• DEI, Inclusive Leadership

Transforming DEI Knowledge into Inclusive Action

Anthony Santa Maria

Anthony Santa Maria

The Challenge: Translating Knowledge to Action

Our client, an industry leader in e-commerce, is a forward-thinking organization that has gained recognition as a top employer for DEI. The company’s leadership has an understanding of how critical it is to cultivate a culture of inclusion and belonging. While the company had a robust calendar of unconscious bias and DEI training opportunities, it identified a critical need to bridge the gap between knowledge and action. 

This realization came to the forefront when the company noticed a concerning trend — employees of color were departing at higher rates than their counterparts. Exit interviews revealed a common thread: they lacked sufficient coaching and feedback to progress in the professional journey. Managers, in particular, were identified as key influencers in shaping the professional trajectory of these individuals. 

As part of a broader initiative to align DEI and Learning & Development (L&D) functions, the company set out to reinforce its commitment to diversity and inclusion. The objective was clear — not merely ticking off a check box for training sessions but fostering an active culture of inclusive management. This next phase of their learning journey aimed to instill confidence in all employees, and especially people leaders, ensuring they were well-equipped to navigate situations of bias and inequity with competence and empathy. 

The Solution

The company sought out a partnership with Praxis Labs to reshape how they approached DEI training with the following objectives:

  • Integration into the Talent Development Lifecycle: The first goal was to embed Praxis Labs’ learning experiences seamlessly within the talent development lifecycle, focusing on critical junctures such as new manager onboarding and new hire training. This strategic motion ensured that equity and inclusion principles and best practices became foundational to every employee’s journey from the outset. 
  • Amplifying Inclusion in Practice: Building on this foundation, the partnership aimed to double down on the practical application of inclusion principles. The goal was not only to impart knowledge but to ensure that every employee, at every level, possessed an ability to identify and take action against bias, creating a workplace culture where these values were actively practiced. 
  • Behavioral Change for Equitable Experiences: The ultimate objective was to witness a tangible and sustained shift in behavior, particularly among people leaders and managers, by proactively translating their knowledge into action and setting inclusive team practices. 

The Results

Embedding Praxis Labs’ immersive experiences into the company’s existing learning framework yielded measurable outcomes that emphasize learners’ growth in key competencies and improvements in team and company cultures of equity and inclusion. 

Praxis Labs learners saw:

  • 83% completion rate (5x industry average for e-learning)
  • 79% satisfaction score (15% points above average for e-learning)

Learners gravitated toward the realistic, experiential, and interactive nature of the learning experience, with one participant noting “[Praxis Labs’] learning journey evoked real emotions, immersing me in moments of bias that led to me feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. The interactive nature of the platform made responding and experiencing interruptions feel authentic. Overall, the experience was very eye-opening.” 

The immersive approach not only elevated completion and satisfaction rates but, more importantly, facilitated a deep understanding and application of inclusive practices within the organization. 

Growth in core competencies

The perspective-taking learning experience not only elicited emotional responses but also demonstrated significant growth in key core competencies: 

  • 89% Growth in Empathy: One learner emphasized the impact, “The interactive and immersive nature of the experiences was great. Feeling like I was really ‘in her shoes’ emphasized the empathy I built for the character experiencing bias.” 
  • 82% Improvement in Identifying Inequities: One learner noted, “It was illuminating to see how the experiences of the person we’re roleplaying don’t reflect the experiences of other people in the same group.” 
  • 81% Boost in Confidence to Take Action: The shift in mindset was captured by one learner who shared, “The experience made me more confident to take action. It felt like a safe space to practice making a difference.” 

These core competencies are essential for inclusive leadership in practice and lay the bedrock for taking informed action.  

Improving Company Culture by Inspiring Behavior Change

Praxis Labs’ impact extended beyond individual competencies, influencing a positive shift in company culture, as evidenced by the following insights:

  • Agreement on Impact: 90% of learners either agreed or strongly agreed that Praxis Labs’ learning experiences would contribute to making the organization more equitable and inclusive. Importantly, learners from diverse communities demonstrated the highest percentages of agreement, reflecting that the program had a sizeable impact on the people who encounter bias the most. 
  • Behavior Change in Action: More than half of learners approached situations differently, both within and outside the workplace, as a direct result of Praxis Labs learning. 

These outcomes underscore Praxis Labs’ role in not just imparting knowledge but inspiring tangible behavior change, fostering a culture where inclusivity is part of the company’s DNA and individual’s ways of working. 

Redefining Inclusion

In pursuit of redefining an active culture of inclusive leadership, the company’s partnership with Praxis Labs showcased the need and impact of going beyond status quo DEI training. An embedded and intentional approach to skill development yields higher completion rates, satisfaction scores, and growth in core competencies, than stand-alone e-learning and in-person training. 

As the company’s L&D director shared, “I love Praxis Labs’ platform and I see the value it provides. Our learners love the experience.” 

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