Union is an independent creative and performance marketing agency that creates omnichannel campaigns. They focus on data and brand strategy, performance media, and branded content to help brands capitalize on the direct-to-consumer paradigm shift and succeed in increasingly competitive markets.
Union team members wanted more purposeful and consistent efforts from leadership to train employees about intentional language and active allyship. This was part of their commitment to making a more equitable and inclusive work environment.
Many employees didn’t know how to talk about race or other sensitive topics around intersectional identities in the workplace. That may have been caused by discomfort or a lack of confidence approaching the subject.
The pre-learner surveys Perfeqta issued at the beginning of the training showed a range of employee responses — those who felt comfortable talking about race and those who did not. Employees felt there weren’t many opportunities to talk about these topics at work and didn’t have the DEI skills to navigate them.
“I often feel so conscious of the individual experience of a teammate that I struggle to make broad statements or assumptions that an individual of a unique race has the same outlook as that of another," a participant said.
Perfeqta facilitated a company-wide training on Authentic Allyship. Employees took a pre-learner survey that asked what allyship means to them, their current comfortability to talk about race and DEI topics, and their opinions on how Union can improve their DEI initiatives.
Employees participated in two 90-minute in-person training sessions that consisted of a teaching portion and breakout sessions for smaller group discussions. The two-part training covered:
Employees took a post-learner survey to determine how their perspective and confidence regarding allyship and race conversations changed after the workshop.
Participants indicated on their post-learner surveys that the training was insightful. They appreciated listening to different perspectives in the breakout sessions and learning more about how privilege plays a role in day-to-day work.
“I think the most impactful part for me was the list of privileges slide, along with the iceberg reference. Both were a bit humbling and helped to get my head in the right place," a participant said.
Participants liked the mixture of structured content and breakout sessions following the lessons for them to discuss. The presentation provided tools and resources to set expectations and incite participants’ thoughts and experiences, preparing and guiding them for the small group discussions afterward.
Setting up a safe environment for all employees to discuss these sensitive topics with facilitators nearby helped open up conversations between employees. They learned about their fellow worker’s experiences, which formed connections and understanding between people who may not have had the chance to share their experiences with each other. That set the foundation for future conversations.
“It felt comfortable and safe for the team and I think we’ve made meaningful progress in creating a safe environment to have tough conversations," Jennifer Delaney, Talent Director, said.
Various stakeholders left the training feeling like they made progress toward creating a safer environment for all employees to hold sensitive conversations. Participants indicated their interest in learning more about microaggressions and inclusive recruitment.
“It felt comfortable and safe for the team and I think we’ve made meaningful progress in creating a safe environment to have tough conversations. The energy and desire are high right now and we’ve decided to set aside some time during lunch on Tuesday to continue the conversation with our breakout groups.”
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