DEI Club

Community and social learning

The Power of Community and Social Learning in Addressing Complex DEI Challenges

In today's rapidly changing world, organisations are facing the urgent need to address complex Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion challenges. Yet, in their quest for concrete solutions, there are few tried and tested, one-size-fits-all methods that deliver high-impact results.

DEI remains a relatively nascent field, characterised by rapid developments in terminology and understanding, and emerging potential remedies. So, what is the path forward?

One answer lies in moving away from traditional learning approaches that no longer align with the dynamic nature of our times. DEI issues are not static; they are constantly evolving. 

Embracing social learning within communities offers organisations the agility needed to navigate these evolving complexities. It fosters ongoing dialogues, feedback loops, and the ability to adjust DEI initiatives in real-time. In essence, it shifts the paradigm of learning from an individual endeavour to a collective co-creation effort within and by communities.

Online communities, particularly if they're open to the outside world, represent a unique opportunity for organisations to harness social learning for addressing DEI challenges, and they do so in four distinct and potent ways:

1. Fosters Continuous Learning
Open communities can facilitate and cultivate a culture of continuous learning and adaptation throughout the organisation. This approach capitalizes on the diversity of employees' experiences, perspectives, and insights, allowing them to learn both from within their organisation and from DEI professionals and experts outside of it. The flexibility of an online community platforms ensures information accessibility when needed, promoting active engagement and thus encourages a pull approach to learning over a push approach and passive consumption.

2. Staying Abreast of Trends
The DEI landscape is in constant flux, demanding that organisations keep pace with the latest trends and best practices. Participation in open online DEI communities grants employees access to real-time information, cutting-edge insights, and timely updates from a diverse network of professionals. This liberates organisations from solely relying on internal experiences and expertise. Mistakes can be avoided by learning from others' experiences, while successful solutions from different sources can be adapted, saving time and effort.

3. Ensures Inclusivity 
A corporate-wide DEI learning community accessible to everyone fosters collaboration and cooperation in a hybrid workplace. It encourages knowledge sharing across borders, functions, and hierarchical levels, and promotes a shared goal of learning from and with one another. In a busy and connected world where capacity and inclination for lengthy learning programs are diminishing, online social learning stands out as an excellent alternative due to the flexibility and accessibility it offers.

4. Distributes Ownership
Community-powered learning instils a sense of ownership among employees. Actively participating in DEI discussions and initiatives empowers employees to champion positive change within the organisation. This collaborative nature cultivates a shared sense of collective responsibility, fostering a culture where individuals actively contribute to common progress. Furthermore, the wealth of knowledge generated is stored within the online community, making it less susceptible to employee turnover in formal DEI roles.

In conclusion, the dynamic and inclusive nature of social learning within online communities, in particular open ones, holds great potential for effectively addressing and making a more significant impact on the complex challenges of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion than many traditional methods.