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Activities for Promoting Workplace Diversity Awareness

written by: Eduard Ezeanu•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 10/14/2010

The more workplace diversity awareness, the better employees manage diversity, turning it from a potential threat to a real strength of the organization. This is why workplace diversity activities are an important part of people management.

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    The Best Workplace Diversity Activities

    Workplace diversity In order for diversity to provide important benefits at work, a substantial degree of diversity awareness must be present. The good news is that an organization has many tools it can use to promote workplace diversity awareness.

    One such tool that’s definitely worth using is represented by workplace diversity activities. They are activities designed especially to draw attention to the diversity inside the organization and how it can be a source of progress.

    Here are some of the most effective workplace diversity activities to consider:

    1. Teambuilding. Take a group of employees with different cultural backgrounds, values, personalities and behaviors, and involve them in teambuilding exercises. You will see major progress in term of diversity awareness.

    Teambuilding activities get people working together in order to complete a fun but challenging task, such as building a bridge or carrying a member over a stretch of land. In this kind of activities, people get to know each other, understand their differences, embrace them and make the best use of them.

    2. Job rotation. The more a person is exposed to people of different backgrounds and behavior, the more diversity awareness that person develops. This is why it’s good for an organization to stimulate contact at work between different kinds of people.

    One effective way of doing this is job rotation. What job rotation basically does is move an employee from one job to another inside the company, and from one team to another. This not only exposes them to different tasks and responsibilities, but also to different people.

    3. Culture presentations. Organize a sort of cultural fairs inside the organization, where people from different cultures get to present their cultures to others in the organization, with some if their defining traits.

    This way, employees get a chance to find out things they didn’t know about various cultures and shed some of their preconceptions about those cultures. In general, the better and more accurately informed a person is about another culture, the more acceptant of that culture they are.

    4. Cultural parties. Enjoying a certain cultural experience is always a good way to develop awareness and acceptance of that culture. This is where workplace cultural parties come in.

    Organize parties where various cultures share some of their traditions: types of music, dancing, food and so on. They can be organized by employees belonging to those cultures alone, or with outside help. Also, try to ensure that participants have fun.

    Creating diversity awareness is not only a noble, but also a beneficial purpose an organization can set for itself. Workplace diversity activities can be highly effective in achieving this purpose.

    The main thing is to treat them seriously, organize and apply them periodically, and evaluate the results as often as possible. Workplace diversity activities are not just a fad; they are an important part of organizational development.

    Image credit: Lieven Soete / Flickr