Diversity training for employees is important to ensure your workplace is inclusive and fair to all employees. But increasing awareness of the importance of diversity at work doesn’t have to be drab or even too serious. In fact, while diversity is necessary to help create equity in the workforce, it can also include a celebration of our different backgrounds, ideas, and what makes us all unique.
Diversity Training for Employees
To begin diversity training for employees, you might want to bring in professionals who know how to cultivate an inclusive company culture. But another way to foster growth and connection between employees can be through diversity games or icebreakers that allow each individual to tell some kind of story about themselves.
1. My Fullest Name
For this exercise, shared by the Critical Multicultural Pavilion, ask participants to answer questions about their name. The goal of this activity is to allow employees to share their unique histories, including familial and cultural meaning to their names, and to highlight how we are similar and how we differ.
For a team or groups of about 5 or 6 people, have each person answer the following questions to their comfort:
- Who gave you your name and why that name?
- What is the ethnic origin of your name?
- Do you have any nicknames? How did you get them?
- What do you prefer to be called?
2. Privilege for Sale
The Social Justice Toolbox offers a game called Privilege for Sale which is intended to support cultural diversity training by helping employees to contextualize common privileges and recognize how they may have more than their colleagues. Small groups of 3 or 4 are given game money in increments of $100 to spend on privileges that cost $100 each. The group decides on which privileges to buy and why, leading to important conversations about what type of access seems most important to people, and whether or not everyone has the same.
3. I Am… But I’m Not
This activity allows individuals to share something about themselves while also confronting and dispelling common stereotypes they face. Each person in a group of about 6 can distinguish 2 columns on a piece of paper. On the left, “I am,” on the right, “…But I’m Not.” On the left, add something you identify with, and on the right, acknowledge common stereotypes or insults that come with great impact.
4. Potluck Lunch
Diversity should be celebrated, and what better way to celebrate that through food. Organize a potluck lunch for all employees where they can bring in a dish from their familial or cultural background, or one that represents some unique about their identity. Each employee can share a bit about their dish as the team gathers around and enjoys this shared meal.
5. Privilege Monopoly
Start with any version of Monopoly you have, but this time randomly assign privileges and discriminations to players. Privileges would include players getting double play when they reach GO or not having to pay luxury tax, discriminations including players starting in jail so they lose their first turn or paying players only half each time they reach GO. This can help demonstrate how to day-to-day and larger-scale activities of life are shaped by the access granted to the privilege and limitations enacted upon many.
For all games, it will be helpful to debrief and discuss these games after they are done as some of them may be challenging for some participants. Ensure everyone is feeling safe and respected following these activities.
Allow your team to enjoy the benefits of diversity training for employees. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right cultural diversity training for your team’s unique needs.