Salt Lake County's Big I.D.E.A


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May 22, 2023

Salt Lake County's Big I.D.E.A

What you DON’T KNOW about what is going on in your organization might be hurting

What you DON’T KNOW about what is going on in your organization might be hurting you, holding you back, and costing you valuable talent.

In 2020, the COVID-19 crisis exposed gaps in Salt Lake County's (SLCo) service and outreach efforts to diverse communities. The county mayor made several recommendations to address these gaps, including an organization-wide initiative to provide employees access to tools and training that support service delivery through the lens of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access. Thus, the I.D.E.A. program was born.





We started with a cultural assessment to take stock of inclusivity in our workplace. We identified several priorities for revision, including favoritism, undervaluing diverse people and ideas, and a lack of equity in pay opportunities for minority populations.

The next phase focused on awareness with a communications campaign and an organization-wide training, I.D.E.A. and Belonging. Ad hoc courses were also developed to address specific organizational needs, including valuing diversity, understanding microaggressions, and LGBTQ awareness, specifically for law enforcement, among others.

We have developed a toolbox of microlearning on multiple topics to build an inclusive workplace and increase cultural awareness. Any interested employee can view these short resources and share them with their teams to spark conversation.

We look for every opportunity to incorporate I.D.E.A. principles into any training we develop, from emergency preparedness to emotional intelligence.

Moving forward, we plan to develop inclusive principles training that focus on favoritism and valuing diverse perspectives to continue the conversation with existing teams. The conversation around favoritism factors into a parallel initiative on performance management.

We created an I.D.E.A. think tank by leveraging the voices of invested employees wanting to enhance workplace culture. This group meets regularly to learn, share ideas, and provide relevant feedback.

Do you want to create a work environment where all feel welcome, included, and are served equitably? Come join the conversation at the ATD International Conference & EXPO where we’ll share lessons learned from our experience during the What's the Big I.D.E.A? session.

Mary Van Buren has a passion for helping people learn about themselves and how that translates into their performance and leadership. With more than 18 years of experience in training and program management and eight years evolving Salt Lake County's learning and development program to a strategic component in the county's transformation to a high performing organization, she brings a wealth of insight into managing a high impact program with limited resources.