Workplace diversity games

Written by john mack freeman
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Workplace diversity games
Workplace diversity games can unite people from different backgrounds through their discovered commonality. (unity in diversity image by Stasys Eidiejus from

Workplace diversity games help individuals understand that for all the differences that may be present between people in a workplace, everyone shares a common humanity. Workplace games should have few props involved and should be able to take place in a structured amount of time. The goal of the games is to diffuse tension and to offer a safe haven to air concerns and talk freely about the diversity that characterises the modern work force. This conversation is easily facilitated by games.

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Prepare pairs of proverbs on small slips of paper. Have one set that are proverbs that Americans would be familiar with. Each of these proverbs should be paired with a proverb from a foreign country that has the same meaning. For instance "He who is not in sight is not in the heart" from Tanzania is the same as the U.S.'s "Out of sight, out of mind." Pass out the slips and have people find their partner proverb. Facilitate a discussion about how the differences in cultural upbringings do not necessarily mean that people share different values.

Pipe Cleaners

Provide each participant with four pipe cleaners. Instruct participants to make something from the pipe cleaners that represents something important to themselves. Have the people on either side of them try to guess what the item represents. Then, as a group, have people stand based on statements the leader says if it applies to their creation (for instance, "Stand if your creation has to do with family."). Facilitate a discussion about what is most important to people across different backgrounds.

Chain of Diversity

Pass out six slips of paper to every person. Have each person write down a similarity and a difference that they have concerning other people in the room on each slip of paper (for a total of six similarities and six differences). Have members share two of their strips. Then, using glue or a stapler, link all of the strips together in a chain that shows that, no matter how divided people may be by their differences, their similarities will always bring them together.

Five Moments

Give each participant a piece of paper. Have them write down the five moments in their lives that were most important for shaping who they are today. Go around and have each person share two or three events in their life. Facilitate a discussion on how the major events in life are universal and are not a respecter of people's differences.

Stereotype Wall

Place posters on the wall that have titles of different groups (such as ethnic groups, genders, sexual orientations and socioeconomic classes). Have people walk around the room and write something that they have heard about these people or a way in which this group of people is stereotyped. Facilitate a discussion on where these stereotypes came from and if they have veracity.

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