work and personally.”
“Through practice and open discussion, these tools and resources provide me with a better understanding of how to graduate from bystander to ally!”
Another aspect of allyship is being able to “decentre” yourself, which means moving from seeing issues through your own perspective to considering other worldviews and experiences.
According to an article from Baylor University, “Decentering ourselves in conversations with marginalized groups allows us to understand additional perspectives and provides an opportunity for those who are affected to be seen and heard.”
That sentiment also reflects what Elevate training participants tell us:
“I feel empowered to act instead of being avoidant, and I will make sure that I’m more open to others’ lived experiences.”
Decentering is just one of the intercultural communication skills that Elevate facilitates. Our Inclusive Leadership and Inclusive Workplace training also explores effective and authentic conflict resolution approaches that can be incorporated into participants’ inclusive practices.
3. Make a PACT with yourself and your team.
The final “ah ha” moment participants often share with us is the realization that it takes Practice, Accountability, Commitment and Time (PACT) to develop the knowledge and skills to work inclusively.
One recent participant sums this up nicely, “This work is one of constant practice, collective brainstorming, creativity and flexibility.” Another person echoed a similar sentiment, “This is about ongoing learning and change, the adoption of new perspectives and the implementation of inclusive practices.”
We couldn’t agree more. These participant commitments and takeaways are a testament to the importance of coming together to deepen our collective awareness. They also speak to the need for a continuous commitment to developing an anti-oppression practice within organizations. Ongoing training and coaching sessions are vital for creating organizational culture shifts toward psychologically healthy workplaces.
*Note: We thank all our training participants. Your feedback helps inform our practice. If you’d like to discuss how we can support your organization on these themes or any other inclusion topic, email email@example.com.