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3 Ways to Measure the Effectiveness of Your DEI Training

I had the honor of speaking with Dr. Eric Surface for an episode of our live-stream video series, Better Humans @ Work (BH@W).


Eric is a fellow I/O psychologist as well as a founder of ALPS Insights, a learning and development (L&D) consultancy and software firm. We had an insightful conversation about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training evaluation, what needs to be measured, and how to measure it. Watch the episode below for more information and to hear about some of Eric’s experiences in this area:



Why is DEI training evaluation important?

As is the case with any training program, evaluation is critical for many reasons. First and foremost, measurement of outcomes provides credibility that the training was worthwhile and did what it set out to do. Unfortunately, a lot of training programs model their evaluation around just “checking the box.” ALPS Insights is based on the Alignment and Impact Model, which is focused on providing key feedback on training effectiveness based on what is important to key organizational stakeholders.


With any training, but especially for DEI, it’s important to ask the questions:

  • “What is the purpose of this training?”

  • "What is the goal of the organization?”

  • “What measures will help you evaluate that goal?”

Especially when it comes to DEI training, the goals are often strategic in nature. Therefore, the outcomes of the training can impact every aspect of the organization and capturing its effectiveness in some way is critical.


What variables should be measured to assess whether training “worked”?

When assessing whether training “worked,” the question is often about whether participants learned the desired knowledge and/or behavior as well as whether they can apply their newfound knowledge in a controlled environment. Beyond that, the question of importance is whether they can and will transfer this behavior into their daily work on the job.


For DEI initiatives especially, it is important to have a holistic approach to designing and delivering training. This is essential because if there is a mismatch between what the training is designed to enforce and the structure and culture of the organization, the training will not be effective.


From research, we know that if someone doesn’t have the opportunity to use the new skills immediately, the skills will not be reinforced and their motivation to use the skill will lessen. Therefore, one of the most important aspects of training design and development is designing a transfer plan and a way to measure that transfer plan.


If a training is built with intention, this transfer plan should be relatively straightforward, verifying with participants what they learned, how well they learned it, and how they plan to apply it to their job. Within this transfer plan, there should be opportunities for reflection on the part of the participants, focusing on how they specifically can apply their new knowledge and potential barriers they may face.


How can L&D/DEI Practitioners implement more training measurement best practices?

Based on his extensive experience in this area, Eric provided three key tenets to keep in mind when considering measurement of the effectiveness of DEI training initiatives:

  1. Approach measurement systematically

    1. Be clear upfront on what you are trying to accomplish with your training initiative

    2. Initiate simple steps to accomplish those goals

    3. Set clear objectives to overcome barriers and build the capacity to accomplish overall goals

  2. Pay attention to measures

    1. When actually measuring effectiveness, try to keep items on the measure as clear and focused as possible

    2. This practice allows you to get better results and more interpretable data to move forward

  3. Improve feedback practices

    1. It is unfortunately common practice to not give participants feedback in response to surveys. It is critical to communicate what's been found to all stakeholders and what’s been done with that information

    2. Allowing individuals to see their results is a good first step to increase transparency in feedback

    3. It is also essential to be sure that the feedback and information from measurement are available to stakeholders when they need to make decisions


For more information about Eric and ALPS Insights, contact Eric via LinkedIn.


Looking to elevate DEI training and measurement in your organization? Contact Mattingly Solutions today to learn how we can partner to advance your DEI goals. Together.


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