The 8 Best Diversity Training Programs of 2020

Help employees build an environment of inclusion

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In one workplace hiring survey conducted by Glassdoor, two-thirds of respondents reported that workplace diversity was something they considered when looking for a job. What’s more, surveys have also shown that companies with greater ethnic and gender diversity tend to financially outperform less diversified competitors. 

These statistics suggest that diversity and inclusion are critical for companies that want to attract top talent in their industry and maximize profits.

However, this also requires that employers provide training to help employees understand company values about diversity, overcome unconscious biases, and build a more inclusive working environment. This is done through diversity training.

We compiled a list of the best diversity training providers and programs from across the country. These programs help employers teach employees and supervisors about workplace diversity, hiring and promoting practices, and building an inclusive team. The best diversity training programs are effective and easy for employers to purchase and deploy. Programs are also cost-effective, impactful, and flexible for employees who are being onboarded or trained at different times. Read on to find the ideal diversity training for your company.

The 8 Best Diversity Training Programs of 2020

Best Overall: HRDQ

HRDQ

HRDQ

Diversity training from HRDQ comes in the form of “Diversity Works,” a three-hour workshop and interactive game. Diversity Works allows for up to 25 participants and is designed to help employees understand themselves and each other while encouraging respectful communication.

We chose HRDQ as our best overall diversity training provider because their training is interactive, fostering both cooperation and team-building. Training starts at $999, which puts the cost for teaching 25 employees at just under $40 each. Training refills (replenishment of course materials) of certain workshop and activity materials are available for $500. However, training does not provide employees with a certificate of completion.

HRDQ has been a coaching and training tool provider since 1977. The company provides training on a wide range of topics including accountability, coaching, leadership, decision making, and performance management. HRDQ is headquartered in West Chester, Pennsylvania. While there is no Better Business Bureau listing, the company has few complaints that we could find online.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Compliance Training Group

Compliance Training Group

Compliance Training Group

Compliance Training Group is a division of Employers Choice, which was founded in 2002. It is based in Los Angeles and has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Compliance Training Group provides employee training on a number of different subjects including substance abuse awareness, sexual harassment, violence in the workplace, and workplace ethics.

We chose Compliance Training Group as our runner-up for best overall diversity training provider because the company offers diversity and sensitivity training programs that are specifically geared toward employees and supervisors. Programs can be accessed and completed 24 hours a day.

In addition to being easy to purchase and complete online, diversity and sensitivity training from Compliance Training Group is also cost-effective, coming in at just $30 per employee. Employee training programs last one hour, while supervisor training is 90 minutes.

Best University Training for Managers & HR Professionals: eCornell

eCornell

eCornell 

eCornell is the online course platform from Cornell University, a top-ranked private Ivy League school founded in Ithaca, New York, in 1865. Through eCornell, Cornell University offers more than 80 training programs related to human resources, marketing, accounting, and other topics.

Among its many training programs, eCornell offers training on workplace diversity and inclusion that is specifically geared toward business owners, managers, and HR professionals, who are then better prepared to train their own employees after completing this course. The program is all online and lasts approximately two months. Training can be purchased for a one-time fee of $3,600 or six monthly payments of $650 and includes a university certificate for users who complete the training.

Best Reusable Training: Media Partners

Media Partners

Media Partners

Media Partners is a training and consulting company founded in 1993. While the company previously focused on individual consulting services, since changing its CEO in 2016 it has expanded its training offerings. Today, it is primarily focused on organizational training on issues such as harassment, team building, and leadership development.

Media Partners offers several workplace diversity training programs and tools, but the program the stand out for is its Diversity 101 — The Complete Series program. Diversity 101 is a DVD that lasts for 36 minutes and covers topics including biases, inappropriate jokes, good workplace behavior, and working with bilingual employees. This training requires an upfront investment of $895 but can be used repeatedly as employers hire or retrain employees.

Best Training for Large Workforces: ProProfs

ProProfs

ProProfs

ProProfs is an online training and assessment company that was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in Santa Monica, California. The company offers a platform for people to design courses, quizzes, games, and project management tools. Using ProProfs’ software, employers can design their own diversity and inclusion training that is completely customizable and includes videos, presentations, and quizzes. The company is not Better Business Bureau-accredited but has only one complaint over the past three years.

While ProProfs offers ultimate flexibility for employers who want to build their own customized, scalable training, it’s not for everyone. Once built, diversity training provided using ProProfs’ software costs $2 or less per user. Employers must order at least 10 licenses for ProProfs’ basic product or 100 licenses for more advanced versions that make ProProfs beneficial. This makes ProProfs more appropriate for businesses with many employees and with a greater need to provide customized training online.

Best Professional Certificate Program: edX

edX

edX 

edX is an online educational platform developed by several top-tier universities, including MIT, Harvard, Georgia Tech, and the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to course offerings from these institutions, edX also offers online programs developed by international universities, nonprofits, and other organizations—many courses even qualify for college credit if applicants later decide to pursue a degree from a participating university.

edX’s Inclusive Leadership program was developed by Catalyst, a nonprofit founded in 1962 with the goal of working with employers to promote female leadership in businesses around the world. The Inclusive Leadership program is a professional certificate program that is designed to help businesses “increase employee engagement, innovation, and to win the war for talent.” The course costs $135 and, though structured as a self-paced review of lectures and course materials, lasts for approximately four weeks, with one to two hours of work per week.

Best Training on Gender Equality & Sexual Diversity: Udemy

Udemy

Udemy

Udemy is an online learning marketplace that was founded in 2010. The platform offers training programs and additional resources on a wide range of topics, including accounting, business, marketing, and even non-business topics like photography and music. Customers who purchase training programs through Udemy receive lifetime access to its training material.

Diversity training from Udemy is focused exclusively on gender equality and sexual diversity. The training helps employees to understand the importance of sexual diversity in the workplace and how they can build a cohesive workplace that’s considerate of employees who identify as non-binary, transgender, or other orientations. Udemy offers a free diversity course as well as paid programs that range from $12 to $35.

Best Free Training Option: Coursera

Coursera

Coursera

Coursera is an online learning platform that was founded in 2012 by two Stanford professors. The platform offers hundreds of free courses, many of which award professional certificates. Courses cover topics ranging from language skills to math, computer science, and business. Coursera offers courses from many top-tier universities and companies, a list that includes Stanford, Penn, Michigan, Duke, and IBM.

Workplace diversity and inclusion training from Coursera consists of a course that was designed by ESSEC Business School, a university based in Cergy, France. The course is free to enroll in and takes approximately 13 hours to complete. Users have the option of purchasing a certificate that they can add to their LinkedIn profile. Coursera also advertises that more than 10% of users who have completed the course reported receiving a promotion afterward.

What Is Diversity Training?

Diversity and inclusion training includes classes that business owners provide for their employees to help guide their behavior and perspective in the workplace. This training is meant to raise employee awareness about workforce diversity, teach about diversity in hiring and promotion, and help employees overcome their own unconscious bias. As a result of this training, employers can build a more inclusive work environment, encourage team cohesion, and improve relationships among employees, vendors, partners, and customers.

An Overview of Legal Ramifications

Federal law does not explicitly require employers to provide workplace diversity training. However, this training helps to ensure companies’ compliance with Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) sections of the Civil Rights Act. While it doesn’t indemnify employers, the training can help protect companies against potential future liability in the event of harassment or discrimination in the workplace.

What Does Diversity Training Typically Include?

Most diversity training programs start by defining diversity and inclusion. Programs also usually explain applicable federal and state laws, company values, and policies regarding diversity in the workplace (including hiring and promotion policies). Most training programs then use real-world examples and scenarios to impart lessons about the importance of diversity and what it means for employees. Many programs use these scenarios to show employees how to build a stronger team and how employees can learn from each others’ perspectives. Lastly, diversity training often helps establish clear expectations for employees’ relationships with their employers and each other.

What Does Diversity Training Typically Exclude?

While diversity training often helps employees to better understand their company’s policies and values—and also each other—training is not designed to help employees address individual issues in the workplace. Training also doesn’t usually address other elements of harassment (including sexual harassment). Lastly, while scenarios are often used, training sessions are not designed to serve as therapy or counseling.

What Are the Expected Costs of Diversity Training?

Most diversity training programs—especially online courses—cost between $20 and $50 per employee. However, some courses may charge a set fee if you’re using a pre-packaged class, workshop, or static training tool like a DVD. Some training providers also offer discounts for employers offering multiple training sessions, but these must all be from the same provider and are negotiated individually based on the specific programs you require.

The typical costs of diversity training are:

  • Online employee course: $25 to $50 per employee
  • Workshop or game: $500 to $2,000 (20 to 50 employees)
  • DVD: $400 to $1,000 per DVD
  • Online certification programs: $135 to $2,000 per registrant

How We Chose the Best Diversity Training Companies

To identify the best diversity training companies, we reviewed offerings from over 35 human resources consultants, law firms, colleges and online course providers, and workforce training program providers and platforms. We focused on programs that employers can find, price, and purchase easily online. We also tried to identify programs that are easy for employers to use and that offer flexibility in when and how employees complete their training. 

Because diversity training is not federally-mandated, few providers offer certificates for employees who complete training. However, we tried to incorporate providers that offer comprehensive diversity and inclusive training that covers multiple subtopics, best help employers to comply with the Civil Rights Act, and build an inclusive environment for employees.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Glassdoor. "What Job Seekers Really Think About Your Diversity and Inclusion Stats." Accessed April 20, 2020.

  2. Vivian Hunt, Dennis Layton, and Sara Prince. "Why Diversity Matters." McKinsey and Company. Accessed November 9, 2020.