Diversity is a mixture. Inclusion is making the mix work. - Andres Tapia
A diverse labor pool is vital to any organization. It refers to the workforce, which includes individuals with a wide range of characteristics. Undoubtedly, it goes beyond the employees’ skin color, hair, looks, religion, and ethnicity.
It encompasses different significant factors like personality, education, interests, hobbies, and sexual orientation. Race, talents, cognitive styles, and abilities follow the list. People from different backgrounds and cultures come together to strengthen the diverse workforce.
To cope with the ever-increasing competitive edge, it is inevitable to retain diverse talents. That’s where the concept of inclusion comes in. It refers to the efforts that help an employee feel like an essential part of the mixed teams, irrespective of the differences. It focuses on creating an environment where diverse employees are accepted and appreciated.
Without inclusion activities, diversity is meaningless. As an employer or manager, diversity and inclusion should be the top priorities in your talent management strategy.
Most employers put their best efforts into their diversity and inclusion activities. It helps to build a happier workplace with the best financial performers.
According to Harvard Business Review, companies with higher-than-average diversity had 19% higher revenues.
Here’s a roundup of the best activities that celebrate employee differences.
Here Are 15 Activities Of Diversity And Inclusion In The Workplace
1. Do The Diversity Briefings
It is the first vital activity to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Team managers can arrange monthly seatings to discuss and design the different diversity acts.
For example, employees with different backgrounds can brief what holy days or holidays are essential to them. Accordingly, they can be offered time off.
It spreads historical and cultural knowledge among coworkers. It also increases interpersonal understanding with the fewest possible side effects.
2. Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) In Flower Petals
This recreational activity needs 4-10 members in each group, and it is one of the best ways to learn more about each other. All the members should be encouraged to make the best of their creativity and ideas. Here’s how to proceed-
All the groups should get a large art paper and some colorful markers.
Each group has to draw a giant flower. It should have a round center and an equal number of petals to the number of participants in their group.
After discussion, each participant should fill the petals with something unique about themselves- anything that makes them stand out from others. However, physical characteristics should be ignored.
Everyone should fill the center of the flower should be filled with their ‘common’ something.
Each team should share the flowers with the other groups to discuss the differences and similarities.
This game provides mental exercise and broad scope for social interaction.
3. Put Up The Snapshot Board
Photos can make for great conversation icebreakers (or Zoom icebreakers in the remote world). A board full of memories related to employees’ personal important life events can create the right spark of communication.
The display of such personal mementos in the professional space can speak volumes about the different aspects of employee experiences. It helps the coworkers to see the perspective of others and embrace it, which finally leads to mutual respect and dignity at the workplace.
4. When’s The Happy Hour?
It’s not just about putting some drinks on the conference table and calling it a party. Office happy hours can be a perfect networking opportunity. To start down the road of real fun, office happy hours should have a plan and a purpose.
It can prove to be a great get-together and help know each other personally. Apart from refreshments, they should experience something exciting, beautiful, or shocking that creates conversations that go far beyond the borders of happy hours.
5. Post The Story-Links
Internal communication ools can be of great help to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. You can create a web of inclusions in the form of stories or real-life incidents. It would help if you described it in a way that shows what makes them unique and posted on the online employee community platform of your company. As others see the previous posts, they look for self connections and add to the link.
For example, one employee writes, “ India is my national origin.”, the next person who can relate to it adds, “I once visited India when I was a kid.” and so on… This activity allows coworkers to start a conversation on various topics and compare how they are the same or different.
6. Dish-To-Pass Potluck
What can be better than celebrating diversity with food? Organize a fun potluck lunch party where employees should bring in dishes from or inspired by their culture and heritage.
It starts from appetizers and main dishes to sweet courses. Potluck offers a welcome chance to try the all-time best cuisines across kitchens. But, it is undoubtedly more than that. It is because food is one of the best conversation starters. It gives a favorable occasion to share and connect.
7. Mini Events
You can make better use of the office cafeteria or lounge area. These common areas for office people can be made available for small events and representations of different art and culture. Discussions on various topics appreciating diversity in the workplace encourage participants to ask questions and share feedback, inspiring others to speak up for their rights. Such opportunities can generate interesting and open conversations, which are true diversity and inclusion efforts.
8. Follow The Diversity Calendar
If your workplace is rich with diversity, why celebrate just Christmas? Keeping track of only the standard holidays can disturb the sense of belonging for many others. An extensive and interactive diversity calendar can reap the best benefits of diversity.
Knowledge of multicultural holidays and celebrations can provide an excellent break for awareness. Otherwise, it misses opportunities to improve employee engagement with the company’s goals in the long run.
9. A Look At The Book
Books play a primary role in making the workplace more welcoming and inclusive. Reading diverse narratives helps in empathizing with the experiences of others from different groundings.
Research indicates that knowledge about the history of another person can remove misconceptions. Books on LGBT inclusion are a great example here.
Encouraging your employees to read the D&I books can be very influential. It will help them in learning more about their coworkers.
10. Step Apart, Step Together
This activity shows the differences and similarities. Here’s how to start:
- Let two team members be on the spotlight, facing one another.
- The rest of the team will call out things like place of birth, staple food, hair color, and even religion.
- Instruct the two team members to take a step apart when they have a difference. Similarly, when they have a similarity, they can step back together.
The lesson here is simple. That is, even when two people are different, some of the other grounds will bring them back. The gap might be more comprehensive, but there will bind them together.
11. Take The Privilege Walk
The privilege walk helps the participants understand more about themselves. It goes like this:
Explain to the group that we all have some privileges that others do not subtly.
Take a vast free space and ask the group members to stand in a line.
Explain to them that you will start reading out a series of statements.
Instruct them to take one step forward or backward when a particular statement applies to them. You can read out a series of 25-30 statements. It can include information like:
If you are left-handed, take a step forward.
If you are of Indian origin, take a step forward.
If you rely on public transport, take a step forward.
If you have come from a single-parent background, take a step back.
If you have ever faced sexual harassment at the workplace, take a step back.
If you have ever faced an identity crisis, take a step back.
After all the statements, ask the team members to look around and see where other people are in the room. Finally, let them sit in a circle and ease a discussion about how they are feeling. Depending on the differences and disadvantages, you can have a great conversation and hope to be genuinely inclusive.
12. Money In The Jar
It is also referred to as the Hotjar Guys Challenge. It induces a gender-neutral language for improved diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
In an inclusive culture, the way we address a group matters a lot. The four-lettered word ‘Guys’ can make many female team members feel excluded from a conversation and unhappy about it. The idea is that whoever uses the word in the wrong context has to put a Euro in the jar every time. It increases a lot of awareness against using gendered terms in the workplace and also helps in raising some money for a cause.
13. Let Your Art Do The Talking
Any form of art can connect people and broaden the pool of knowledge. Let your employees create art together. Be it redesigning the office walls or each other desks; art can help initiate societal conversations.
As it is named, visual storytelling generates awareness, leadership skills and fosters a sense of oneness among staff. You can arrange for a ‘Diversity week’ to paint their vision on equality in the workplace.
14. The Win-Win Condition Of Disability Inclusion
There are over one billion disabled people globally. Although they are more active these days, the employment rate is less. And they continue to suffer due to the unconscious biases that prevail in workplaces.
The acts of diversity can gain everybody in a workplace. It ensures fair treatment across the organization by making communications, products, and the physical environment more usable by as many users as possible. It aims to minimize the harmful consequences of accidental or unintentional errors for all.
Disability awareness training helps all the employees to communicate freely with disabled people. It will thus make the place welcoming for all.
15. I Am… But I Am Not...
Last but not least, this is probably the best diversity game to bring your team together. The goal of this activity is to dispel stereotypes and involve everyone in getting to know each other.
Each participant should take a piece of paper and make two columns with headers “I am…” and “I am not… “ with the word “But” in between. For example, it will create a phrase like, ‘I am Iranian, but I am not a terrorist.’
Sharing such statements about themselves can sometimes be uncomfortable. But, it will clear a lot of misbelieves
Wrapping It Up
Diversity and inclusion activities should exist in the life-blood of every company. It’s up to that company’s strategy how it leads to earning a competitive advantage. The above activities can execute the inclusion work uncompromisingly.
Do you know of any such activity that can create the diversity and inclusion spark in the workplace? Feel free to share in the comment section.