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We have launched a new Virtual Inclusion Programme for all our employees, to help them recognize and tackle unconscious bias.
We previously ran a face-to-face workshop on inclusion, which had been completed by more than 1,400 employees across the world and was developed alongside external learning and development and behavioural change experts to create bespoke video material based on real insights and research from across OUP. It was incredibly successful, with 92 per cent of attendees saying that it had helped them to understand unconscious bias, and three-quarters saying it helped them to identify when bias was influencing their choices or decisions.
When the face-to-face training had to be put on hold due to the pandemic and employees subsequently working from home, our Diversity & Inclusion and Learning & Development teams worked together to create a new version of the programme that could be delivered virtually.
Speaking about this, Parul Pandey, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at OUP said: ‘As we adjusted our ways of work in the new reality, we heard from multiple employees that virtual meetings had created a far more equal, inclusive playing field and higher engagement for both onsite and offsite colleagues from all different time zones. Encouraged by the possibilities, we experimented with our flagship ‘in-person, immersive Global Inclusion Programme’, making it virtual.’
The new programme—which will be mandatory for all OUP employees—was launched last week in line with UK Inclusion Week. It was developed following focus groups with previous participants, to ensure that virtual attendees could have the same rich learning experience as those who attended the face-to-face workshops.
It takes a blended learning approach, involving online pre-work and a live, facilitated sharing session with a small group of colleagues, complemented by additional video resources and activities. To encourage colleagues to share their own views, conversation is further prompted through the bespoke video scenarios that reflect real experiences from across OUP globally.
Feedback from the initial pilot sessions has been positive; 100 per cent of participants agreed that it helped them to consider their own biases and understand the effect of unconscious bias on our business.
‘We knew it was ambitious to bring our Global Inclusion Programme to life virtually—particularly to create something that would have a lasting impact on our people, wherever they were based in the world,’ continues Parul. ‘However, we truly believe we have created something unique. Within a single classroom, learners from different countries and cultures can share their perspectives, providing an even richer discussion and learning experience.’