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Over 50 percent still think diversity and inclusion is ‘political correctness’

Claudia Cooney, Lead Director - RightTrack Learning

A poll carried out by leading training provider RightTrack Learning has revealed that 51% of people associate the term ‘Equality, Diversity and Inclusion’ with ‘political correctness’.

Out of the 1,242 people surveyed, only 49% believe the term holds positive associations and feel it represents an opportunity for change. In the context of the workplace, this data shows that in every team of ten, as many as half have not yet bought into the diversity and inclusion conversation.

As a training provider specialising in the EDI arena, RightTrack Learning believes this survey shows there is still a long way to go to drive positive, long-lasting change.

Claudia Cooney, Lead Director at the company, comments: “When people do or say the right thing to be ‘politically correct’, the outward behaviour may look good, but the motivation behind the words and actions can be less than desirable. The results imply that more than half of people display inclusive behaviour in the interests of toeing the line, rather than a true desire to contribute to an inclusive society.”

The poll revealed another surprising statistic: 55% of people are too scared to talk about Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace for fear of saying the wrong thing.

When asked about the new data, Claudia says: “It shows we are instilling the message that discriminatory behaviour is not ok and there will be consequences. But, we must be mindful of how we are driving change. To change stereotypes and broaden perspectives, open conversations are imperative. Fear of saying the wrong thing is a barrier we must dissolve. It’s no good staying in our own bubbles and being too afraid to delve into uncomfortable topics; we must instead nurture a culture of curiosity.”

Despite the results, they present valuable insight and a learning opportunity. Realising that some of the language around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training triggers negative associations, RightTrack Learning has started to introduce new language such as ‘Conscious Inclusion Training’, which sounds fresh and engaging.

Claudia adds: “There are so many ways we can change the conversation and encourage people more to be at ease with Diversity and Inclusion – from taking advantage of national awareness days, to facilitating informal activities in team meetings, or investing in experiential training solutions that encourage open dialogue between peers.

“The key to changing the narrative is consistency – in our messages, in role modelling behaviours, and in keeping the conversation going.”

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