Case Study: DEI Training at Major Telecom Company
Leveling up DEI Training
Compliance and ethics training at this major telecom company was being overlooked. Part of the training helped define discrimination and harassment and educate employees how to behave ethically towards everyone, and especially towards people that do not look similar to themselves. People considered the training dull, repetitive, too text-heavy, and too time-consuming. In addition, there was an accountability challenge; leaders often didn’t keep managers accountable for completing the training so managers didn’t keep employees accountable. I was tasked with changing this attitude toward training and improving the results.
To get a clearer sense of the problem, I spent three months assessing the company’s needs. I visited many of the retail stores, learned how they did training, observed call centers and saw how they were trained and how they took calls. I observed various roles and responsibilities and figured out what was going well and what needed improvement.
Beginning with our own legal leadership team who had become uninspired by past off-the-shelf training developed by vendors, I helped them see how they could increase ethical behavior by developing better training in-house. Much of the existing training was compiled from generic content that vendors had produced and they were not relevant to our organization’s culture and values.
We worked on revamping the training through videos starring the leadership team, which gave them new energy and vitality. My time in the retail stores and call centers gained me trust and credibility among employees. We began a campaign of change-management messaging, posted on the front page of our intranet, explaining the new training, its format and benefits. Our company had a strong “do it the right way” culture and improving the training allowed people to connect with this value.
Engaging senior leadership in the process, we revamped the training material by recording new videos with revised language and innovative curriculum to reflect the company’s values. We replaced the old off-the-shelf, generic, and text-heavy content. We also developed a leader version of each training product that included communication templates and email templates for carrying conversations with their teams and holding them accountable.
Since revising the training material, we have seen increased training completion and increased speed to completion (98% of employees complete cultural training within a month of assignment, up from less than 90% in prior years). We also save the company thousands of hours of seat time by reducing training duration by 25%. We’ve also seen increased accountability and received majority positive feedback on our current courses. With over 1000 internal Yelp-style reviews, the average rating is 4.8/5. In developing the new curriculum, I was able to gain executive buy-in as well. More people are completing training and they’re completing it faster, leading to an increase in ethical culture and behavior.