In every organisation, staff should feel comfortable and empowered to contribute ideas, opinions, experiences, and solutions. There should be access to resources such as flexible working hours, training opportunities, and career development opportunities, and access to impartial support such as an independent complaints procedure and dedicated diversity and inclusion teams.
Here are some activities to help foster diversity and inclusion in your workplace:
Language can be a powerful tool for creating an inclusive culture. Consider introducing a policy on gendered language and communication within the workplace, such as avoiding ‘mankind’ or ‘guys’, and instead using terms that are gender neutral. Also, encourage people to use language that is respectful of different cultures and backgrounds.
Consider creating a diversity calendar for the workplace. This could include events celebrating important dates in the multicultural calendar, such as International Women’s Day or Eid.
Open group discussions
Set up regular open discussions with employees on a variety of topics related to diversity and inclusion. This can help create open dialogue about any issues or concerns that arise from different backgrounds, cultures and experiences in the workplace.
Cultural potluck lunch
Encourage employees to bring food dishes popular in their culture and share stories about the significance of the food.
Create a safe space where employees can share personal stories related to diversity, promoting understanding and empathy.
Diversity book club
Choose books that discuss various aspects of diversity and hold regular discussions to explore different perspectives.
Invite guest speakers from diverse backgrounds to talk about their experiences and insights.
Offer workshops on topics like unconscious bias, microaggressions, and cultural competence to increase awareness.
Show films or documentaries that explore diversity and inclusion themes, followed by group discussions.
Cultural competence training
Provide training that helps employees understand different cultures, communication styles, and norms.
Employee resource groups (ERGs)
Support the formation of ERGs focused on specific demographics or identities to foster connections.
Organise volunteering events that support marginalised communities to promote active engagement.
Create challenges that encourage employees to learn about and celebrate different cultures.
Establish mentorship initiatives that pair employees from diverse backgrounds with mentors who can provide guidance and support.
Inclusive team-building activities
Design team-building exercises that promote collaboration and understanding among employees.
Inclusive language workshops
Provide training on using inclusive language to avoid unintentional biases.
Diverse art exhibitions
Showcase art, literature, or performances from various cultures to celebrate diversity.
Partner with local organisations to engage in community projects that celebrate diversity and make a positive impact.
Remember to tailor these activities to the specific needs and preferences of your organisation and its employees. It's also important to continually assess their impact to ensure they are effective in promoting diversity and inclusion.
By implementing these activities into your workplace, you will increase awareness of diversity and inclusion and foster a more equitable environment for all employees. Doing so will not only benefit your staff but can enhance creativity and productivity. Promoting your organisational culture is likely to attract top talent, as it shows that the business values difference.
To ensure sustained engagement with these activities, consider incorporating them into the wider company culture by providing regular updates on progress, or tracking any changes in the workplace environment.
Open dialogue with staff around diversity and inclusion issues can ensure that any concerns are raised in an appropriate manner and addressed swiftly. This will help to build trust between management and employees, while promoting greater understanding of different cultures, values, backgrounds, and opinions.
These activities are just the beginning – work is required to ensure that you are continually building on these initiatives and investing in creating a safe and welcoming environment. Regularly review the progress made, reassessing existing policies and practices to ensure they are effective, as well as identifying any areas where further improvements can be made.
Providing practical advice and guidance on how to be an active ally to others – whatever their gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, or ability – is what sets apart those who use diversity as a tick-box exercise and those who genuinely provide a diverse and inclusive working environment where employees feel they belong.
If you’re looking for assistance with your equality, diversity and inclusion strategy – get in touch with one of our specialists today.