Philippa Bird from Lloyds Banking Group tells us about one of their biggest success this year, through their Race Education Programme, and how to successfully educate your line managers.
Middle management is an area that needs a lot of focus and one where we often see retention rates at their worst, we find out how to help middle management and people leaders start their journey on leading successful diverse teams.
What is it?
Our Race Education Programme for line managers is a comprehensive learning offer set around three themes: awareness, allyship and action.
It is a journey through race, culture and inclusive management, built around the needs and knowledge gaps we’ve identified.
While each offer is designed for a specific staff group, (e.g. H.R., Managers, Leaders), the whole suite of learning is underpinned with universal content to extend the learning journey.
Why is it unique?
All training is bespoke to the Group. Although it has been developed with the help of external experts, it is very much shaped for us and by us. It features our data and the experiences of our people.
The content pushes buttons. One participant called it ‘positively provocative’. At times, people find the realities of racism uncomfortable – but we believe that’s needed if we’re going to change our culture to one that works for everybody.
How has it helped the ethnicity agenda?
All content is aligned to the strategic priorities of our Race Action Plan – culture, progression and recruitment. Improving these areas is front-of-mind when defining learning outcomes.
Our line manager training is a 3.5 hour live, virtual programme. Engagement has been high and feedback in terms of behaviour change is heartening. We expected 7,500 colleagues to attend and so far, close to 9,500 have elected to join the course.
What have you noticed as key successes from participants’ feedback:
We have heard directly from colleagues who now question decision making around hiring, progression and inappropriate behaviour as a direct result of the training. Others have reported feeling confident to stand up as an active ally for the first time.
Where the training makes connections between systemic racism and the challenges faced in the world of work, participants have reported experiencing ‘lightbulb moments’. Awareness of the more covert side of racism – for example, microaggressive behaviour – is increasing across the organisation as a result of the training programme.
Importantly, people feel more empowered to take action.
Does training work on its own and if not, what other measures booster and embed culture change?
While training is a practical way to reach a lot of people at once, it’s just one part of the solution. For example, just being empowered to call out and report racism won’t shift anything if there aren’t robust processes in place to deal with bad behaviour.
Other measures that work hand-in-hand with training include people process reviews and a firm comms and engagement plan that delivers that ‘drum beat’ of intent throughout the year.
What advice would you give other organisations in looking to promote a programme and ensure its success?
Ownership by the widest group possible is key for getting your messages across, as is a clear story as to ‘who’, ‘why’ and ‘when’. Let your senior stakeholders know what you are planning early on. Ask for their help in driving it in their areas.
Spend time pulling together an engagement plan that covers both awareness, and that all-important ‘book now’ moment. If you work in a large organisation like ours, make the most of local channels such as leaders’ newsletters to spread the word. Writing examples emails people can tailor is useful – as is a visual identity toolkit, such as simple graphics, call-to-action email sign offs and virtual backgrounds.
Keep your comms dynamic. Once pilots are underway, use pictures and comments from your post-pilot survey to pique interest and drive take up.
Finally, a lot of people emerge from workshops and say: ‘That was great, but what do I do next’? To help with really embedding engagement, we have launched an internal website full of practical anti-racism tips and cultural fluency team exercises. It’s also a good idea to signpost external resources that complement the learning journey.
Lloyds Banking Group’s Top 10 Tips
1. Communicate your programme’s goals
When designing, be really clear around personal outcomes. What do you want your people to know, think and do as a result of the training?
2. Pilots are essential
Even with a small cohort, you will get a sense of the pitching level or any trigger points that you didn’t see yourself in the build. The more diverse the attendees at the pilot, the better. You want cynics as well as allies.
3. Track and tweak
Send on-the-day survey out straight afterwards – this will enable you to draw on feedback to continually assess and motivate the training provider.
4. Make it authentic
Make sure your training is designed and delivered by an ethnically diverse team.
5. Get external expertise
Unless you are lucky enough to have race experts internally, engage with external consultants to either help build, frame or deliver your training.
6. Be bold
The time is over for nice-to-do diversity training.
7. Prepare for in-session pushback
Race is emotive. Some will express themselves in a way that might not be wholly inclusive. Have a tight script at the start and processes in place to deal with derailing behaviour, or any behaviour that doesn’t meet with your organisation’s values.
8. Protect your staff from ethnic minority backgrounds
Always script trigger warnings around videos that might bring up past trauma. See above for firming up your processes around how to deal with behaviour that might make them feel psychologically unsafe.
9. Don’t forget the takeaways
Everyone loves the idea of a handout – but they are rarely used. Most of the learning will happen in the session so definitely end with ‘3 things for you to take away from today’ that will stick in hearts and minds.
10. Think about other key groups who have a need to upskill
Does your Exec team need a session to ‘get on track’ for example? And – it may sound obvious – but don’t forget your I&D team! They are under more pressure than before to deliver change and many of them may never have worked in the field of race or ethnicity before yet are expected to facilitate and respond around this most tricky of topics! We are very excited to launch our programme for I&D Leads this year, monthly literature-based get-togethers to upskill and gain confidence around race.