Your video and workplace media can have a big impact on users, but is it affecting everyone in the same way?
Understanding how your media choices represent people and their experiences can help you select more diverse and inclusive images and videos that impact everyone more effectively.
Jess Jackson, Racial Equity Strategist, and Megan Torrance, CEO, both of TorranceLearning, join this episode of The Visual Lounge to explain how to incorporate a diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) mindset into your video and workplace media decisions.
They also talk about the unique position and responsibility creators, instructional designers and those in learning and development roles have for instilling DEIB approaches within organizations.
Jess is an award-winning educator with a background in social justice dialogue, facilitation, restorative justice practices, and DEIB consulting for instructional design. In her current role at TorranceLearning, Jess combines project management with instructional design.
TorranceLearning helps organizations connect learning strategy to design, development, data and performance. Founder and CEO, Megan, has over 25 years of experience in learning, design, development and consulting.
You can watch the video on this topic at the top of this post, to listen to the podcast episode, hit play below, or read on for more…
What is diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging?
Talking about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is important, but these can be sensitive topics. So we asked Jess to define what these mean in the context of workplace media.
Diversity is an all-around representation of difference, including race, gender, neuro-diversity, and much, much more. The term covers a wide span of categories, which Jess thinks of as simply the “humanity we all show up to work with”.
Equity is about ensuring equality and overcoming limitations that social identities may have faced. Making decisions with equity in mind may involve challenging outdated status quos.
Inclusion is identifying ways that injustice impacts your relationships. This is more about how you’re welcoming people to the table and creating seats for them.
Belonging is considering how people feel within environments. It’s about questioning whether people can be themselves fully in a space or if they have to adapt in order to fit in.
Why instructional designers are vital to DEIB
Megan says that learning and development organizations, departments, and even instructional designers have an interesting opportunity to spread the DEIB message. Trainers and those who produce training materials have the potential to connect with everyone in the organization, including employees and in some cases customers too.
DEIB isn’t just a training session or a tick-box exercise. For educators and instructional designers, it’s a responsibility to share the message. Megan notes that this can be daunting, especially if you don’t have the insight, experience, or training. But it’s important because DEIB can help every person in your organization, and getting it wrong is painful for everyone.
How to create more diverse and inclusive workplace media
The goal of instructional design is often to help people. However, if you’re creating media that can be triggering for certain groups, it may mean that they can’t engage with it or that it even causes harm.
To make sure that your workplace media is having the right impact, Jess suggests making DEIB education a priority and integrating the principles throughout roles and responsibilities in your organizations. This can help your videos and visuals achieve the right outcomes for everyone in your audience.
Another way is to ask for feedback from your learners or analyze their performance to unearth where they may have struggled to engage. Could making decisions with DEIB at the forefront have an impact on those results? Understanding people’s experiences can give you fantastic insights into what might need changing.
Three key things to consider when making media choices
There are, of course, many things you can do to enhance DEIB or further implement principles within your organization. But if you’re making decisions about what media to select, Jess suggests using these three tips to help guide you.
1. Consider your baseline
Is your baseline reflective of diverse individuals? Or is it reflective of things that have been historically normalized and centered?
Making an effort to diversify your baseline could mean including greater representation. Jess suggests thinking about how your images might include or exclude certain groups, for example, illustrating people entering a building. Does your baseline include showing those with mobility impairments, and if not, can you use this to expand your perspective?
2. Positively challenge narratives
What is the power dynamic in your visuals? Jess suggests thinking about images of men in leadership positions. If your images adhere to a stereotype, you’re not challenging the status quo and confirming a power differential.
There may also be chances for you to include positive depictions and better representation. For example, showing diversity in a range of roles.
3. Source media inclusively
If you’re using photographs or videos to represent your organization, consider how you can source this media in an inclusive way. You could use stock visuals to communicate how diverse your organization is (or aims to be). Or, if you’re getting images and videos taken, but have limited diversity in your team, is there an opportunity to hire a photographer or videographer from a different background?
How to represent diversity within your organization
A big question for many businesses seeking to present a diverse image is whether their imagery should reflect a true picture of their diversity, or an aspirational one?
Navigating how you present diversity in your business can be an ethical minefield. But Jess says one way you can approach it is to stay authentic to your goals.
“Consider what is your business goal, in terms of the impact that you want to make with your content, and be authentic to that.”
If your goals include hiring a more diverse workforce, then it would be authentic to add wider representation to your business’s imagery. But if this doesn’t align with your organization’s current state, Jess suggests an alternative approach.
“If you want to focus on your current employees, and make sure that the learning is reflective of who they are, and feels more inclusive to them, use imagery from your actual workplace instead of sourcing outside content.”
The key thing to bear in mind when making decisions about representing diversity in your organization is the intention behind your choices.
Resources to get you started
One of the barriers to entry for creating more diverse content might simply be that you’re not sure where to look for more inclusive visuals. Many platforms provide stock imagery that represents diverse bodies, including our asset libraries for Camtasia and Snagit.
If you’re not sure how to get started or are wondering what actions you can take today to cultivate more DEIB awareness in your organization, check out TorranceLearning’s handy resource guide. For more free and detailed resources on creating impactful videos and workplace media, check out the TechSmith Academy. Get downloadable templates, supplemental materials, and more to help you grow your skills and design effective visual content.