DEI Training Guide: Topics, Tools & Best Practices

We live in a diverse world where the gap between people of different backgrounds is widening. In order to create sustainable solutions, we need everyone’s input and commitment. That’s where DEI training comes in!

Each section in this Allybot guide includes key points to help you get started, tools and resources you can use, and case studies of successful DEI initiatives. We hope it will be a valuable resource for you as you work to create inclusive environments that celebrate diversity, allow everyone to thrive, and advance social justice.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

What is DEI training?

DEI—or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion—training is a critical piece of organizational development for any company or organization looking to create an inclusive and equitable environment for all employees to succeed and prosper.

DEI training is any program that’s designed to help participants understand the importance of diversity, learn how to identify and address bias and discrimination, and develop the skills needed to foster an inclusive workplace.

Within a DEI training program, organizations might use several complementary mediums to educate employees, including:

  • Workshops
  • Discussions
  • Lectures
  • Courses

These formats are often supported by tools, software, and materials that help drive home the important aspects of the training.

Why is DEI training important?

In a world where companies are more diverse than ever, you need employees who can work effectively with others from different backgrounds. DEI training plays a critical role in fostering these supportive, collaborative, and empathetic environments.

While the importance of DEI training deserves an article of its own, it’s important that we summarize some key points before getting into the practicalities. DEI training is important because:

It helps create inclusive workplaces.

Inclusive workplaces are environments where everyone feels comfortable and welcome, regardless of their background or identity. DEI training is one key way to help create these environments.

It helps raise awareness of diversity issues.

DEI training can help employees understand the challenges that people from different backgrounds face in the workplace. It can also help employees become more aware of their own personal biases and how they might affect their interactions with others.

It builds a foundation for promoting equity.

DEI training provides participants with the skills and knowledge needed to identify and address bias and discrimination when they see it. This allows employees to promote equity in the workplace.

What are the organizational benefits of DEI training?

In addition to the interpersonal benefits covered above, there are also several organizational benefits associated with DEI ideals, including:

  • Higher Revenue: According to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), companies with more diverse management teams see 19% higher revenue than their less diverse counterparts.
  • More Engagement: In a study of millennial employees, Deloitte found that 83% were actively engaged when they believed the organization prioritized inclusivity. Only 60% of millennials were actively engaged when they didn’t hold this belief.
  • Less Turnover: Deloitte also found that companies with high levels of diversity see 22% less employee turnover than those without.
  • Better Financials: According to McKinsey & Company, the top 25% of companies in regard to racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to outperform their industry median return. The top 25% of companies in regard to gender diversity are 15% more likely to outperform their industry median return.
  • Greater Agility: Bersin & Associates found that companies which prioritize inclusivity are 1.7 times more likely to be seen as innovative leaders in their industry.

What topics should your DEI training cover?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the exact topics covered in DEI training will vary depending on the organization’s needs and goals. However, there are some general topics that are likely to be covered in most programs, including:

Implicit Biases

Implicit biases are the automatic thoughts and feelings that we have about certain groups of people, which often aren’t consciously recognized. DEI training can help employees become more aware of their own implicit biases and how they might affect their interactions with others.

Power & Privilege

Power and privilege are two of the main underlying factors that contribute to inequality and discrimination in the workplace. DEI training can help employees understand the role that power and privilege play in creating disparities, and how they can work to level the playing field.

Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are two of the most important concepts related to DEI. Diversity is about recognizing and celebrating differences, while inclusion is about making everyone feel welcome and respected in the workplace. DEI training can help employees understand the importance of diversity and inclusion, and learn how to create inclusive environments.


Stereotyping is the act of judging someone based on our assumptions about their group identity, rather than on their individual merits. DEI training can help employees become aware of the dangers of stereotyping, and how to avoid it in their own interactions.

Bullying & Harassment

Bullying and harassment are two of the most harmful forms of discrimination. DEI training can help employees learn how to identify and respond to these behaviors.


Microaggressions are subtle verbal, behavioral, or environmental cues that communicate hostility or disrespect towards marginalized groups. DEI training can help employees learn how to identify microaggressions and respond appropriately.

Tip: Looking for a way to address microaggressions in your Slack channels? Try Allybot! Our system scans messages for noninclusive language and suggests inclusive alternatives via private messages. Think spell-check for inclusive language!

What types of DEI training are there?

There are a variety of different types of DEI training, which can be tailored to meet the needs of your organization.

Some common training formats include:

Common Ground Training

Common ground training is a form of DEI training that takes a holistic approach to diversity. It covers all aspects of diversity, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and ability. The goal of common ground training is to help employees from all manner of backgrounds come together behind a common set of ideals and principles.

Facilitated Conversation Training

Facilitated conversation training is a type of DEI training that focuses on dialogue and communication. The goal is to help employees learn how to have respectful, productive conversations about diversity with people from different backgrounds.

Implicit Bias Training

Implicit bias training is a type of DEI training that focuses on the subconscious biases we all carry. The goal is to help employees become more aware of these biases and how they can affect their interactions with others.

Cultural Competency Training

Cultural competency training is a type of DEI training that focuses on understanding the cultural norms and values of other cultures. The goal is to help employees become more aware of the cultural differences that exist in the workplace and learn how to interact with people from different cultures respectfully.

Accommodation Training

Accommodation training is a type of DEI training that focuses on understanding the legal requirements for accommodating employees with disabilities. The goal is to help employees learn how to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities and understand their rights and responsibilities under the law.

What resources can support DEI training?

There are many tools and resources that can help support DEI training. Some of the most common tools include:

Software & Tools

While software and tools supporting DEI training initiatives are fairly uncommon, there are still plenty of great options, including:

  • Allybot: Allybot is an inclusive language tool that integrates with your organization’s Slack channels. It scans outgoing messages for over 400 noninclusive words. When it finds one, it recommends more inclusive alternatives through gentle—private!—suggestions. The goal is to educate, not shame!
  • Diversio: Diversio is a people intelligence platform that aggregates data about your organization’s DEI performance and presents it in a centralized dashboard. The program uses AI to analyze messages, surveys, and social media posts related to DEI and helps leaders visualize the data.
  • Applied: Applied is a hiring platform that helps organizations address implicit and explicit biases within their hiring process. The platform uses anonymized profiles, skill-based assessments, and inclusive recruiting to support DEI initiatives.

Online Courses

In addition to software and tools, you should also consider using online courses and guides to support DEI initiatives at your organization.

Some great sources include:

  • Coursera: Coursera offers online courses in diversity and inclusion, leadership, and social justice. The courses are designed for individuals and organizations who want to build a foundation in DEI or improve their current skill set.
  • EdX: EdX offers online courses in diversity and inclusion, unconscious bias, and multicultural communication. These courses are designed for professionals who want to learn more about how to create an inclusive workplace.

Training Programs

Finally, training programs offered by DEI standards institutions are a great place to find structure for your own DEI initiatives.

Be sure to check out:

  • HRDQ: HRDQ offers a variety of training programs on DEI topics such as diversity and inclusion, cross-cultural communication, and managing bias. These programs provide an overview of the topic and offer exercises to help employees learn more about their own biases and how to interact with people from different backgrounds. They even have DEI-focused games!
  • EEOC: The EEOC offers a variety of training guides on topics such as disability discrimination, sexual harassment, and religious discrimination. These guides provide detailed information on the law and how to prevent and respond to discriminatory behaviors in the workplace.

What are some best practices for DEI training?

Again, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best practices for DEI training will vary from organization to organization. However, there are a few general tips that can help make your training initiatives more effective:

1) Make the training relevant to your employees’ lives.

One of the best ways to engage employees in DEI training is to make it relevant to their lives. This could mean discussing examples from their own personal experiences, or highlighting how diversity and inclusion play a role in their industry or field.

2) Be proactive about addressing unconscious bias.

Unconscious bias is a common barrier to creating an inclusive workplace, so it’s important to address it head-on during DEI training. This could involve exercises that help employees become aware of their own biases, or discussing strategies for mitigating them.

3) Encourage open dialogue and reflection.

One of the most valuable outcomes of DEI training is increased understanding and empathy among employees. Encouraging open dialogue and reflection can help create a safe space for employees to share their experiences and learn from each other.

4) Make the training interactive.

Employees are more likely to retain information when it’s presented in an interactive format. This could mean using games, activities, or case studies to engage employees in the training material.

5) Have a clear goal for the training.

Before starting any DEI training, it’s important to determine what you hope to achieve with it. This could be anything from increasing understanding of diversity and inclusion topics, to reducing discriminatory behaviors in the workplace. Having a clear goal will help you tailor the training to meet your specific needs.

6) Benchmark your training with KPIs.

While measuring the effectiveness of DEI training can be difficult, it definitely isn’t impossible. By measuring key performance indicators, you can get a sense of the effectiveness of your training initiatives.

Important KPIs to consider include:

  • Minority turnover
  • Applicant pool diversity
  • Leadership diversity
  • Public opinion

7) Follow up with continued support.

DEI training should not be a one-time event; it’s important to provide continued support to employees long after the training has ended. This could involve follow-up meetings, resources, or even just checking in with employees periodically to see how they’re doing.

8) Celebrate success!

Creating an inclusive workplace is a journey, not a destination. It’s important to celebrate every step of the way, and recognize the employees who are working hard to make your organization more inclusive. Acknowledge their efforts with awards, positive feedback, and opportunities for advancement.

Creating an inclusive workplace is a continuous process, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving it. However, by using the tips above you can create a training program that is effective, relevant, and engaging for your employees.

Final Thoughts

In order to create an inclusive workplace for your employees, it is important that you consider how their life experiences have shaped them. It’s also critical to address unconscious bias and make the training interactive—this will help ensure your employees retain information long after the training has ended.

To engage your employees in DEI initiatives with these principles at heart, follow up on any opportunities where they can share their personal stories or perspectives during training.

Finally, take advantage of some tools and resources at your disposal to put your training into action. You can try out Allybot today for free by adding it to Slack!