Andrew Rawson, CLO & Co-Founder
Leigh Anne Beauchamp, VP of Content & Product Management Traliant

We refuse to believe that compliance training has to be boring. That's why over 8,000 organizations nationwide choose to partner with Traliant for their compliance training needs. Our award-winning, behavior-based approach to online learning makes compliance training engaging, relevant and fun!

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On today’s episode, William Tincup speaks with Andrew Rawson and Leigh Anne Beauchamp about the current state of DEI training.

Andrew is chief learning officer and co-founder at Traliant, and Leigh serves as vice president of content and product management. Both are experts at helping organizations address workplace challenges and create a culture of respect, diversity and inclusion.

This is a fun, informative conversation! Listen in and leave your thoughts in the comments.

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Show Length Time: 33 minutes

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This is RecruitingDaily’s Recruiting Live Podcast. Where we look at the strategies behind the world’s best talent acquisition teams. We talk recruiting, sourcing, and talent acquisition. Each week, we take one overcomplicated topic and break it down so that your three year old can understand it. Make sense? Are you ready to take your game to the next level? You’re at the right spot. You’re now entering the mind of a hustler. Here’s your host, William Tincup.

William:

Ladies, gentlemen, this William Tincup and you are listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Today. We have Andrew and Leigh on, and they’re from a company called Traliant, which is both training and compliance put together, actually the contractions of both those things. And they’re going to tell us a little bit more about that. But the topic of the day is the current state of DEI training, which I told them pre-show, I’ve been looking forward to this podcast all week long. Because I actually want to know, personally, what the state is and I know the audience will as well. So Andrew and Leigh, why don’t you first do introductions of yourselves and then introduce the firm?

Andrew:

Leigh, why don’t you go first?

Leigh:

All right, good. I’m Leigh Beauchamp. And I’m a licensed attorney. I have twenty years of experience with legal and compliance and e-Learning. And I am currently the Vice President of Content and Product Management for Traliant.

Andrew:

And my name is Andrew Rawson and I’m one of the founders of the company and the Chief Learning Officer. And Leigh and I work very closely together. And Traliant is a company that’s been in business for just five years. And we were formed with the sole purpose of taking people’s compliance training from boring to brilliant, as we say. People vote with their wallet. And, in five years, we have almost seven thousand customers. And we think that’s pretty good evidence that our new enlightened approach to training has actually worked.

William:

Well, take us a little bit into that, Andrew, real quickly. Obviously, you started with a vision. What did you see in the marketplace when you and your partners looked at the other, that wasn’t being done correctly, that you wanted to do, rewrite, and do it in a different way?

Andrew:

We felt that the training was all based on teaching people facts. This is the law, this is the penalty for this. And people don’t remember facts, number one, they remember stories. So one, we wanted to tell stories and not recite facts. And two, unlike teaching someone to use Excel, which is skills based training, and you can test that they know how to write the formula or they don’t. The training we do is all about influencing behavior. So we wanted to train on people’s behavior and not on the facts. And that’s made all the difference.

William:

Love that, love that. So give us some, obviously building, pulling training and compliance together. And we’re obviously talking about DEI. What’s changed in the last two years? And what do you see consumption-wise from your customers, for a lot of your customers? What do you see that they want more of today than they did, let’s say two years ago? And we’ll start, Leigh, we’ll start with you first. And then Andrew, you can piggyback what Leigh says.

Leigh:

Yeah. So we’ve definitely seen a switch in the past twelve to eighteen months, in terms of what we see companies buying and consuming in terms of training. So a shift from a focus on training that is maybe legally required on things like our preventing discrimination and harassment suite. That was, by far, our biggest seller and most used suite of courses. And we started to see that shift over the past year. And really seeing our diversity, equity and inclusion suite of courses, taking about 50% of the usage and sales. So we really are seeing a shift in terms of a real focus by companies on the DEI training.

William:

Real quick before Andrew, editorializes. I think what’s really interesting about this is, the compliance stuff, again, harassment and all of the policy things that you need to, both federally and at state level, and maybe even at the local level, that to keep you in compliance, I think that never goes away. That’s just good stuff, training people on that, because [crosstalk 00:05:02] it always changes. [crosstalk 00:05:05] That’s a gift that keeps giving. And oh, by the way, we’re not good at it, generally speaking. And so I think there’s training. I don’t think that ever stops.

William:

The DEI part, what’s interesting about that is, Andrew was saying, it’s not just about facts, clearly. It’s the courses now, the array of courses that you now find yourself training people on. Take us in that and Andrew please, correct anything that I’ve said that’s incorrect. But what does your courses look like now compared to, again, a couple years ago?

Andrew:

Well, it’s the couple of things. And just to build upon what Leigh said, the watershed was George Floyd killing, where there was a collective realization in, in commercial organizations that had traditionally done some type of diversity, equity, and inclusion training. Implicit in that, was that racism is no longer a problem. That DEI is a higher level thing for us to focus on. In fact, it became clear to everyone that racism was a big problem. And we quickly modified our training to talk about racism. And literally, we had our course host say, we want to talk about the elephant in the room. And training people on racism was a huge change. And that companies are really, I think, recognizing that, not only do they have an obligation, and certainly the larger ones, an obligation to their own associates and employees, but that the big companies have an obligation to society at large to make sure that they are as un-racist, as diverse, and as inclusive and equitable as they possibly can.

Andrew:

But there’s also been, part of the other changes are, that there’s a recognition that it’s really, there is no destination. It’s only a journey. Because society changes, laws change, your organization changes. And if there was ever a thought of, this is something that could be one and done, that is certainly no longer in anybody’s, anyone that we speak to, any of their vocabularies.

Andrew:

So the other thing that’s changed is, it’s gotten much more diverse, no pun intended, in that, now we have training on cultural humility. Which we like to say better than cultural competency. We think that’s a more respectful way to explain things. So we train on unconscious bias and microaggressions. We have a whole twenty minute course that just shows examples of things that may not, there may not be no ill intent behind them, but in fact, they’re very damaging in practice. So it got deeper in the sense that now DEI training is covering racism. And it’s gotten broader in the sense that we’re covering much more topics than just, here’s examples of how to be inclusive at work.

William:

Right. What are some of the hottest courses because you just touched on some really fascinating topics. What are the things flying off the shelves?

Andrew:

Leigh?

Leigh:

Yeah. Our diversity, equity, and inclusion training suite includes those courses that Andrew just referred to. So workplace diversity, inclusion, and sensitivity, unconscious bias, microaggressions in the workplace, and cultural competence and humility. And the top courses that we’re seeing utilized initially, so this is just a suite that came out, oh, about fifteen months ago or so. And so it is a bit of a journey. And we don’t necessarily expect an organization is going to roll all of this training out at once, or even in a one year period. There’s a lot of training needs. You don’t want to give people too much because they check out and it becomes burdensome. But out of those courses, the big ones are really the workplace diversity, inclusion, and sensitivity and unconscious bias is also one that is really, really highly utilized right now.

William:

Do you think of this, either currently or in the future, as continuous learning? Like, okay, there’s microagressions. There’s a beginner course. Then later on, they’re redeveloped, a intermediate course or an advanced course, etc. Do you see it as something [crosstalk 00:09:45] that y’all want to put people again? I think Andrew said it really wisely, we’re all on this journey. We’re all on different parts of different journeys. Do you see it as, with your coursework that you have developed and will develop in the future, do you see it as something that you want to make sure that you bring people along as you learn new things?

Andrew:

I absolutely do think that, but not in the framework of beginner and advanced.

William:

Right.

Andrew:

But as I mentioned earlier, that society evolves. Things that are considered offensive today-

William:

Right.

Andrew:

Weren’t, that’s frequently someone’s defense. Well, that was Andrew Cuomo’s defense. When I was a kid, it was okay. So I think that the training does evolve because of society evolves.

William:

Right.

Andrew:

And also we learn things. We learn from people that, just in our own courses, and Leigh can talk about this. We’ve gotten so much feedback through the years about the casting. Why is the white male always the bad guy?

William:

Right.

Andrew:

Right? Well, because statistically that’s true. But then.

William:

So there’s that.

Andrew:

Right, there’s that. But then if you show the female as the sexual harasser, it’s like, why are you pandering to male fantasies and portraying something that’s completely unrealistic?

William:

Right.

Andrew:

So, things change over time.

William:

I like the way you position it, because it’s not as much about levels as it is about learning and what’s new. And the way that, okay, we’re all learning this as it’s coming. And so it isn’t this layered, or artificial layers and levels. It’s continuous in the sense of, we’re learning new things every single day, as we should. And then you want to render that back to your audience, to your customers. Let’s talk a little bit, if you can, let’s talk about the delivery of training. And the question I usually get asked around this is around learning styles and learning differences. Right? So I know that y’all know this much, much deeper than I would, but what’s your take on the delivery of training content?

Andrew:

Well, I’ll have to say this. When we started the company, we were trying to come up with some unifying vision of how we deliver training. Because the worst thing you can say about training is it’s just that click next, click next. That’s the worst. So when we were just brainstorming, I don’t even know who said it. Somebody said, well, everybody likes to watch TV. So our training, we don’t come out and say it, but it looks like a cable news show. There’s an onscreen host, there’s lower third graphics, there’s different segments. Because that’s true. Righ? We can have completely different tastes and interests, but well, it’s the end of the day, you flip on the tube, you flip around, you find something.

William:

Yeah.

Andrew:

It’s familiar, it’s comforting. So I know there’s no., there’s visual learners and there’s this type of learner. There’s no one that says, “Yeah, I like the TV learning style.”

William:

Yeah.

Andrew:

But we had to find something that we thought was unifying. And like I said, we don’t say, “Hot off the press.” Or, “From the broadcast studios of Truliant.”

William:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Andrew:

We don’t do that, but we have that look and feel to it. And Leigh can tell you about, since Leigh’s been here, we’re morphing it a bit, but people really like it.

William:

I think that’s familiar. That’s what I like about it. It’s familiar that folks, again, it could be Bloomberg, could be ESPN, doesn’t really matter. It’s familiar. And so, I like that. I like that approach. And Leigh, I want to get your take on that and get you to expand upon that. Then I wanted to ask you about certification, or testing at the end of training. What’s your take on that? So Leigh, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about the delivery and what you see and what you think is effective and what customers are telling you, etc.?

Leigh:

Yeah, absolutely. And this probably seems really basic, but I will just say the quality of the training at Truliant is really high. The quality of the videos, we use union actors. We actually shoot all of this in Hollywood. It’s really, it’s high quality. It doesn’t turn you off, just based on the quality of the training. I think that the scripts themselves, we have e-learning developers who work on all of this, of course, along with the experts that we bring in to make sure that we are checking all of the boxes and hitting all of the important topics. But they’re very thoughtful about attention span, use of visuals along with auditory information, interactivity. So we have a lot of interactive elements in the videos as well, to make sure that people stay engaged. There’s a chance for people to earn points. Just trying to gamify a little bit, just to keep people engaged with the training. So there’s a lot of thought that goes into all of that.

Leigh:

And as Andrew said, as we learn and get feedback, we’re constantly changing and developing. So our training is never stale. We’re always creating a new season or updating so that it feels fresh. And I think people react to that as well.

William:

I love that. I love that. And what’s y’all’s take, or what do customers give you advice around certification or training or testing, or just at the end of the course, how do they know that the message was received?

Andrew:

So Leigh and I were just talking about this [crosstalk 00:16:25] this morning. In the world of diversity, equity, and inclusion-

William:

Right.

Andrew:

We think that the holy grail is you’d want to have 100% of your colleagues be able to answer the question affirmatively that, do you feel you can bring your whole self to work every day? Now that’s not a test question. Right?

William:

Right.

Andrew:

That has nothing to do.

William:

That’s right.

Andrew:

Going back to an earlier question you had about our founding principles, the testing, I don’t want to make this too extreme a statement, but the testing is almost a waste of time.

William:

Yeah.

Andrew:

Because it’s not skills based training. And are you supposed to touch that person? No. Are you supposed to use a racist-? No, I don’t need to take your course. That’s always the biggest complaint. I don’t need to take your training. You just give me the test. Right?

William:

Right.

Andrew:

So the testing treats it as though it’s skills based training and it’s not. So we think, ultimately in the world of DEI, that would be the goal. If you could ever get there, that people said they can come to work as themselves and not worry about being judged or hearing any type of little micro insults or microaggressions or not be subject to being excluded from things because they don’t look like the people that are running that committee, and so on. That would be the holy grail. Which is a question, but not a test question. It’s a question about, is, at the end of the day, is this training that is part of your DEI program effectively making your place a better place to be every day?

William:

Yeah. It’s almost like a Zen-like. It’s an understanding.

Andrew:

Yes. And more and more companies tell us, by the way, that millennials, when they’re looking for jobs, would love to, they don’t say it that directly, but they’d like to know the answer. What percentage of your people feel they can bring their whole self to work every day? That’s important to where they work,

William:

Hundred percent, Gen Z’s following that trend as well. Leigh?

Leigh:

Yeah. Yeah. I was just going to say, it’s so hard to measure effectiveness.

William:

Right.

Leigh:

And the testing is, it’s a part of it. And I have to say, I’m a person that likes to take those tests. So I am such a nerd. But it keeps me a little more engaged with the material if I know I’m going to be tested on it. I probably we shouldn’t have admitted that.

William:

Yeah.

Leigh:

But really, we do try to teach behaviors and skills [crosstalk 00:18:57] and we believe that’s really at the heart of the effectiveness. And through our own internal surveys, we are seeing that users, 90% of our users say they are likely to use the skills and behaviors learned in our courses. So we feel like that’s a better indication than someone being able to get a hundred percent on a test at the end of the training.

Leigh:

Also, we understand with something like diversity, equity and inclusion, everyone’s not always going to be perfect.

William:

Right.

Leigh:

And that’s okay. And sometimes it’s about the conversation and sometimes it’s about how you handle those tough conversations. And maybe all of us are going to say something that we didn’t maybe think through. And you think back and it seems insensitive. And what do you do in that situation? Right? That can be, that could be a moment of connection with somebody.

William:

Well, it’s also a great, can be a moment of training. You can actually use that as a magical moment of, hey.

Leigh:

Exactly.

William:

Let’s use this as a time to learn. I think what’s interesting is, as Andrew was saying, skills based testing, pretty easy. You either know Java or you don’t.

Leigh:

Yes.

William:

And again, there’s a breadth and depth of your knowledge of Java programming. Fantastic. This is far more nuanced. And again, it’s evolving day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. I wanted to ask you about two things on your customer side. And no names. One is, on the one side, what are some of the stories of them using your DEI training and that they fed you back some stories of things that have just gone really well? And then, on the second part, is feedback that you’ve received from them on things that y’all need to grow. Hey, this class on, and this is just an example, the course on microaggressions was fantastic. However, could you also do this? Could you also add this? So, on one side, I want to hear about the success stories and some fun customer stories. And the other is just how y’all gather feedback for what you build next?

Andrew:

So a couple of things, we’ve definitely found that, generally speaking, our customer tend to be companies that sell products to consumers. And we realize, why, is that, if you’re an engineering firm and your only customers are architects, maybe no one ever heard of you, you can be a giant successful company, but you don’t have a retail consumer presence. But we have a lot of the major consumer brands are our customers because they realize it’s more than just how people interact internally. It’s more than just, does it help them recruit? It can be a perception of their brand as well. So that was just an interesting thing. We didn’t start out saying we’re going to focus on companies that have valuable consumer brands. But it just was something that the market took us there.

Andrew:

I’ll give you one example of something that we learned from a university client of ours, where I was speaking with the VP of Diversity and Inclusion. And she said, I love your microaggression course. But she said, it’s missing half the material. I was, half? OK, you’ve got my attention. She said, “It’s great. It shows all these great examples of what not to do. But where’s the micro affirmations?”

William:

Oh, cool.

Andrew:

Right. She said, “We like that you guys are based on behavior and everything else. But it would be good if we didn’t just show examples of the bad micro-agressions. How about some examples of micro-affirmations so people see that?”

Andrew:

And as soon as she said it, it was obvious.

William:

Yeah, of course.

Andrew:

And now we know what to do. And the same way we were talking to a medical school, that I was talking about our course on cultural competency. And this woman said to me, “That’s condescending.” Okay. You got my attention.

William:

Learning point. Yeah?

Andrew:

Yeah. She said cultural competency, I’m going to stoop down to learn about your-

Leigh:

Yeah.

Andrew:

Your culture to learn about you. She said, culture, humility is actually a much better, is it? And it is. Because the best definition I’ve ever heard of humility is that we’re all equal.

William:

Yeah.

Andrew:

So I love that. So we put both titles in the course because people are searching for cultural competency.

William:

Right.

Andrew:

But we really want to make it about cultural intimacy and it’s really a much better name. And those are two examples of the feedback we get from our clients. And we quickly modify our course and we’re-

William:

Oh yeah.

Andrew:

Continually trying to be in a improving mode.

Leigh:

Yeah.

William:

I love that. Leigh, what stories do you have?

Leigh:

Yeah, it’s interesting. And it’s not specific to DEI training, but all the training, the number one piece of feedback we get is length of the course. People always looking for us to shorten up our courses if possible. And so it’s a huge priority for us right now to go through and really think about what’s impactful. How do we make our training as effective as possible, knowing that attentions spans are short? And so it’s one of those things where sometimes less is more with the training. And so a lot of times, we’re actually looking at what we can edit and cut out to make the training actually more impactful. Which was, I think, not what I would’ve expected coming in. But it has been a big part of what my team has been working on.

William:

It’s interesting because you see it, I’ve studied the millennials and Geb Z’s attention span. So I could write a book about it. But the interesting part of that is that G`en Z grew up with a little X in the right hand corner of everything they’ve ever done.

Leigh:

Yes.

William:

So they easily know there’s an out. However, what’s interesting about them is, you can have a one hour, thirty minutes, ten minutes, five minutes, three minutes, thirty seconds, whatever. If they’re interested in it, they’ll consume more.

Leigh:

Yep.

William:

So that’s one of the things that I think that’s part of y’all’s future is just giving people all the different ranges of examples and say, “Choose your own adventure here.”

Leigh:

Exactly.

William:

You want a thirty second thing on microaggression? Do you want to see three examples of it? Fantastic.

Andrew:

Well, you’re way of us because the classic annual complaint is, “Can’t I just take a test and I know the answers, right?” This is a classic. But again, for behavior-based training, that’s not always such a good idea.

William:

That’s right.

Andrew:

So rather than just have this, but we want to be sensitive to the people that ultimately using our courses. We realize that people don’t want to take this training. They have to. So we feel it’s incumbent on us to create it as an engaging a product as possible. So rather than just come out with something that is a binary test out of-

William:

Right.

Andrew:

We actually are just about to release some adaptive training, which means that as you go through the course, it asks-

William:

Oh, that’s cool.

Andrew:

Asks questions. And then if you get them right, you go down a shorter branch. And if you get them wrong, you go down a longer branch. So in theory anyway, you’re discovering what people don’t know and just filling in the gaps.

William:

Right. And then some of that’s what they’re interested in. Is this interesting? Are you finding this fascinating or is this stuff that you already know? You can use ratings and that. I think Leigh touched on [crosstalk 00:27:14] gamification. It’s getting that feedback in real time from users to find out, hey, is this stuff that you already knew? It’s cool. If you already know it, then let’s fast forward. Let’s just move you forward. Which I love.

William:

Last thing on the way out is, what is this tied to in the rest of HR’s systems and things like that? Because I could easily see this being tied to training development and some of those other things. But in an optimal environment, where do y’all see your system and what you do and where it should be touching the HR systems that are, and even recruiting systems, but all the systems that HR and recruiting uses?

Andrew:

I’ve got to think about that for a second. Leigh, maybe you have a different take. But in terms of systems, I think this has become, and this goes back to the earlier thing we discussed about changes in the environment. This is really almost a standalone initiative. That it’s part of your onboarding.

William:

Yeah.

Andrew:

Right? It’s got visibility in the recruiting process. It’s part of onboarding. It’s got to have executive sponsorship because, watch what I do, not what I say.

William:

Right.

Andrew:

And it should not be lost in the curriculum of all the other skills based training an organization does. Because you’re really trying to impact the culture of a company. And that’s a hard task to do.

William:

Yeah.

Andrew:

And I think that if you don’t have the dedicated focus from the most senior leaders in the company, and you don’t have its own dedicated learning path, I think it makes the hill steeper to climb,

William:

Hundred percent. What’s interesting is I see it as a recruiting tool as well. Because this is a wonderful way to bring in people that care. And again, regardless of generation, the people that care about this topic, and they want to know that the company that are joining cares about this as well, cares enough to spend time, money, and resources with the training content to make people better, make everyone better. We’re all need to be smarter about this.

Andrew:

Yes.

William:

So see it in recruiting, you and recruiters being able to talk to candidates and say, “Hey, listen. It’s not just an initiative. It’s not something just on our careers page. We care.” And again, Andrew, I think you nailed one of the pieces that I really love. Onboarding, you start the job, and it’s, all right, let’s all work and get on the similar page and have a baseline understanding of what’s going on and what we should learn. I don’t think it’s tied to performance or comp or. Eh, I could maybe incentives, in some ways, to make sure people are always constantly learning. I could, yeah. There might be something in there. But like the old fashioned L and B, yeah, I don’t think it needs to be there. I think you’re absolutely spot on about it being standalone.

Andrew:

Yeah. Not every company, maybe not even most companies, but there are some organizations that this is just who they want to be, who they want to be known for.

Leigh:

Yeah.

William:

That’s right.

Andrew:

And I think those companies in the long term, will ultimately, all organizations, even if they’re not for profits, want to thrive and grow. And you can’t do that if you have a lot of turnover in your organization, or if you’re not attracting great talent.

William:

That’s right.

Andrew:

And having a real focus on creating a place that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive, I think, in our company

Leigh:

To be part of the brand for a company, really. Yeah.

William:

Well, it’s funny, Leigh, because y’all deal with a lot of B to C players, this is also how it impacts sales, loyalty, and all these other things.

Leigh:

Absolutely.

William:

So it’s not just about retention or engagement or attraction. It’s also about how it impacts the bottom line the other way. Any final thoughts, Leigh?

Leigh:

Again, just coming back, Andrew mentioned this shortly at the beginning, but the holy grail really being about inclusion. And respondents really feeling like they belong and they are psychologically safe at work. And I think if we really keep that goal at the forefront when we think about DEI, versus do we have a DEI strategy and a checklist. I think that’s really where we want to go. And we have some work to do.

William:

I love it. I love it. Y’all are doing great work. And I knew that this was going to be good. Thank you so much for your time. I know both of y’all are super busy. Appreciate you coming on the podcast.

Leigh:

Thank you for doing this work.

William:

Absolutely.

Andrew:

Yes, William, thank you. Thank you very much. We really appreciate it.

William:

Absolutely. And thanks for everyone listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Until next time.

Music:

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The RecruitingDaily Podcast

Authors
William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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