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Diversity Resource Guide

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has become a hot topic in today’s workplace due to the benefits and opportunities that diversity provides for innovation, creativity, profitability, culture, and bias reduction. In a 2021 meta-analysis of diversity’s effects on the workplace, Ceren Ozgen discovered that ethnic, gender, and educational diversity can promote innovation, creativity, and economic benefits. Other resources, such as the Western Governors University of Texas, communicate that the benefits of diversity include increased productivity levels and improved workplace cultures (WGU, 2019). Furthermore, research done by Sean Darling-Hammond, Randy T. Lee, and Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton suggests that having racially diverse employees reduces employees’ propensity to engage in racial bias (2021). Because of the wide-ranging benefits DEI offers, this Diversity Resource Guide has been created to shed light on how companies worldwide have developed and embraced diversity, so you—and your clients—can too.

“Diversity is the engine of invention. It generates creativity that enriches the world.” - Justin Trudeau

Workplace diversity programs

According to a study by McKinsey and Company, companies in the top quartile for being “ethnically diverse” are 35% more likely to outperform companies with less ethnic diversity. They also found that “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.” In the United States specifically, McKinsey and Company found that “for every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and tax rise by 0.8%.” Their research suggests that “diversity is a competitive differentiator” (Hunt et al., 2015). Furthermore, research from the Academy of Management has indicated that “lower-management racial diversity positively impacts firm productivity” (Richard et al., 2021).

One way that employers can harness the power of DEI is through the implementation of workplace diversity programs. While this is only a stepping stone on the path to a diverse workplace, according to Leah Kyaio of BenefitsPRO, training programs that encourage discussion and accountability, give employees tools for DEI, and span over a long period of time can be effective methods of DEI implementation (2021). The following programs are only a few examples of those available but are the most scientifically-based and widely-supported we have found currently available.


Exude’s diversity and inclusion training program focuses on four “core behaviors”:

  • Being self-aware,

  • Being inclusive,

  • Being well, and;

  • Being accountable.

Their training programs can be done virtually or in person, both in large and small groups. One key feature of Exude’s training program is the pre- and post-communication recommended between the trainer and trainee. They provide a diversity survey to help business leaders know “where to start or how to continue” with their “diversity and inclusion initiatives.”

Exude’s training program is flexible and acknowledges the differences between trainers and trainees. Their training is focused on interactive and activity-oriented activities that provide reference for use in the workplace. DEI consultant, Leah Kyaio, states in her 2021 publication that “effective training must include time to dialog... as well as time to practice and apply the tools” learned during DEI training. Exude incorporates both of these important factors into their DEI training program.

HRDQ Diversity Works

HRDQ Diversity Works has been considered to be one of the best diversity programs by several outside sources including The Balance and Business News Daily (Treece, 2021 & Sabih 2021).

Diversity Works offers business leaders an “interactive exploration into diversity awareness” that uses “the science of learning to create opportunities” for genuine conversations about diversity and inclusion.

Diversity Works focuses on three learning categories:

  • Understanding self,

  • Understanding others, and;

  • Communication.

In their program, learning stations are set up around a room and training participants are allowed to select which training activities they participate in. HRDQ’s training methods closely align with Scott Smith’s statement in his 2017 paper “Adult Learners: Effective Training Methods.” Smith states that “Adult learners do not want to be taught. They want to play a part and need to perceive training as something that will improve them as individuals” (2017).

One key feature that makes HRDQ Diversity Works particularly impactful is the opportunity for training participants to interact with each other. In one case study provided by HRDQ, a trainee stated, “I felt safe enough in this environment to share my personal experiences… when others shared their personal experiences, this helped me consider different perspectives and learn to be more open-minded.”


MESH offers training programs that are based on “science-based metrics” regarding “safety and inclusion.” They use live training sessions and assessments to quantifiably assess the improvement of trainees’ and their organization’s diversity and inclusion perspective. These assessments can be used to “accurately measure progress towards” diversity and inclusion goals.

Several successful organizations use MESH training programs including Habitat for Humanity and Silicon Valley Bank. Julia Deans, President and CEO at Habitat for Humanity Canada, states in her review of Mesh DEI training, “Our partnership with MESH has given us the ability to move beyond talk and use a proven strategy to implement anti-oppressive change across our organization. With its decades of D&I expertise, backed by cutting-edge data science and well-honed inclusion metrics, and its ability to deliver complex and difficult messages in a clear and supportive manner, MESH is helping us fulfill our mission of strengthening families and building up communities.”

One of the factors that makes MESH unique is its extensive use of data which measures several variables such as “self-acceptance,” “problem-solving,” “rapport,” and “integrity” for both the group and individual. The training is based on individual scores on their DEI assessment which can help adult learners establish what they need to learn and how they can learn it through the training course.

In 2020, Chapman University, released an article about their own “roadmap” to greater DEI. Their faculty supports the use of training that is “agile, adaptable, useful, and targeted” to the needs of trainees (Chapman University, 2020). MESH’s DEI training program is directly targeted to the needs of its trainees with the use of a DEI assessment. Chapman University faculty also request that “educational efforts” are “tracked and analyzed.” This request is also completed by MESH through their use and measurement of individual and group inclusion metrics.

“Greater diversity drives better business results.” - Sallie Krawcheck

Society of Human Resource Management: “Inclusive Workplace Culture: Leading and Sustaining a Culture Transformation”

The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) has released a team training and development course called “Inclusive Workplace Culture: Leading and Sustaining a Culture Transformation.” This program includes 4 modules which can be completed in 2 days in person or 4 weeks virtually. They structure their training around scenario and discussion-based learnings about the “characteristics and impact of an inclusive workplace.” The training program discusses “what an inclusive workplace culture is, why it matters, and how to develop one” as well as the “tools and techniques to foster a positive culture of inclusion.”

SHRM claims that this training helps “empower employees to take ownership of fostering a positive workplace culture,” “decrease staff turnover,” and “identify a technique to create, maintain, and measure an inclusive workplace.” A unique feature of this training is that all live online training sessions are recorded and available for review a full year after the training concludes. shares several reviews of the training program, all of which are 5 out of 5 stars. One review states that “Dr. P [the course conductor] was insightful and open with a transparency everyone can appreciate. He relates the information to real-life scenarios which make the content easy to understand. Attendees will leave the course wanting to create the most diverse and inclusive workplace culture possible.”

Compliance Training Group

The Compliance Training Group was rated as the runner-up for the best overall diversity training program in 2021 by The Balance Small Business. They were chosen because of their “diversity and sensitivity training programs that are specifically geared toward employees and supervisors.” Their training programs are affordable and accessible 24-hours a day. Furthermore, each training lasts only 1 hour for employees and 90 minutes for supervisors (Treece, 2021).

The Compliance Training Group offers training in several areas of DEI including essential concepts, unconscious bias, sensitivity, workshops. The Compliance Training Group has also been certified by the Human Resources Certification Institute, The State Bar of California, Illinois, and New York, the Society of Human Resource Management, U.S. Small Business Administration, National Minority Supplier Development Council, and several other organizations.

The course options by Compliance Training Group are a great option because of their flexibility, short completion times, and inclusion of discussion opportunities, which according to research by Andrew Booth, is a key component of the retainment of information and new knowledge (2007).

Center for Creative Leadership

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) has a unique approach to DEI training and considers equity to be a critical component in their training. Because of this, they consider their training to be EDI training: equity, diversity, and inclusion. They state that “leading with equity is about recognizing that different people have different needs and being committed to giving people what they need to succeed. When that happens, everyone wins.” They use the “REAL framework” in their training. This framework focuses on:

  • Revealing relevant opportunities and “identifying specific actions with curiosity and appreciative inquiry”

  • Elevating equity with “fair and contextually-appropriate access to resources and opportunities

  • Activating diversity by acknowledging, celebrating, and catalyzing differences

  • Leading inclusively to “create and sustain an environment that supports direction, alignment, and commitment from everyone” in an organization

A unique feature of CCL’s training is their ability to create custom EDI (or DEI) programs based on an organization’s unique “needs, context, and culture.” They also have other options for training such as “Better Conversations Every Day for Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion,” and “Leadership Topic Modules” about bias, listening, and emotional intelligence.

DEI Certification Programs

While workplace training programs are helpful for the establishment and maintenance of DEI practices, executives and business leaders are not exempt from embracing DEI education. According to research by Eddy NG and Greg Sears, CEOs’ beliefs and behaviors regarding DEI affect how HR managers implement DEI policies (NG & Sears, 2018). Because of this, we suggest additional training and certification programs in DEI for CEOs, executives, and other business leaders.

AMA Diversity and Inclusion

The American Management Association (AMA), certified by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training, has a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program that helps leaders to “build skills to lead and foster diversity and inclusion.” The program can be used in a classroom setting, online, or as a corporate-wide program. The program is 3 days long and focuses on teaching the “uniqueness and multidimensional aspects of individual identity,” understanding “biases on a deeper level,” and exploring “behaviors that promote trust” within corporate culture. Topics covered in the training include learning how the brain “processes information” and creates biases, conflict management, communication, creating inclusive meetings, and real-world application. At the end of the training program, participants receive a certificate from the American Management Association.


This program is 100% virtual and has 2 weeks’ worth of training spread across 2 months. In this program, trainees will “assess and improve employee engagement levels,” “recognize unconscious bias,” learn why “diversity matters,” and learn how to improve “psychological safety” in their organizations. Throughout the training session, several psychological concepts and studies are discussed including the famous Jane Elliot’s Brown Eyes vs. Blue Eyes experiment (Coleman, 2019). After training, participants receive a “Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell ILR School” and “32 professional development hours.”

Institute for Diversity Certification

The Institute for Diversity Certification, IDC, has a few options for diversity-centered programs:

  • Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) which focuses on the foundations of DEI, benefits of DEI, Equal Employment Opportunity Laws globally, harassment prevention, diversity recruiting, retention, training, discussion tools, resources, and many other key competencies.

  • Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) which focuses on personal awareness, stakeholder communication, benefits of DEI, global and large scale diversity efforts, boardroom and supplier diversity, and unconscious bias, among other concepts.

  • Artificial and Machine Bias Prevention (AMBP) which specifically focuses on artificial intelligence. Trainees can choose either the AMBP-Specialist or AMBP-Leader option.

The IDC hosts exams for these certifications, as well as preparation courses. Trainees can join classes and gain access to the IDC learning management system to help them prepare for the certification exam of their choosing. Other options include examination only, self-study, online prep courses, live academies, and custom options. Their certification process for AMBP is similar but has a few key differences which include additional requirements, practice, and job task analysis. Furthermore, the IDC seeks to consistently update their training every 2 years to account for changes or updates in DEI legislation and research.

“There’s a pure and simple business case for diversity: Companies that are more diverse are more successful.” - Mindy Grossman

University of Pennsylvania

Penn State offers a virtual training program called, “Culture-Driven Team Building: Optimizing Diversity in Teams.” This program is based on “social science perspectives” and teaches trainees how to use diversity “to maximize team performance, innovation and creativity,” use the “collective wisdom of diverse teams,” “handle conflict,” “establish ground rules,” and accurately define “diversity.” The program also discusses topics on biases, power, reward, and rhetoric. Although there are some reviews of the course stating technical difficulties, the course overall has received 4.3 stars based on 110 ratings (Coursera, n.d.).


Stanford school of business offers an online course titled “Leverage Diversity and Inclusion for Organizational Excellence” that is available fully online and based on “research-based content” for real-world application. The course is self-paced and has an 8- to 10-hour time commitment and gives its participants a course completion certificate at the end of training. Key topics covered include bias, the benefits of diversity, hiring bases and solutions, inclusive workplaces, and performance evaluation. Throughout the training, application assignments and personalized feedback are provided to trainees for additional learning opportunities.

“The thing that makes the world interesting is our differences, not our similarities.” - Tim Cook

Diversity First Certification Program

As part of the National Diversity Council, the Diversity First Certification Program offers a certification program and a graduate network for its National Diversity Council Certified Diversity Professionals. Trainees gain access to a DiversityFIRST Toolkit with diversity and inclusion (DI) resources, articles, infographics, and pre-recorded webinars. Upon certification, trainees are also introduced to the DiveristyFirst Graduate Network for networking and continued learning.

Their training focuses on defining diversity, benefits of DI, the multigenerational workforce, culture, unconscious bias, DI measurement, accountability, and leadership. Their 5-day certification program is available online and in-person. The Diversity First Certification Program’s mission is to prepare “professionals to create and implement highly successful diversity and inclusion strategies for organizational excellence and a competitive edge.” While their program does not have a specific focus on equity, they do discuss “micro-inequities” in their section about unconscious bias.

Insightful articles

The following DEI articles have been published by credible publications and can help business leaders and executive coaches understand diversity and its many applications in the workplace.

In this article, Kathy Gurchiek of the Society of Human Resource Management shares the importance of “regularly monitoring” diversity and inclusion metrics. She argues that diversity and integrity “efforts should not end once workers are hired” and other metrics such as “promotions, compensation, development opportunities and more” are vital for continued diversity inclusion. She also includes 10 recommendations for business leaders that wish to improve diversity and inclusion in their organizations (Gurchiek, 2021).

This article by McKinsey and Company outlines the many ways in which diversity improves executive teams and organizations. They analyzed data from 15 different countries and “more than 1,000 large companies.” Their article analyzes the current trends of corporate diversity and explains them with helpful and shareable infographics. They also provide specific examples of how executives can encourage diversity in their organizations. Recently, they have also published an article titled “Diversity Still Matters” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This article published by the Harvard Business Review by David Pedulla offers business leaders and executives five practical and “evidence-based” ways to increase diversity and inclusion as they lead their businesses. Including information from behavioral scientists and business leaders alike, the information provided in this article is high-impact and can be applied to any organizaiton.

In 2020, Chapman University released the “Roadmap for Best Practices” to outline its strategy and goals in implementing DEI. While this article is specific to Chapman University, it serves as a great reference for how DEI strategies can be developed and implemented. The authors of this article define DEI and create “actionable goals” based on the definition of DEI. Their goals include “equitable representation,” “inclusive policy,” “equitable access,” “equitable opportunity,” “commitment to recognizing bias,” and “accountability.”

Recruitment and retention DEI practices such as diverse applicants, “cluster faculty hires,” and “special hiring opportunities” are addressed. DEI is also applied to professional development, curriculum, “data tracking and analysis,” and learning environments. These insights can be a great source of information for business leaders assessing how they might incorporate DEI practices in various areas of their business.

Michelle MiJung Kim, CEO of Awaken, released her top 10 “key trends and recommendations” for companies working towards DEI. In this article, she includes trends such as “compassion fatigue,” the importance of being “data-driven” and research-based, the current state of executives, global team strategies, leadership training, DEI roles, accountability, defining diversity, resource groups, and social justice movements (Kim, 2020).

Leah Kyaio in her article from BenefitsPRO shares interesting insight into applying DEI training to the workplace. In this article, she discusses two types of resistance to DEI training, of which she calls, “resistance as part of the learning process” and “resistance as a reaction based on fear.” She also reviews factors that can cause “inclusion training to fail” and the need for long-term diversity training for all staff (Kyaio, 2021).

“The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people” - Unknown

Recent Research

The academic community continues to study DEI; searching for new insights, benefits, and conclusions that can be applied to the modern workplace. Consider the following research articles that we see as particularly impactful for today’s business leaders.

The research included in this article is sourced from a “field experiment in a major U.S. corporation” and shows the importance of how the “presentation of recruitment materials” affects workplace diversity. Currently, in the United States, 90% of Fortune CEOs are white males, indicating a potential barrier for the career developments of minorities. Instead of focusing on the definition of what diversity is, this research article focuses on how to increase diversity. Their results indicate the importance of language adjustments and “diversity messages” when hiring (Flory et al., 2021).

This research article in particular is focused on speech-language pathologists and offers several learning opportunities for today’s business leaders. In this article, the importance of diversifying the workforce in an effort to combat “racism, bias, and prejudice” is discussed. Cultural responsiveness is defined in this article as a “perpetual journey” and vital towards diversity and inclusions practices. They claim that there are four main components of culturally responsive teamwork:

  • Intrapersonal practices (self-reflection)

  • Interpersonal practices (listening skills)

  • Interprofessional practices (multi-cultural resources)

  • Interprofessional practices (team decisions)

By learning about, and implementing, these four components into everyday behavior, business leaders and speech pathologists alike can support “diversity within their own practice” (Hopf et al., 2021).

The researchers who created this study went beyond the importance of diversity and took a deep dive into what features of the workplace foster the benefits that diversity brings. The results of their research point to the importance of fostering diversity intentionally. They share that the “positive effects of diversity are likely to emerge only on knowledge-based and innovation tasks and when people have the ability and motivation to accomplish them.” The attitude and abilities of the team matter and foster the positive effects of diversity. Business leaders can intentionally foster the benefits of diversity by encouraging “cooperative interdependence,” equal status between groups, and a corporate culture that promotes “positive views towards diversity” (Guillaume et al., 2017).

Researchers Eddy S. NG and Greg J. Sears sought to understand the effects of CEO “beliefs” and “moral values” on the “implementation of workplace diversity practices.” They studied how a CEO’s beliefs and behaviors affected how HR managers implemented DEI practices. They analyzed responses from 286 CEO and HR paired surveys which measured CEO beliefs, CEO behavior, perception of CEO’s commitment to diversity, implementation of diversity practices, and several control variables.

A major finding of their study indicates that a “CEO’s words and action matter in setting the stage for the implementation of diversity initiatives, but the HR managers’ interpretation of these words and actions also plays an integral role in determining whether diversity management practices are in fact implemented.”

In summarizing their article, they state that “for diversity practices to be implemented, CEOs first must make sense of the value of increasing diversity in the workplace and form positive beliefs about workforce diversity…” They recommend that CEOs also “convey their priorities and support for diversity management through visible behaviors” like words and actions to encourage DEI implementation from HR managers (NG & Sears, 2018).

Released in the 2020 International Journal of Hospitality Management, researchers Francisco J. Garcia-Rodriguez, Daniel Dorta-Afonso, and Manuel Gonzalez-de-la-Rosa studied the effects of diversity management on hospitality employees’ job satisfaction and organizational commitment.

Garcia-Rodriguez and his colleagues define diversity management as “voluntary organizational actions that are designed to create greater inclusion of employees… through deliberate policies and programs.” Diversity management “programs, policies, and practices” include training, mission statements, and organizational procedures.

In their study, they conducted a quantitative study of hospitality employees in the Canary Islands, which is “a world reference tourist destination.” They used a questionnaire to “measure hospitality employees diversity management perceptions in their hotels, as well as their organizational commitment and job satisfaction.”

Results indicate that “employees’ perceptions of diversity management have a positive and significant direct effect on job satisfaction” and that employees’ perceptions of diversity management has an indirect effect on organizational commitment. In closing their research, they provide several recommendations for managers of hospitality organizations to consider such as incorporating diversity management into human resource policies (Gracie- Rodriguez et al., 2020).

Released in 2020 in the Journal of Business Ethics, researchers Tanja Rabl, Maria del Carmen Triana, Seo-Young Byun, and Laura Bosch studied the effects of employee perspectives on “organizational integration and learning approach to diversity” on “organizational ethical value.” One unique feature of this study is that they performed two separate studies: one in the USA and the other in Germany. Their studies included a series of questionnaires regarding employee “perceptions of an organizational integration and learning approach to diversity,” perceptions of “organizational ethical virtue,” “organizational citizenship behavior toward the organizaiton,” and “interpersonal workplace deviance.” Interpersonal workplace deviance refers to behaviors that are not welcome in the workplace and questionnaires regarding this asked questions such as “how often has this person said something hurtful to someone at work?” Paired participants were also involved in the study and able to answer questions about other study participants.

The research found that there is a connection between “perceived organizational inclusion efforts and perceived ethical virtue of the organization” and that “the integration and learning approach to diversity is beneficial for both the organization and its employees.” Organizations that used an “integration and learning approach to diversity” efforts were correlated with employees who believed their organizations had “ethical virtue.”

Furthermore, their research indicates that the “perceived ethical virtue of the organization is positively related to organizational citizenship behavior” and a reduction in “workplace deviance.” Because of this, they concluded that if an “organization is perceived as ethical, employees will reciprocate and perform organization citizenship behavior.” They indicate that organizations can serve as a role model for employees in what behaviors are acceptable, expected, and supported (Rabl et al., 2020).

“Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common… Celebrate it every day.” - Winston Churchill

Closing statement

As DEI research continues and new studies are published, this resource guide will be updated, changed, and further developed to best address the current understandings, learnings, insights, wisdom, statistics, and findings within the topics of DEI. As executive coaches, it is vital that we stay informed of current data and the latest research regarding DEI so that those we coach receive the latest information and see the greatest return on investment as a result.


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