Employer Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Toolkit

Thank you for your interest in the CSU Career Center’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Toolkit. We are excited to work with our employer partners to help support their recruiting goals and promote Ram talent.

The creation of the toolkit came as a result of years of conversations with employers working to answer the question, “how does my organization recruit diverse talent?” While this toolkit by no means answers that question with a single solution, it is our best attempt to help provide organizations the tools to recruit diverse students, as well as be equipped to fully support those students as employees. What we do know about recruiting diverse talent is that successful organizations look beyond just the recruiting process and instead focus on how to retain diverse talent or create a culture that is welcoming to that diverse talent. We hope this toolkit will help connect our employers to tools that they can learn from and that it will also provide ideas about how to engage their organization in conversations around diversity and inclusion. We also aim to be able to more clearly outline what diversity and inclusion means at CSU. There are items in this toolkit that will inform you of our university demographics and that will also highlight the work we do to try and support inclusive efforts at our university. By providing you this context, we hope it will encourage you to ask additional questions about the strategies we use and that it will give you insight into the student populations you might be aiming to recruit.

The Career Center team is by no means an expert in any of the following content areas. We instead are eager to learn alongside you about how your organization promotes diversity and inclusion and engage in conversations about how to best support our students as they enter the world of work in an increasingly diverse workforce.

We expect that this toolkit, like the work of diversity and inclusion, will shift and adapt to upcoming needs as our understanding of how it shows up in office cultures evolves. As such we will be updating the toolkit monthly to keep it relevant. If you have further suggestions or ideas of how to expand the toolkit, please reach out to Sam Boren to submit those ideas.

Resource of the Month – How does your organization using professionalism in your workplace and is it coded language? The Stanford Social Innovation Review explores more in: The Bias of ‘Professionalism’ Standards

The Importance of a Diverse Workforce

With the changing demographics of our student population and national workforce, it is imperative that employers seeking to hire CSU Rams have the commitment, skills, and workplace environment needed to recruit and retain a diverse talent pool.

Why Does it Matter?

  • Our future students will be increasingly and majority Hispanic/Latinx
  • Over a quarter of our undergraduate students identify as diverse
  • By 2045 Census Projections predict that the US will have a more racially diverse population where white people will no longer be in the numerical majority
  • Racially and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors, and those with gender diversity are 15% more likely to outperform their competitors
  • Diverse talent leads to increased creativity, higher innovation, better decision making and more. Read about the many benefits of a diverse workplace here

The research is clear, companies that create and retain a diverse workforce are more successful. At the same time, there are too many stories and studies that illustrate people with diverse identities feeling excluded, unwelcome, or outright terrorized in the workplace. This leads to disengagement which ultimately could lead to turnover. Highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability and the cost of turnover ranges from 10-30% of EACH lost employee’s annual salary. These are facts that organizations cannot ignore if they want to succeed and excel in their mission and goals.

While we know diversity efforts can help organizations with profits, retention, and culture, there are still roadblocks organizations face to support a diverse workforce well. This article in Forbes talks about strategies to overcome those challenges and one of the first steps is aligning their organizational diversity practices with their organizational goals. We recognize that each organization is at a different place in their journey but we hope that this toolkit provides a starting point for employers to begin (or expand) designing and implementing inclusive recruitment and retention practices.

ACTION ITEM: Organizational Diversity and Inclusion Assessments

Organizational and Self-Assessments

A first step organizations can take to improve their diversity and inclusion efforts is to complete an organizational assessment. These assessment tools allow for organizations to examine their current status and then strategize for how to improve in the future. There are free and paid tools all throughout the internet. Options of each will be referenced below.

Preparation: For organizational change to occur, organizations first need to be in the right mindset. Successful organizations are aware that:

  • Change is a process
  • Progress occurs in stages
  • Change is not linear – often times organizations will move in a variety of directions while working through the process of change.
  • Organizations must assess their current inclusion stage and preparedness for change

Assessing the organization’s current stage is best served when teams work to capture the following:

  • A survey of as many employees as possible
  • Interviews with key informants (leadership, management, and stakeholders) which sometimes include outside constituents who can give you an external perception of your organization or what it is like to work with you
  • Focus groups with members of various departments and units within the organization

Stages of Inclusion (originally sourced from DTUI.com): Many assessments will provide a categorization of where an organization is after they complete their assessment. Having this organizational awareness AND accepting it allows the group to begin to plan for actual change and identify areas of growth.

The following is a sample of different stages of inclusion an organization could be in related to intercultural competencies. Read prior to completing an organizational assessment and see if you can self-assess where your group could be. Don’t be surprised, however, if your initial reaction places your group at a higher stage than the assessment indicates. It is often common to have a view of your organization as being further advanced than it might actually be.

  1. Conventional(Stage 1): The primary view of an organization in this stage is that only those who fit into the traditional norms and values will succeed.
  2. Defensive(Stage 2): The leadership understands that the organization must work to make others feel included but continue to resist changing the culture.
  3. Ambivalent(Stage 3): The Ambivalent stage is present when historically excluded group members represent 15% to 25% of the institution’s population and diversity best practices are being put into place to include them.
  4. Egalitarian(Stage 4): Cultural differences are embraced yet there is resistance against putting efforts into make further changes to create a level playing field.
  5. Integrative(Stage 5): The high performing organization actively includes and utilizes the wide range of skills and perspectives of its identity groups. There is fairness and equity in the organization that promotes diversity with little effort.

Free Offerings:

Here are several offerings related to where you can begin to assess your organization. Brief descriptions and sources are also listed.

  • National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 2013 
    • A self-assessment tool that helps you identify goals, track milestones, and self-construct a plan to achieve goals. Organization should already have some context related to goals and be able to motivate themselves enough to create internal change. This tool is brief and not as comprehensive.
  • Mental Health Commission of Canada, 2017
    • While this assessment focuses on how to create an inclusive workplace for employers with an emphasis on mental health, the organizational assessment found on page 14 is still a comprehensive tool. Organizations would need to be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, current policies, and have a representative group of people to share input on status. The tool is lengthy but open ended.
  • D5 DEI Self-Assessment
    • D5’s self-assessment is a tool for identifying areas of work that your foundation is already engaged in and opportunities for growth. This assessment will capture your foundation’s current situation, spark conversations about DEI and what is possible, and help identify tangible action steps that will improve your foundation’s effectiveness and strengthen its relevance in our increasingly diverse society. This assessment focuses on underrepresented identity populations that you may or may not be serving in your organization.

Paid Offerings:

Below are some paid options to consider if your organization is looking for more comprehensive results and help crafting an action plan.

  • Equity Solutions
    • One Colorado local and BIPOC owned business that we recommend after having partnered with the owner for several panels is Equity Solutions. From early-stage bias training to advanced anti-racist work, they help their clients both identify and achieve their goals of fostering the most inclusive and equitable experiences for all in the workplace. Equity Solutions is based in Boulder.
  • D&I Assessment from the Kaleidoscope Group
    • With a D&I Assessment, The Kaleidoscope Group assesses your organization through a Diversity & Inclusion lens and uses data-driven insight to inform strategies that achieve real change.
  • Lead Inclusively, Inc. Assessment
    • Provides a D&I gap analysis of every aspect of business, from H.R. and marketing to internal staffing and external stakeholders. All results lead to action steps that can be taken immediately, with or without support. The assessment is not focused merely on demographic numbers, it is focused on the elements of inclusion that are key indicators of business performance and overall organizational success.

These are just a sampling of a few of the assessment tools that exist to help your organization evaluate your current diversity, equity, and inclusion processes. There are many other resources available as well that may work better for your organization. Regardless of the tool you choose to use, know that assessing where your organization is currently will help you set a solid foundation in being able to move forward and make improvements.

Best Practices on Recruiting, Hiring, and Retaining Diverse Talent

There’s a lot of resources that describe a variety of best practices when it comes to recruiting, hiring, and retaining talent. Below are just a few helpful resources along with examples of companies that are doing it well.

National Association of Colleges and Employers
A comprehensive list of articles, videos, and research regarding inclusive recruiting practices on college campuses

Diversity Best Practices
An organization for organizational diversity thought leaders to share best practices and develop innovative solutions for culture change.

Diversity and Inclusion: A Beginner’s Guide for HR Professionals
A brief overview of what diversity and inclusion in the workplace means, along with a listing of key best practices that should be found in inclusive environments. Points to other helpful resources and data including a one page guide for D&I in recruiting.  

Examples of Top Ten Diversity Best Practices
Another listing of the top ten best practices that are needed to create inclusive environments.

Top companies exemplifying diversity and inclusion

Look to see which companies are being recognized for doing this work well as a way to identify places your own organization can benchmark off of.

Forbes: America’s Best Employers For Diversity 2021

Fortune: The 100 Best Workplaces for Diversity

Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index 2021

Diversity Terminology

This is not a complete list of diversity and inclusion terms. There are many great resources. The Pride Resource Center at CSU also has a variety of great resources for students and those who identify in the LGBTQIA+ community.

Agency: Taking back or exerting power in a subordinated identity.

Ally: A person who supports marginalized, silenced, or less privileged groups without actually being a member of those groups. This person will often directly or indirectly confront systems of oppression.

At-Risk:Students or groups of students who are considered to have a higher probability of struggling academically or dropping out of school due to coming from social conditions that haven’t prepared them adequately or serve as hurdles in their way to success. Some challenges that at-risk students may face include poverty, homelessness, serious health issues, domestic violence, transiency or learning disabilities.

Biracial: (adjective) of, relating to, or involving members of two races.

Bias Incident: An intentional or unintentional act targeted at a person, group, or property expressing hostility on the basis of perceived or actual gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability. Bias incidents may consist of name-calling, epithets, slurs, degrading language, graffiti, intimidation, coercion, or harassment directed toward the targeted person or group. Acts qualify as bias acts even when delivered with humorous intent or presented as a joke or a prank.

Cisgender: A term used to describe people whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth. Often abbreviated to cis.

Corporate Social Responsibility: (noun) Practicing good corporate citizenship by going beyond profit maximization to make a positive impact on communities and societies.

Discrimination: The intentional and often historical prejudicial treatment of individuals or groups of people using interpersonal, institutional or cultural means.

Diversity: The presence of difference between and among communities. This can include but is not limited to: social identities

Emotional Tax: The combination of being on guard to protect against bias, feeling different at work because of gender, race, and/or ethnicity, and the associated effects on health, well-being, and ability to thrive at work.

Equality: Treating everyone the same way, often while assuming that everyone also starts out on equal footing or with the same opportunities.

Equity:Working toward fair outcomes for people or groups by treating them in ways that address their unique advantages or barriers.

Implicit Bias: When subtle negative attitudes about groups of people (e.g. stereotypes) exist without conscious awareness. Nonetheless they are pervasive and everyone possesses them regardless of a person’s good intentions. Implicit biases tend to manifest into negative, unjust, or harmful behaviors against individuals and groups.

Inclusion: The active, intentional and ongoing engagement within the campus community to create a culture in which we treat each other with respect and take action to maximize the potential of all community members.

Inclusive Excellence: The recognition that a community or institution’s success is dependent on how well it values, engages and includes the rich diversity of students, staff, faculty, administrators and alumni constituents.

Intersectional/ity: The intertwining of social identities such as gender, race, ethnicity, social class, religion, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity, which can result in unique experiences, opportunities, and barriers.

Institutional oppression: Policies and practices of institutions that marginalize or subordinate.

Marginalized groups: Sub-communities socially excluded from participating in the routine and mainstream activities of a society. They often are confined to the lower or peripheral edge of a society thereby lacking access to employment, affordable formal education, healthcare and social power, which often results in income discrepancies.

Minority groups: Categories of people who are differentiated from a social majority due to having less social power. They can sometimes be underrepresented in particular majors, careers or societies but can also be in majority numerically and yet lack social power or the ability to influence. Historically, minority is often associated with people of color (e.g. Asians, Latinos, and Blacks) but it actually can be applied to other identities like gender, sexuality and religion.

Monoracial: Of a single race (ethnicity).

Multiracial: composed of, involving, or representing various races.

Neurodiversity: The concept that there is great diversity in how people’s brains are wired and work, and that neurological differences should be valued in the same way we value any other human variation.

Non-Binary (also known as Genderqueer): A category for a fluid constellation of gender identities beyond the woman/man gender binary.

Oppression: Restricted access to resources and marginalization and isolation based on social group membership.

People/Students of Color: Refer to a large group of racially and ethnically diverse people/ students from various origins. Students who self-identify or are identified as Black/African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American/Alaska, Native/Indigenous, Chicano/Latina/o/x, Arab/Arab American or multiracial may be represented by this term. People of color is a term used mainly in the United States and Canada to represent persons whose ethnic/racial and cultural groups have been targets of racism and/or are excluded from privileges associated with whiteness.

Privilege: An unearned benefit or right granted to a person based on membership in a particular social group.

Social Justice: A belief that all people should have access to resources for sustaining a healthy existence.

Socially constructed identity: Created for the purposes of categorizing people; based on beliefs about groups of people, not biology. Including, but not limited to, race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and religion.

Subordinated or Target group: Membership in a group that experiences oppression or marginalization in a mainstream society.

Structural oppression: Cumulative and compounding effects of societal factors.

Unconscious Bias: (noun) An implicit association, whether about people, places, or situations, which are often based on mistaken, inaccurate, or incomplete information and include the personal histories we bring to the situation.

Work-Life Effectiveness: (noun) A talent management strategy that focuses on doing the best work at the best time with the best talent. It helps businesses create flexibility, enhance agility, and drive mutually beneficial solutions for both employers and employees.

Workplace Inclusion: An atmosphere where all employees belong, contribute, and can thrive. Requires deliberate and intentional action.

CSU and Career Center D&I Overview

At Colorado State University we are committed to Principles of Community which are comprised of Inclusion, Integrity, Respect, Service, and Social Justice. These are foundational values that both staff and students embrace and are interwoven in all the work we do. As a Land-Grant University, access and inclusion for all people to pursue education and opportunity is at the heart of our institution. Not only are these stated values but values in action as reflected in the programming and events available to CSU employees to help us in our own development around diversity and inclusion. It is from these institutional values and principles that the Career Center Vision and Mission arises:

Vision: Equitable success for CSU students and alum.

Mission: We support and equip CSU students and alum to discover and pursue their goals. We do this by honoring their identities and experiences, challenging systemic barriers, and intentionally engaging with campus partners and employers.

One of the Career Center’s four strategic priorities is “integrating inclusion and social justice throughout Career Services”. For those of us working with employers, this means identifying and recognizing employers with inclusive, diversity-centered cultures; partnering with diversity-focused offices on campuses to integrate employer perspectives into their programming and events; and developing training and tools (such as this toolkit) to educate employers on hiring and retaining diverse college talent. Our priority is to make sure that all students, with special attention to students holding one or more marginalized identities, feel safe and supported during their college and career development journey.

Institutional Data and Information:

First Destination Report – Outlines the plans of CSU graduates following graduation.

University Diversity Plans – In 2016, The Colorado State University Strategic Plan established diversity, equity, inclusion, and campus climate as a priority and defined goals that all parts of campus should work to accomplish. One of the many ways that these goals are being accomplished is through the creation of Diversity Strategic Plans by each college and division within the institution.

Institutional profile 2021 – The Institutional Profile is a one-page summary snapshot of the institution.  It is widely distributed to campus and to external constituents as well potential faculty, staff, students and partners.

InFact 2021: InFact is a more succinct version of the Fact Book that pulls highlights out of the larger data set.

Fact Book 2021: The Fact Book is a compilation of basic data about CSU and includes current snapshots as well as historical data about students, employees, and the institution.

Engaged Employer Series

Interested in learning more about how to incorporate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at your workplace? Check out our recorded Engaged Employer Series sessions from this semester. Information about upcoming sessions will be posted as details become available.

The CSU Career Center began hosting our Engaged Employer Series in Spring of 2021 as a way to bring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programming directly to our employer partners. If you have suggestions about upcoming session topics, please e-mail Sam Boren.

Upcoming Events: 

We are excited to offer our third Engaged Employer session that will be facilitated by local Colorado Consulting Company, Triad Diversity. This session is titled “A MAP to Diversity. Measure, Assess, and Plan of Action” and it will take place on Friday, June 18th at 9:30am. This workshop will teach you and your organization how to Measure, Assess, and Plan (MAP) towards D&I initiatives. Triad Diversity Consulting believes that what is measured, gets done. Their workshop will cover the why of creating metrics and assessment tools, how to build them using tried and true models, and best practices for implementing a plan of action. This workshop is interactive so be prepared to work with fellow business owners and managers to brainstorm ideas. After the workshop you and your company will have the tools to design and implement your own MAP towards D&I initiatives.

To access the session, register here. With questions contact Sam.Boren@colostate.edu.

Past Events: 

Engaged Employer Flyer for March 9, 2021

The CSU Employer Connections Team hosted the second installment of the Engaged Employer Series titled “Student DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Panel” on March 9th, 2021. During this panel, we heard directly from CSU students about their perspectives on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. They discussed their positive and negative experiences with job searching/recruiting, and what they value in future inclusive employers. There was time for question and answer at the end of the session and the session was recorded and can be accessed here. If you have questions please contact Sara.Istre@colostate.edu.

The CSU Employer Connections Team hosted the first installment of our Engaged Employer Series titled “Starting Your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Journey” on January 28th, 2021. This first workshop consisted of a panel of employers at various stages in their organization’s DEI integration to help answer the question we often get of – ‘where do we even start?’. We were joined by Aaron Clark from Equity Solutions (located in Boulder, Colorado) who provided some consultation and overarching strategies for employers who are ready to begin integrating DEI into their workplace. There was time for question and answer at the end of the session and the session was recorded for employers to access later. Access the recorded session link here. With questions contact Sam.Boren@colostate.edu

CSU Student Diversity Programs and Services (SDPS)

Colorado State University (CSU) is proud of its efforts to enhance, appreciate, and support diversity and multi-culturalism as part of its mission as a land-grant institution of higher education. The Career Center collaborates with a multitude of on campus partners who provide programs and services designed to support students in a variety of ways. Many offices on campus provide opportunities to participate in, and contribute to, the diverse campus environment. The offices below focus on providing support to underrepresented students.

If you are interested in partnering with one of these offices we ask that you connect with a Career Center Employer Connections Team Member first. Please reach out to Sam (Sam.Boren@colostate.edu) indicating which office or program you are interested in connecting with or supporting.

Many of these offices fall within the Student Diversity Programs and Services (SDPS) This link has a brief overview of each office.

SDPS offices include:

  • Asian Pacific American Cultural Center (APACC)
  • Black/African American Cultural Center (B/AACC)
  • El Centro (Latinx/Hispanic students)
  • Pride Resource Center
  • Native American Cultural Center (NACC)
  • Student Disability Center
  • Women and Gender Advocacy Center (WGAC)

Additional offices that support diversity on our campus include:

Again, in an effort to respect the time of these offices and protect the relationships we have built, if you are interested in supporting any of the offices or programs please connect with Sam on the Employer Connections team first. 


Below is just a small selection of resources and tools to help you and your organization with your own D&I strategies and planning around recruitment and building an inclusive workplace.

For additional resources, you can also check out CSU’s Vice President for Diversity’s resource page, Continuing Education Page, or their Educate Yourself Blog. CSU’s Warner College of Natural Resources also has a great listing of diversity and inclusion resources found here. This site includes a book list, videos by Warner faculty, and many more resources.

As a note, The Career Center, nor CSU, manages, creates, approves or supports third party content. Many of the resources below come from a third-party producer and are intended to help employers begin conversations around diversity and inclusion. If you have resources to suggest, please contact Sam Boren.

Resources for Diversity Recruiting



National Consultants

Colorado Consultants



Book List

Resources for Special Populations – for a complete listing of resources and articles provided by NACE on various special populations, visit their website.

Identity based:

This comprehensive resource not only provides support for our students, but provides resources and tools for employers to better recruit and retain this population.