Diversity training provides a means by which you can assist employees in their development of cultural awareness and sensitivity to others in a multicultural work environment. Diversity training, including the activity ideas that follow, not only helps ensure that the company is Equal Employment Opportunity compliant, but also can foster an atmosphere of shared ownership of diversity issues and build a company culture of inclusion where ethnocentric, sexist and racist language does not exist.
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Identity Scavenger Hunt
Employees increase mutual understanding when they know more about themselves and more about colleagues. In this activity, the human resources leader creates a table of three columns and five rows or six rows. Each cell in the table includes a potential revelation of unknown information from an employee. Each employee is responsible for querying other staff members and discovering their responses. The employee is charged with finding at least one fellow employee to mark his or her initials in each box.
Some sample topic statements that may apply are as follows. I am the middle child in my family. My first language is _. I have lived in three or more states. I have attended an ethnic cultural celebration. I have clothing from another country that I do not wear to work. I have favourite ethnic foods. I have had an overnight hospital stay. I have two locks on my home door. I have travelled outside this country. I do not eat certain foods. I listen to music from another country. My family tree represents more than one continent.
After all participating employees have completed this, they meet in conference. Each employee shares what he perceives as the most interesting new information he discovered about one colleague.
Interdepartmental Ethnic Breakfast
In this activity, one department hosts an ethnic breakfast for another department or, in the case of a small company, for the entire company. The foods served represent the region, country of origin or culture of at least one of the department’s members. The company makes no financial contribution to the event. Employees may cook or purchase prepared foods or a combination. The employee who is represented in the food choices explains the significance of the foods to the group. Human Resources may present a certificate as a reward to the hosting department, such as “In Grateful Acknowledgement to the Shipping Department, Proud Sponsors of the XYZ Company Diversity Breakfast, Month, Date, Year.”
The Diversity Challenge
The free diversity training activity developed by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, The Newsroom Diversity Game, can inspire diversity training for virtually any workplace. In the activity, participants are confronted with a challenge. They must increase diversity in a fictional workplace by a certain percentage within a given time frame. In this endeavour, the employees engage in setting new policies and making strategic decisions that will expand their work community’s diversity. The game tests the participants’ basic knowledge about various cultures. The free interactive game that is available via the Internet represents a challenge to a newsroom as its example.
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