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Leveraging Books for DEI Success

Posted by Sophie Butler on Feb 05, 2024

Leveraging Books for DEI Success

4 Ways to Incorporate Books into Your DEI Initiatives

Happy Black History Month! As we kick off celebrating Black History Month, it's an important reminder of the importance of creating an inclusive workplace for everyone year round. And creating a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) program is a crucial step towards fostering a workplace that values and respects diverse voices.

DEI training ensures fair opportunities and treatment, fostering a sense of belonging, and creates a collaborative environment where all employees feel respected and valued. A Gallup study revealed that DEI programs contribute to higher employee engagement which outperforms their peers by 147%. And a Glassdoor study indicated that 67% of potential employees consider a diverse workplace as an important factor when comparing job offers. Proving that a strong DEI program leads to attracting and retaining top talent for your organization.

Now how do you make a DEI program that engages your employees and stands out? Try adding a reading component to your program with a book! Books offer a unique and immersive way to spark important conversations in the workplace. They act as windows into different cultures, experiences, and perspectives, making them invaluable tools to complement your DEI program.

Here are some ways you can incorporate books into your next DEI initiatives:

1. Create a Book Club

A book club is the perfect place to start when thinking about how to integrate discussions on diversity in the workplace into your organization. By fostering empathy, promoting open dialogue, and expanding cultural awareness, a book club creates a shared experience that strengthens team bonding and encourages inclusive leadership.

Be sure to select books for various backgrounds and that explore themes of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It’s also important to create a space where your employees feel comfortable and safe to express their thoughts and experiences with one another. This creates a casual but enjoyable atmosphere for employees to connect and bond leading to increased employee engagement and retention. You can get started by checking out our list of DEI books.

2. Offer Lunch-and-Learn Sessions

If you want to create a more formal opportunity for employees to engage in, creating an optional lunch-and-learn session is a great idea. Offering these lunch sessions where you cater food and offer training sessions for DEI topics allows employees to come together and engage with each other while learning valuable information.

There are plenty of ways to elevate your lunch-and-learn sessions. Consider hiring an expert speaker to offer a diverse perspective. Gray+Miller Agency is a great place to start when looking for today’s most diverse, engaging, and influential speakers. At the end of these lunch sessions, think about offering supplementary material like a book that the speaker recommends.

3. Partner Books in your DEI Training

If you already have a DEI program in place that’s great! By integrating literature into your established program, you harness the power of storytelling to drive meaningful conversations, broaden perspectives, and cultivate a workplace culture that truly embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Diversity training in the workplace is more important than ever. Books offer a comprehensive exploration of various cultures, contributing to an enriched cultural awareness. It also increases employee engagement in your program and gives employees a way to take home what they learn. Because who doesn’t love an engaging, fresh perspective!

4. Curate a DEI Library

Having resources readily available for employees is always important. By providing employees with a curated collection of diverse perspectives and important insights it encourages employees to read and share what they learned. You can create a check out system where employees can take home books and engage in this important reading on their own.

We hope these ideas have helped show how books have the ability to shape perspectives, spark conversations, and contribute significantly to the success of your DEI initiatives. This Black History Month, let's commit to not only reflecting on the past but actively shaping a more inclusive future.


To help you get started we compiled a list of DEI books that would be perfect for your diversity, equity, and inclusion training or just to have in your DEI library! Here are 10 books to consider introducing into your workplace: 

  1. Our Hidden Conversations: What Americans Really Think about Race and Identity by Michele Norris
  2. Rising Together: How We Can Bridge Divides and Create a More Inclusive Workplace by Sally Helgesen
  3. DEI Deconstructed: You No-Nonsense Guide to Doing the Work and Doing It Right by Lily Zheng
  4. Reconstructing DEI: A Practitioner’s Workbook by Lily Zheng
  5. Radical Inclusion: Seven Steps to Help You Create a More Just Workplace, Home, and World by David Moinina Sengeh
  6. The First-Time Manager: DEI: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by Alida Miranda-Wolff
  7. Radical Respect: How to Work Together Better by Kim Scott
  8. Inclusion on Purpose: An Intersectional Approach to Creating a Culture of Belonging at Work by Ruchika Tulshyan
  9. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Trainers: Fostering DEI in the Workplace by Maria Morukian
  10. I Respectfully Disagree: How to Have Difficult Conversations in a Divided World by Justin Jones-Fosu
  11. How to Be an Inclusive Leader, Second Edition: Your Role in Creating Cultures of Belonging Where Everyone Can Thrive by Jennifer Brown
  12. The Leader's Guide to Unconscious Bias: How To Reframe Bias, Cultivate Connection, and Create High-Performing Teams by Pamela Fuller and Mark Murphy
  13. Decentering Whiteness in the Workplace: A Guide for Equity and Inclusion by Janice Gassam Asare
  14. The Necessary Journey: Making Real Progress on Equity and Inclusion by Ella F. Washington

So here’s to turning your DEI program into the kind of party where everyone's invited. If you are interested in any of the above titles or want recommendations on more titles fit for your program be sure to connect with an account manager today. Let the pages of these books be catalysts for positive change within your organization.