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Creative Ways to Introduce Diversity Into the Workplace

by Melody Dawn

Diversity is required in order for a business to compete in a global marketplace. According to the University of Florida Extension Office, diversity is the acknowledgement, understanding, acceptance, valuing and celebration of the differences that make us all unique individuals. When a company wants to reach a larger demographic, it needs employees from different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs in order to inspire different ideas and innovation. The trick is to introduce the importance of diversity to current employees, so they will be on board to achieve company goals. Introducing diversity in a creative way may make people more cooperative.

Training

Implement training activities at your next meeting that allow employees to work together to solve a problem. A scavenger hunt is a good example of an activity you can use. Create a list of general statements about individuals and provide each person with this list. The goal is to go around the room and find an individual to match each statement. For example, the list might tell you to find someone who can speak more than one language, or to find someone who plays a musical instrument. A scavenger hunt can help employees get to know one another and find things they have in common.

Create Teams

Create diverse teams that work with one another to reach goals. Schedule focus groups within the team to give each member a chance to share ideas, and encourage everyone to participate. If management treats everyone the same and values each person’s ideas, employees will follow. According to "Business and Legal Resources," an online community that helps companies comply with state and federal requirements, you should learn to harness the strength from the combined talent of all employees.

Schedule Employee Activities

Meet with one another after work for casual activities. Schedule a company picnic, or arrange to eat lunch with each other once a month. According to "The Tech Online," Massachusetts Institute of Technology's online newspaper, you should take the time to get to know others who are different from you. Use personal time to relax and enjoy each other's company. By being more open to those around you, you may be able to accomplish more at work because you will feel more at ease.

Demonstrations

Use demonstrations to show parallels between common objects and diversity. For example, choose jelly beans, fruity candies or colored chocolate candies and place them all in a jar together. Have each employee choose a color of candy. Explain that each color represents a different personality trait but all candies exist together and taste the same. This demonstration allows workers to see the candies are different on the outside but the same on the inside.

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