L&D Digest

How to make Diversity and Inclusion something more than empty phrases, 80% of Spanish employees prefer online to traditional training and more. This is the L&D Digest for October 2020.

L&D Digest for October 2020

L&D Digest is your monthly rundown of the most important L&D news from European and global Learning and Development sources.

L&D Digest for October 2020 starts with our choice of the most important takeaways from the piece on Diversity and Inclusion at td.org. We will also tell you a bit about how UK frontline workers lack appropriate training during the pandemic. While in Spain 80% of workers prefer online to traditional training. Also in this edition: gender pay gap in Europe, how to finally make online learning work for your company (the same applies to schools), the benefits of digital coaching and how to get proximity management right.

The spotlight is on Diversity & Inclusion

The Association for Talent Development opened its editorial this month with a piece on Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace. According to the author, although D&I initiatives have long existed in the world of work, they fail to achieve results. 

The article uses the role of bias in D&I, not understood in a necessarily negative way, but in a way that helps with information processing. These are for example:

  • confirmation bias (people tend to seek out information that supports their existing beliefs),
  • negativity bias (people are more powerfully influenced by negative experiences than positive or neutral experiences),
  • attribution bias (people judge others on their actions but judge themselves based on their own intent).

Making progress on bias requires individuals to do these:

  • to identify. Bringing the unconscious to consciousness and identifying problematic biases. Consider deploying a thorough assessment for your leaders that speaks to bias in their decision making and their inclusion competence
  • to cope. Being on the receiving end of bias does real harm to a person’s overall sense of well-being. Recentering themselves through self-care, setting appropriate boundaries, seeking support, and having potentially difficult and confrontational conversations takes courage. Ensure that employees have multiple mechanisms for wellness and support. For example employee assistance programs, access to appropriate L&D, and employee resource groups.
  •  to be an ally. Consider education and communications that specifically highlight how to be an effective ally. What actions to take, what language to use, and how to build competence without burdening the population the ally is trying to support.
  • to advocate. Advocacy can feel risky. You know your organization is focused on business results, and a DEI conversation is not a sales conversation or operations discussion. But it is as important, and the courage to advocate is an accelerant for change.

Data can be a compelling tool for advocacy. Do you know and understand your organization’s data around the talent life cycle? How people get into the organization and levels of retention, engagement, and promotion across the organization by demographic and team? That data will tell a story that not only informs your advocacy but also gives you and your leadership a clear goal on what success looks like.

Each component of the talent life cycle is the responsibility of every leader in the organization. In your TD role, focusing on some initial best practices, in the form of questions, as you support leaders in this new mindset can make all the difference.

Getting hired:

Language matters. Does any of the language in a job description or job advertisement unnecessarily close who may see themselves in that role? For example, pronouns, prior work experience, or qualifications that may not be needed but are in place due to legacy or who formerly held the role.

Hiring panels. Are you collaborating to ensure multiple perspectives are part of the hiring process?

Contributing and engaging:

Onboarding. What do the first 90 days look like on your team? Does it look different for some people than it does for others?

Opportunity. How is work assigned? Does the team have equal access to your time and insights? If they don’t, what explains the difference?

Moving up:

Goals. Can you articulate what motivates each of your employees and where they see themselves in five years?

Succession plans. What does your short list look like? Does it reflect you, and is there opportunity to add an unexpected candidate to your succession plan?

Equitable and inclusive leadership is a requirement

Few leaders think intentionally about what it means to be an inclusive leader. But if your leadership is not inclusive, it can’t possibly be great, because someone is being left behind. And that mindset is perhaps the place where TD can have the biggest impact: transforming how companies see equitable and inclusive leadership from a nice-to-have to a must-have, a critical and required leadership competency moving forward.

When Are Individuals Most Susceptible to Biased Thinking?

Consider these three circumstances as you approach decisions, conversations, and reactions that affect your team:

  • Information overload
  • Facts over feelings
  • Need for speed

Build competence in the area of mindfulness, and create space between those circumstances and important decisions or interactions. Space in the form of downtime between meetings and prep time before difficult conversations can make all the difference in terms of knocking out the negative impacts of bias.

Plan D&I all along the talent life cycle.

Meet HCM Deck

How to make online learning work for your company this year

Neil Khaund published an article in Forbes, where he compared the struggles in L&D within complex organizations to similar struggles in Academia. The author gives tips to both worlds, to help both the teachers and the trainers lighten the digital learning load for all participants. 

1. Adjust your instructional approach from straight lecture to dialogue-based techniques

Adopt direct two-way dialogue if you have very small class sizes (one to three participants). With larger groups, explore the Socratic method, which should help generate more lively participation among attendees. You can also consider asking employees who are participating in remote training to present a topic for discussion.

2. Limit the time allotted for each session. 

Keep classes to 35-40 minutes. 

3. Don’t worry about the size of a session

Use small group work or paired projects to better reinforce a tighter focus and ensure you’re effectively driving knowledge acquisition in participants. If you can tailor these projects to the attendees’ work roles and functions, you’ll generally experience a higher degree of focus and engagement from attendees.

4. Assess often. 

Assessments are key, whether you’re teaching 10th-grade algebra or training new hires on company policies. The more you understand exactly what and how much knowledge participants are actually acquiring, the more you can remediate to optimize that process.

However, it’s also critical to make sure projects that are designed for evaluation don’t add to the already outsized stress loads the participants are carrying. Instead, look for ways to create assessments that are low-stress. Aim to make them entertaining whenever you can. 

Gender pay gap not to close until 2104

The EU’s gender pay gap won’t be eliminated until 2104, according to a new report by one of Europe’s largest workers’ unions.

The European Trade Union Confederation’s (ETUC) research demonstrates that at the current pace of change and unless action is taken, women won’t be paid the same as men until the beginning of next century at the very earliest.

According to estimations, Romania is on the way to be the first country in Europe to swiftly close the gap — already in 2022. The second country to close the gap would be Belgium — in 2028. 

Most of Western Europe countries are way behind on the way to make the pay equal, regardless of gender. In Italy and Germany, the gap won’t be closed until 2074 and 2121. While in France, at the present speed, it wouldn’t be eliminated for over 1000 years.

Frontline retail staff lack training for COVID-19 conditions

HR Director cited The State of Frontline Employee Training 2020 report which showed that over a third (35%) UK retail store associates said they felt underprepared to perform their role in the current environment. The number rises to 40% among grocery staff and supermarket workers – and nearly a fifth (19%) said they hadn’t received the proper training on the changes impacting their job during the pandemic.

Despite more than half (51%) of UK retail frontline workers saying they have received the training needed to perform effectively, a further 56% felt the training they had received had not been personalised to their skills, and a quarter (25%) felt the training lacked personalisation and didn’t cater towards their experience.

Carol Leaman, CEO and Co-Founder of Axonify, commented: “The frontline workforce has felt the full force of the impact of the global pandemic, and it’s shown that training and support is needed now more than ever, if we’re to unite and tackle the challenges we face.  But any training provided needs to be carefully considered – the requirements of the retail workforce have evolved, and retail businesses must adapt to ensure their cultures continue to empower their most valuable asset – their frontline staff.”

“Now is the time for retail businesses to nurture and support the frontline and ensure they have the skills to do their best work.  By making sure every frontline employee recognises the role they play in supporting the business and the customers and communities it serves, the greater the chance of survival.”

80% of employees prefer online to traditional training

According to a report on the research by Hexagone on a Spanish portal RR.HH,  now 80% of workers prefer the online learning to the previous, traditional one. The results and experiences seem to be even better than expected. 

Interestingly, the research finds that C-levels still prefer traditional training — but they comprise 2% of all those who are on the receiving end of digital training.

It’s yet another research that shows that HR and L&D leaders scan the market and search for digital learning solutions that guarantee ROI.

Network over digitalisation in L&D. Join us for a free virtual live conference for L&D Leaders – Best Practices Day 2020

Guidance to proximity management

The French soft skills portal Docendi published a guidance to proximity management for leaders. 

Here are the main takeaways from the publication:

  • Proximity management should have a set of rules. These would serve in case of any disputes, to be common reference. They are rather incentives than blockers and enable certain actions. 
  • to distinguish between the mission (the reason for being in a given job post) and the tasks (basic and indivisible units of work). This should allow to give coherent organisational guidelines to teams and every one of their members. 
  • Set clear goals for every coworker by taking into account the soft and hard skills they already have, the ones they are in the course of acquiring and the ones they still lack. 
  • put regular communication into work. Proximity communication gives the advantage of being able to be adapted to the personality of a given person. Here, the color method is called DISC©® to identify the dominant behavioral characteristics everyone has. (red, yellow, green and blue) to choose the best way to communicate. For example with a red coworker, you should get right to the point in your conversations, with a yellow one, you can support the relation and the convivial character and let them express themselves.
  • Communication should be interchangeably formal (announcements, information exchange regarding the projects) and informal (social exchanges not necessarily related to work). 
  • Show you’re available to your coworkers, tell them when they can reach you. To be a companion to your coworkers is an integral part of proximity management. 
  • Acknowledgement. Acknowledge and thank your coworkers individually and in front of your whole team. Make your acknowledgement Personalised, Reassuring, Equal, Constructive, Immediat, Sincere to get the best impact. 

Coaching (what can it help with)

French magazine Decideurs published an interview with Hugo Manoukian — CEO of MoovOne, a French digital coaching company. According to Manoukian, coaching is getting demystified and the move of coaching to the digital world makes coaching available to all companies without compromising the quality. Once in a while, every organisation needs an external insight and coaching can provide a strategic guidance to release human potential and change some of the practices common in a given workplace. 

Covid-19 seems to confirm that employee development should be personalised with regards to a specific employee. One size fits all education programmes do not necessarily work when it comes to leadership courses for example.

The interviewee also gives some tips regarding offboarding practices for managers. It is crucial to diagnose the emotional state of the team. Yet also to always work on empathy and assertivity, non-violent communication, feedback techniques 


Do you agree that C-level management prefers traditional training? What do you do to promote Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace? Do you have feedback for L&D Digest for October 2020 or suggestions for the next L&D Digest? Drop us an email!

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