A diverse workforce should be the number one goal for any thriving organization. Not only is it the right thing to do, but embracing the differences within your team boosts employee experience and innovation.
It’s not enough to hire a diverse talent pool; companies need to foster an inclusive environment that values each member. Without a strong sense of belonging, employees are less willing to voice their unique perspectives.
So if you’re wondering how to boost DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) in the workplace, this article is for you. Just as tools such as AllyBot guarantee inclusive language, inclusion activities guarantee a positive work culture.
Why are diversity and inclusion activities important?
You probably already know the impact a sense of belonging has on employees. It’s the difference between a team meeting where everybody contributes versus a team meeting where no one makes eye contact (I still have nightmares about this!).
When team members feel appreciated, they’re more willing to collaborate and build long-lasting relationships. It’s the reason organizations that identify as diverse and inclusive are 35 percent more likely to outperform their competitors.
Basically, teams that feel valued and supported function better than those walking on eggshells. People from different backgrounds should feel valued for who they are and what they can offer, without worrying about facing discrimination.
That’s where diversity and inclusion activities come into play.
Regular diversity and inclusion activities reinforce the notion of a safe environment. And when your employees feel safe, you’ll witness first-hand the huge benefits diversity in the workplace can bring.
Six diversity and inclusion activities in the workplace
Games about diversity and inclusion should touch on three cornerstones: team-building, celebration, and education. Even if one cornerstone is missing, a safe environment risks falling apart.
Here are our best diversity and inclusion activities to help secure a more inclusive workplace.
1. Diversity flower
Diversity activities are critical when creating an inclusive work environment, but that doesn’t mean they have to be serious. So when asking your team to share, it’s best to follow a light-hearted route initially.
The diversity flower activity is an ice-breaker that’s full of fun and engagement.
- Start by dividing your team into groups of 6-10 members. Then give each group some drawing papers with a variety of colorful markers.
- Each group must then draw a large flower with petals that equal the number of participants in each team.
- After some discussion about themselves, players will write in the petals with something unique that relates to them.
- Participants will then fill the center of the flower with a common feature they all share.
- Once these steps are complete, teams must exchange their flowers with other groups and discuss the differences and similarities they found.
Not only does this exercise ignite conversations about diversity, but it’s also an opportunity for team bonding and learning.
2. Implement a diversity calendar
We all know the horrible feeling of forgetting someone’s birthday, but imagine not even being aware of a multicultural holiday or celebration. Implementing a diversity calendar in the workplace ensures this misstep doesn’t happen.
If your workplace is rich in diversity, implementing a calendar builds the foundation of an inclusive team. A diversity calendar that celebrates all multicultural and religious holidays goes a long way in promoting awareness and understanding.
Examples of holidays and celebrations include International Women’s Day, Black History Month, and LGBTQ+ History Month. With these dates in your diary, it’s easy to plan events accordingly.
3. Dishes and diversity
Since the dawn of time, food has played a major role in conversations (we don’t call it The Last Supper for nothing). Introducing potluck lunch parties is an ideal recipe for celebrating diversity and preventing microaggressions at work.
Organizing potluck meals means your team shares the dishes inspired by their heritage. It’s an opportunity for them to connect and explore food from different regions. They can discuss favorite foods from their culture as well as the origin of their meals. It’s an activity that uncovers cultures through insight and taste.
Potluck lunch parties are a diversity and inclusion activity you can implement while working from home. Employees can share recipes online and chat over Slack. To simplify the task, ask employees to make either a starter, main meal, or dessert.
4. Find out how your team members are feeling
While checking in with your employees seems obvious, it’s often overlooked. By generating diversity and inclusion surveys, you encourage your team to share candid feedback that they might not be comfortable saying out loud.
Discovering insight into your employees is an activity that you can implement at home or in the office. And with a quarter of all U.S. jobs expected to be remote by the end of 2022, inclusion activities should be online-ready.
Implementing AllyBot in your surveys means your language is inclusive and consistent from A to Z. So your questionnaires won’t run the risk of alienating your employees.
5. Start a book club
It’s worth considering that some of your employees might not be willing to share. Implementing a book club is a great way to explore diversity without shining a spotlight on those reluctant to participate.
Books dealing with diversity help your employees learn about others through experience. Fiction and non-fiction texts provide a window into different cultural struggles that may have been closed off. So readers can empathize with the passages they read.
By starting a book club, you can select one book for your team or create a signup sheet for new texts. Employees can engage in an open dialogue regarding the topics they come across. A virtual book club can be set up for employees working from home.
6. Safe space conversations
To ensure an inclusive team atmosphere, you need to invest in communication. The trouble is work commitments get in the way of building relationships in the workplace.
By encouraging two or three of your employees to chat via Slack, you’re giving them the opportunity to find out more about each other; without interfering with their workload. And as AllyBot pairs with Slack, inclusive language fundamentals are assured with every interaction.
This activity works best by grouping employees who don’t know each other very well.
Diversity and inclusion activities are a step in the right direction toward unity in the workplace. Incorporating these activities ensures every voice is heard and respected.
It’s also worth remembering that diversity and inclusion are long-term efforts. Companies should strive to achieve these goals from the initial job application stage to the moment they exit the building for the final time.