Professional development is known to be one of the top markers for employee retention. When bringing a superb program to your diverse workforce, how can you ensure that the learning goes beyond the classroom? Oftentimes attendees will nod in agreement, mainly out of being polite to the enthusiastic presenter. But if your learners come from varied backgrounds – diverse countries, races, ethnicity – they may not be getting the knowledge gems that are being conveyed.

Here are three guidelines to ensure an inclusive learning experience:

  1. Use global examples. Oftentimes trainers cite sitcoms or use what they believe to be commonly known phrases like “Every cloud has a silver lining,” which do not resonate with audiences outside of the U.S. Pop culture references should be relevant and kept to a minimum. Materials must be designed with content that is representative of universal issues, containing neutral use of linguistics, and with cases that are relevant to a general audience.
  2. Confirm that the trainer speaks the language and understands the audience represented. Hire an instructor who is proficient in recognizing, understanding, and acknowledging cultural sensitivities. The correct use of language is one component of a great session. But as important to achieving results is knowing how to read the cues of comfort, discomfort, and appropriateness of what is being shared.
  3. Find a genuine way to relate. Including personal experiences and stories in the delivery consistently increases engagement and information retention. These must be selected with care, confirming that they are powerful but not offensive.

Covering these fundamentals will allow participants to learn at a deeper level because practical application comes from involvement rather than lectures. And to appreciate the richness of a learning moment, learners must first feel comfortable, respected, and acknowledged for their uniqueness and value.

Article written by Eugenia Lunden, Founder & CEO, Lunden International LLC, a premier firm that creates innovative training solutions to promote the growth and retention of talented professionals.