“DEI training doesn’t work,” declared a recent Wall Street Journal piece. The article, written by a pair of Harvard professors—one psychologist, one sociologist, both authors of books on bias and diversity—argued that diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings tend to focus on highlighting workers’ individual implicit biases, rather than offering a roadmap for how they can fix the systematic biases within their organizations.
Edward H. Chang, a Harvard Business School professor whose work focuses on diversity, offered an additional explanation in a recent conversation with Charter: “Oftentimes you do training once, when you get onboarded, or maybe you do an annual training, but that training might be very disconnected from consequential decisions in your workplace,” he told us. “Maybe it's a year later that you first engage in your first hiring decision for your team, and diversity is just probably not very top of mind or very salient.”
We spoke with Chang, a leader of the Inclusion Lab at MoreThanNow, a behavioral-science research and consulting organization, about his work on the small, nudge-style interventions that can keep DEI goals more visible in day-to-day work. Here are excerpts from our conversation, lightly edited for clarity:
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