7 Online Classes to Boost Diversity and Inclusion at Your Workplace

In today’s corporate world, more managers than ever are faced with an important responsibility. They are attempting to turn the tables on systemic discrimination and make workplaces more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

However, while many companies are able and willing to devote resources to important initiatives such as employee diversity and inclusion training or hiring a DEI consultant, other businesses either don’t have the means to do so, or, unfortunately, are choosing not to prioritize these matters.

If this is the situation at your workplace, don’t lose heart. Even if your company as a whole isn’t formally pursuing any DEI initiatives, there’s still plenty you can do as an individual to help make your workplace a more inclusive one. Learning about DEI efforts and best practices is a great place to start, and these seven online classes will give you the opportunity to do so free of charge.

1. Address Your Unconscious Bias (Grovo)

Unconscious bias can have a huge impact on almost every workplace interaction. This is why it’s vital to acknowledge that this form of prejudice exists and to learn how to recognize it. This suite of “microlessons” from Grovo will help you do just that.

Each of the 20 video lessons is about three minutes each. All together, they can help you see the role that unconscious bias plays in your business decisions and show you what steps you can take to overcome it.

2. eLesson: Unconscious Bias (Microsoft)

Another helpful resource dealing with unconscious bias is this eLesson from Microsoft. It covers similar material to the Grovo course—understanding unconscious bias and its influence on your behavior, and learning specific actions that can help counter bias in your work environment—but this time in a self-paced, text-based form that may be easier for some learners to work through.

3. Gender Equality and Sexual Diversity (Udemy)

The power dynamics at play in your workplace don’t exist in a vacuum. They unfold against a broader backdrop of equality and diversity issues that affect just about every aspect of our society. Taking a look at the bigger picture and helping you understand the overall context for your workplace DEI efforts is what this comprehensive course from Udemy is all about.

With nearly six hours of content broken into 30 separate lectures, Gender Equality and Sexual Diversity tackles everything from the history of gender and sexual inequality, to types of discrimination, to the individuals and institutions currently advocating for minority rights.

4. Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace (Coursera)

The great paradox of diversity, particularly in the workplace, is that we need to be able to see differences in order access the benefits of diversity. However, seeing those differences is precisely what can hone our discriminatory reflexes and lead to further inequality.

This course, offered through Coursera by ESSEC Business School, unpacks this paradox with a hugely informative introduction to the basics of diversity and inclusion. Over the course of four weeks, with a two-hour lesson each week, you’ll learn more about the diversity paradox, how it comes into play in the workplace, and what you can do to be a better ally to your diverse colleagues and employees.

5. Leading With Effective Communication (edX)

Communicating effectively can be a challenge, particularly when the people you’re communicating with are different from you in some way. This course is all about enhancing your communication skills and approach so that you can become a truly inclusive leader. Topics covered include working through common communication roadblocks, developing strategies to create safe spaces where diverse voices can feel comfortable speaking up, and identifying and building on your existing communication strengths.

6. Inclusion of Minorities in Community Development (Alison)

This course may be focused on creating community rather than on the workplace, but it provides an excellent primer on diversity and what that can look like. Over the course of eight lessons, you’ll build an understanding of all the different forms diversity can take—from class to education to mental or physical ability—and boost your knowledge of how you can be more inclusive of people at your company who belong to a minority group.

7. Optimizing Diversity on Teams (Coursera)

Building a diverse workforce is certainly the right thing to do from a social perspective, but it’s also a proven way to boost the performance of your business. This course, offered through Coursera by the University of Pennsylvania, focuses on leveraging diversity to maximize the performance, innovation, and creativity of your team.

With the goal of creating prosperous teams where differences can flourish, Optimizing Diversity on Teams show you how to draw out the collective wisdom of a diverse group, handle conflict and differences of opinion, and help people from different backgrounds and circumstances establish common ground. With a two- to four-hour lesson each week for four weeks, this course is an excellent resource for anyone in charge of managing groups or teams.