Diversity activities for the workplace

Written by christine lebednik
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Diversity activities for the workplace
Diversity training can begin long before entering the professional world. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of woodley wonderworks)

Workplace diversity is both an enriching and challenging area for businesses. Many companies and government offices encourage employee programs dealing with diversity awareness and activities. Some suitable activities related to workplace diversity include training programs, luncheons with diversity focus groups, diversity-related contests and diversity days.

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Diversity Training

An excellent workplace diversity activity is an established routine of ongoing training on diversity issues. A good workplace diversity training program can include classroom seminars and online training. A good place for managers to start implementing such programs is through a company's human resources, or HR, and/or equal employment opportunity, or EEO, professionals. HR and EEO professionals often have established diversity programs and presentations available.

Diversity Luncheons with Focus Groups

Hosting diversity luncheons that incorporate focus groups is another good workplace diversity activity. A luncheon setting allows employees to get together in a more relaxed setting than a classroom to consider diversity issues. A focus group might examine what diversity means to the employees in a particular organisation, team, work group or department.

Diversity Awareness Contest

Running a diversity knowledge contest is a good way to proactively involve employees in exploring diversity, what it means to the organisation and how diversity can enrich the workplace environment. Groups can explore questions like how diverse teams and work groups can contribute to productivity or fulfilling an organisation's mission statement. As with diversity training, a good place to seek assistance in developing such a contest is with an organisation's HR and EEO professionals.

Diversity activities for the workplace
Disabilities can be incorporated into diversity training and activities. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Soctech)

Disability Education/Contest

Another diversity activity suitable for workplace use, especially with disabilities being one arena of diversity, is a contest providing a list of individuals and asking work group members to identify the named individuals they believe have or had a disability. One such contest asked whether these individuals had a disability: military hero George Patton, actor Tom Cruise, genius Albert Einstein and theme-park icon Walt Disney. The correct answer to this particular question was "all of them."

One can follow up this by having employees come up with additional examples of famous people with disabilities.

Workplace Diversity Day

Some organisations set aside a specific diversity day annually, offering varying programs. One organisation held a day one year where each team in the organisation chose a country or a culture. In preparation for the diversity day, the teams each researched the adopted country or culture. Individuals prepared presentations on the culture, brought in artefacts related to the country (such as native dress, books on the country or culture, stuffed or inflatable animals related to the country or culture) and brought in indigenous foods. Throughout the day, the employees could examine the displays and sample the foods at their workstations.

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