- BLR reports that last summer, First Data Corporation, a global leader in commerce-enabling technology and solutions, recognized a golden opportunity for one of its student interns to create an employee awareness training session on the topic of transgender employees. 200 HR and executives attended the eye-opening training via digital technology, says Karen Whalen, senior VP of HR.
- Student interns are a relatively untapped resource, and Whalen offers advice to other organizations that want to tackle the issues faced by transgender employees. Whalen said that while the material may be controversial, it must be "direct and honest." Such presentations are also more effective when delivered by someone who really knows the subject and demonstrates passion about it, she adds.
- Whalen also advises companies to ensure that learners have a safe environment in which to experience the new information with plenty of time to ask questions. She believes that training is delivered best when it's part of a comprehensive program to introduce new policies or procedures.
Companies are always looking for ways to enhance training programs by designing them around the important topics that employees face every day. There is a huge need to continue the push for innovative diversity training procedures, especially given the problems that still hinder present initiatives.
First Data's approach utilized not only the next generation of employees, but an intern who had a unique experience; this is an example for other companies to follow. Interns engage with the latest learning technologies, understand the value of learning and are naturally objective — all of which are qualities best-suited to tackle this issue.
Organizations should pay attention to First Data's experience as they develop learning programs for their current and future employees in order to tackle topics that are relevant to employees' experiences. Other industry thought leaders have weighed in specifically on how to educate about transgender issues in light of recent legal action by the EEOC.