21 Essential DEI Topics to Discuss in the Workplace

By: | Updated: April 17, 2024

You found our list of DEI topics.

DEI topics refer to discussions and strategies about workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, subjects include intersectionality, gender equality, or addressing microaggressions. The purpose of these topics is to ensure each team member feels valued. These elements are also known as “diversity topics for work.”

These DEI topics are similar to the benefits of diversity, inclusion moment ideas, and diversity and inclusion survey topics.

This list includes:

  • diversity topics for work
  • DEI business strategies
  • cultural diversity issues
  • DEI discussion themes

Let’s get started!

List of DEI topics

From inclusive leadership to microaggressions, here are diversity topics to discuss.

1. Inclusive Leadership

Inclusive leadership plays a large role in improving workplace diversity. Inclusive leaders encourage diversity and value each individual team member. By focusing on this process, firms can help folks with diverse backgrounds feel welcome.

Examples of inclusive leadership include active listening, cultural competence, and equitable policies. One key benefit of this practice is all team members feel heard and respected. Promoting open dialogue helps showcase diverse voices. Including employees in workplace discussions can offer unique ideas and insights. Having such conversations leads to more innovative solutions and boosts employee engagement.

2. Gender Equality

Gender equality is an important DEI topic. By addressing gender disparities, companies can create a more equitable workplace. Embracing equality fosters a sense of fairness while enhancing creativity, innovation, and collaboration.

To improve workplace gender equality, it is important to examine policies and practices. Certain policies may inadvertently cause bias or discrimination. Fair policies include equal opportunities for career advancement and transparent pay scales.

Companies can also hold regular training sessions to encourage workers to learn more about gender-related issues. Embracing diverse principles allows workers to have equal opportunities to grow.

Here is a list of women in leadership programs.

Get our free team building toolbox

  • icebreaker games
  • bingo cards
  • DIY guides

heartby teams at FedEx, Amazon, Deloitte and 73,930+ others

Tool Box

3. Microaggressions

Microaggressions are one of the most essential DEI discussion themes. This topic can have a significant impact on workplace diversity. Microaggressions occur when colleagues make negative comments based on race, gender, sexuality, or other identity. These comments or actions are often subtle and unintentional.

By openly discussing microaggressions, organizations can create awareness. Educating employees fosters a more inclusive work environment. When covering this topic, start by providing examples of microaggressions and their potential impact. You can create channels for employees to speak up when they witness or experience microaggressions. Plus, you can offer training programs to promote sensitivity and empathy.

4. Intersectionality

Intersectionality recognizes that gender, class, race, and sexuality shape individual identities. By discussing intersectionality, organizations can better understand employees’ unique challenges.

For this topic, consider hosting workshops or training sessions. Having open discussions where employees can share their perspectives is also valuable. These steps will help build awareness and promote respect for different backgrounds.

By discussing intersectionality, teams create a more inclusive work environment. Employees who feel understood are more likely to be engaged and contribute their best work. Plus, understanding intersectionality can improve workplace relationships. This understanding may also prevent microaggressions.

5. Cultural Sensitivity

Understanding and appreciating different cultures is key to making workplaces more diverse and inclusive. Inclusivity should extend beyond race to include gender, religion, and other identities. 

Improving cultural sensitivity is a continuous effort. It is important to have open conversations about diversity. Be sure to encourage employees to share experiences without judgment. Ongoing training on topics like unconscious bias and privilege helps raise awareness.

To further awareness of cultural backgrounds, host workshops and training sessions. You can also do fun activities like attending cultural festivals or visiting museums. Company policies can foster a sense of belonging as well, such as celebrating diverse holidays. By encouraging cultural sensitivity, organizations can promote collaboration and innovation. 

Check out this list of culture building activities.

6. Racial and Ethnic Identities

Discussing racial and ethnic backgrounds is crucial to promoting diversity and inclusion. When companies try to understand their employees’ ethnic backgrounds, staff members feel valued and recognized. This open dialogue helps break down barriers and stereotypes.

Firms can take several steps to understand racial diversity. Examples include diverse hiring practices, training programs, and mentorship programs. Companies can also celebrate diversity by acknowledging cultural events and holidays.

By encouraging conversations about race and ethnicity, companies can also identify and address potential biases. Embracing diversity offers different perspectives and enhances overall creativity.

Here is a guide from SHRM on how to talk to employees about race at work.

7. Neurodiversity

Discussing neurodiversity recognizes and values the natural differences in individuals’ brains. When talking about neurodiversity in the workplace, teams should appreciate and include individuals with conditions like autism, ADHD, and dyslexia. By embracing neurodiversity, companies can benefit from these individuals’ unique strengths and perspectives.

To make the workplace more inclusive, it is important to support diverse ways of thinking and working. This support includes providing accommodations tailored to the needs of neurodiverse employees. Examples include flexible work arrangements, clear communication, quiet spaces, and task prioritization support. These accommodations can enhance productivity and job satisfaction.

Promoting awareness about neurodiversity helps break down stigmas related to neurological differences. Teaching employees about different brain functioning styles creates a culture of acceptance. Discussing neurodiversity also opens up opportunities for innovation.

8. Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is one of the top cultural diversity issues. Unconscious bias occurs when individuals unintentionally make decisions based on stereotypes. This process happens to all individuals, which is why it is important to address. Openly acknowledging biases sets the stage for a more inclusive environment.

Overcoming unconscious bias requires continuous effort, including education, accountability, and self-reflection. Organizations must prioritize these initiatives as part of their DEI efforts.

Creating a safe space for open dialogue allows individuals to reflect on assumptions. This reflection can lead to more fair decision-making. You can use strategies like blind hiring, hiring panels, and data analysis to combat these biases.

Discussing unconscious bias actively contributes to building a more inclusive work environment.

9. Anti-Discrimination Policies

Anti-discrimination policies are crucial for promoting diversity and inclusion at work. These policies ensure a fair environment where leaders value employees for their abilities. Examples include equal pay, family leave, and accommodation policies.

With these rules in place, organizations commit to fairness and respect. Employers benefit from a positive culture while complying with ethical and legal standards. For employees, these policies mean improved opportunities, belonging, and satisfaction. Taking tangible actions to implement and enforce anti-discrimination policies is essential. This process creates inclusive workplaces that value and celebrate differences.

10. Equal Opportunities

Firms looking to improve their corporate social responsibility should focus on equal opportunities. Creating equal opportunities means giving all individuals an equal chance to succeed. Employees should have access to opportunities regardless of background, race, or gender.

Organizations can increase inclusivity by creating policies that value every employee’s unique perspectives. For instance, firms can review recruitment practices, hold diversity trainings, and establish mentorship programs.

Promoting equal opportunities attracts diverse talent, leading to increased creativity and innovation. Employees feel valued and engaged when they see fair opportunities for career advancement.

11. Diverse Recruitment

Diverse recruitment is one of the best DEI business strategies. Companies should actively seek out candidates from different backgrounds. Diverse hiring brings a range of perspectives, experiences, and skills to the table.

Diverse recruitment involves widening the channels for job postings. Firms can also partner with diverse organizations or educational institutions. Further, managers should use blind hiring practices to reduce unconscious biases. In addition, companies can invest in training and development programs.

Maintaining a diverse and supportive team requires regular effort. Hiring folks from different backgrounds is an important step. However, firms also need to create an inclusive culture.

12. Religious Acceptance

Accepting different religions is crucial for enhancing workplace diversity. Creating an environment where employees feel comfortable having different religions is key to diversity. Embracing religious diversity encourages different perspectives and cultivates respect.

To improve religious acceptance, start by writing inclusive policies. Examples include flexible scheduling for holidays and dress code modifications. Further, provide your team with resources to learn about different religious backgrounds.

13. Age Diversity

Age diversity in the workplace recognizes the value of a multigenerational workforce. Embracing age diversity brings different perspectives, experiences, and skills. Having different generations in the office fosters innovation and collaboration.

Inclusive recruitment strategies and mentorship programs can boost age diversity. Further, trainings on different work styles and generational differences can improve connections.

Knowledge sharing is a key benefit, allowing cross-generational learning. Age-diverse teams improve problem-solving by approaching challenges from various angles. This diversity strengthens customer connections by understanding different age groups’ preferences.

14. Employee Resource Groups

Employee Resource Groups, or ERGs, are a valuable tool. These groups bring together individuals with shared characteristics, like race, gender, sexuality, or disabilities. ERGs aim to foster inclusivity and drive positive change.

To set up an ERG, start by assessing employee interest. Then, set clear goals for diversity strategies and programs. ERGs can provide resources and encourage connections between companies and staff.

Joining an ERG offers benefits for both individuals and organizations. Employees connect with like-minded colleagues, discuss relevant issues, and seek support. ERGs also provide networking and development opportunities. From an organizational perspective, ERGs offer insights into the concerns and needs of different groups. These programs also suggest ways to improve policies and practices for equity. ERGs play a vital role in improving workplace diversity.

Here is a list of employee resource group best practices.

15. LGBTQ+ Inclusion

Talking about LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace is crucial for enhancing diversity. Open conversations help address unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ employees. These talks can lead to policies that protect employees’ rights and create a culture of acceptance.

This support can boost employee engagement, retention, and productivity. Discussions can happen through training, workshops, or ERGs. Organizations should prioritize LGBTQ+ inclusion as part of broader diversity efforts.

16. Socioeconomic Inclusion

Including individuals from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds boosts workplace diversity. The biggest barrier for folks with different financial situations is equal opportunities. Folks in a higher bracket may have more connections or opportunities. Thus, organizations should promote fair hiring practices and offer reasonable compensation.

Another step firms can take is offering tailored programs for underrepresented groups. An example could be hosting an open-invitation networking event. Businesses can also offer mentorship programs and provide financial literacy training.

Actively seeking talent from diverse backgrounds broadens perspectives. Hiring individuals from all walks of life can improve productivity and innovation.

17. Workplace Accessibility

Making workplaces accessible is one of the more essential diversity topics for work. This process means creating an environment where all employees can actively participate. One example of workplace accessibility is making spaces usable for workers with disabilities. In addition, firms should provide necessary accommodations and offer equal promotion opportunities.

Companies can start by assessing areas that need improvement. For instance, firms can install ramps or elevators for wheelchair users and ergonomic workstations. Another example is investing in assistive technologies for those with visual or hearing impairments. Clear policies on reasonable accommodations and open communication are also important. Creating an accessible workplace often assists the entire team.

Here is a list of National Disability Employment Awareness Month Ideas for work.

18. Mental Health Awareness

Talking about mental health is important to improve diversity at work. Openly discussing mental health challenges helps create an inclusive and supportive environment. Recognizing and addressing these challenges makes individuals from diverse backgrounds feel valued and understood.

Companies can provide mental health resources, encourage open dialogue, and implement supportive policies. For instance, offering mental health days can help employees feel comfortable taking care of themselves. Prioritizing mental health awareness enhances employee well-being.

Check out this list of Mental Health Awareness Month ideas for the office.

19. Inclusive Language

Using inclusive language is an essential part of creating a welcoming environment at work. This language helps each team member feel respected and included. Examples of inclusive language include gender-neutral terms, person-first language, and inclusive greetings.

Avoiding exclusive terms or assumptions about colleagues’ characteristics promotes fairness. Having thoughtful discussions also ensures each team member feels comfortable contributing. Inclusive language shows that companies value diversity. Further, this process prevents unintentional exclusion or hurtful communication.

20. Pay Equity

Talking about pay equity ensures that companies pay all employees fairly for their work, regardless of gender or race. Addressing any differences in pay creates an equal and just workplace. Pay equity discussions help identify and correct any differences.

By tackling this issue, companies promote a sense of fairness among employees. In addition, when members receive equal pay for equal work, it fosters a more motivated and satisfied workforce. Pay equity also aligns with the principles of fairness and helps build trust within the organization.

21. Feedback Culture

Having a feedback culture for DEI initiatives helps the workplace share their thoughts and experiences. When teams feel comfortable giving feedback, the organization can understand what is working well and what needs improvement.

To create a feedback culture, here are a few steps you can take:

  • Create feedback channels, including anonymous ones.
  • Have regular discussions about DEI initiatives.
  • Create an environment that welcomes and uses constructive feedback.

This open communication helps the organization grow and become even better at supporting diversity.

Read this guide on open-door policies.

Final Thoughts

Discussing DEI topics in your workplace leads to an inclusive environment. This practice also encourages creativity and different perspectives. Diversity includes cultures, backgrounds, experiences, and even thought processes. By discussing DEI initiatives, companies can create an inclusive environment where every voice matters. Workplaces can foster innovation, improve performance, and boost employee satisfaction.

Next, check out our posts on DEI dashboardsuseful DEI tips, and powerful DEI quotes.

Book wildly fun team building events with expert hosts

View experiences
team building event banner

FAQ: DEI topics

Here are frequently asked questions about DEI topics.

Why are DEI topics important in business?

DEI topics are essential in business because they facilitate diverse viewpoints. These perspectives pave the way for greater innovation. Additionally, encouraging a broader range of talent from different backgrounds aids in company growth.

What are some effective strategies for promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Promoting diversity in the workplace needs effective strategies.

Here are some of the best tips:

  • Create feedback channels and have open discussions.
  • Review policies and procedures.
  • Hold trainings to discuss DEI topics.
  • Encourage and support ERGs.

By following these steps, you can create a more equitable company.

Can discussing DEI topics affect a company's performance?

Discussing DEI topics positively impacts companies’ performance. These talks create environments that cultivate different thoughts and ideas. Innovative problem-solving techniques ultimately boost productivity and financial performance.

How do you build an inclusive work environment?

Companies must make a conscious effort to build an inclusive work environment. By making DEI discussions a priority, firms can make offices more welcoming. Examples include writing more flexible policies, improving hiring practices, and creating accommodating workspaces.

What are the main challenges in discussing DEI topics in a corporate setting?

Discussing DEI topics in a corporate setting comes with several challenges.

Here are a few challenges to keep in mind:

  • Topics are sensitive and may have a strong effect on employees.
  • Workers may be resistant to changing policies or recognizing internal issues.
  • Organizations may face time or budget constraints.

Leaders should take the time to approach DEI topics thoughtfully and regularly. Then, teams will become more comfortable with these talks.

Author avatar


CEO at teambuilding.com.
I write about my experience working with and leading remote teams since 2010.


Share this article:
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Get our free team building tool box

$49 value at no cost.

Tool Box

Enter your email for instant access