There are many learning games that can actively engage your employees in activities that can allow them to better understand and adjust to working with others from diverse backgrounds. The advantage of using group games to teach lessons in diversity is that it allows people to participate and actually experience emotions and perspectives that they would not normally get from hearing a lecture or reading an article. The following diversity training exercises come from Ehow.com
The first diversity exercise is called Group Yourselves
"Clear a space in your office. Have your co-workers walk around the space. Tell them to group themselves according to arbitrary things like hair color, eye color, shirt color, trouser and skirt color and so forth." "While doing this activity, the participants must remain silent, so participants cannot tell another participant that she does not belong in the group; they must group themselves according to their own judgment and silently. Finally, ask them to group themselves according to skin color. Explain to your group that no two people have the same skin color at any given point in the day. Skin color can change with hydration levels, blood levels and other such activity within the body. All of us are individuals. Have your group come together and reflect." What I like about this exercise is that gives the participants a chance to experience subtle prejudice. Afterwards, their discussion can give excellent insights into how some people can unwittingly treat others with prejudice, and the problems it can create. This next diversity exercise is called "Signs."
"Make labels with sticky notes or index cards to tape onto the backs of your co-workers (for example: nerdy, studious, slacker, hard worker, boss's favorite, party girl). Instruct them not to tell one another which label is on their back. Have others read the label and then talk to them as if they were that label. Come together and deconstruct what you have learned. Please note, these labels should be applied to co-workers randomly, as this exercise is not to reinforce existing stereotypes in the workplace." This exercise allows the participants to both be the person being treated differently, as well as the one treating others differently. By facilitating the discussion afterwards with open ended questions, you can draw out the actual thoughts people were thinking and the feelings they were feeling. Doing the exercise can assist your employees in coming to a new level of awareness of how prejudice happens in the work place. Try one of these games at your next employee meeting and help your team develop a greater awareness and understanding of cultural respect for each other. Tom Borg is president of Tom Borg Consulting, LLC. He is a business consultant, speaker, coach and author. Please see more of his blogs at csjobsBlog.com and view additional job postings at Nexxt