Diversity and Inclusion Exercises

Diversity and Inclusion Exercises

The Facts

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Implementing diversity, and inclusion exercises are critical to maintaining high employee engagement in the modern workplace. Building diverse, inclusive teams does not require a one-size-fits-all approach or a short checklist. Even the most forward-thinking businesses are still working out how to improve their systems and processes. And this highlights a larger truth: there is no end to promoting inclusivity; there will always be more to do and learn. 

While many firms are working hard to attract a more diverse workforce, their success will ultimately be determined by the experience they provide to their employees. There must be a sense of belonging for all employees to keep them engaged, using their skills, and sharing their ideas.

According to Deloitte, 67 percent of job searchers consider diversity when evaluating firms and job opportunities. As a result, the most important thing a manager can do is to view workplace diversity and inclusion as long-term undertakings that require ongoing cultivation and attention.

10 Diversity and Inclusion Activities to Implement 

Here are the top 10 diversity and inclusion activities for managers to develop a stronger workforce:

1. Know Your Employees

Create a secure environment where you may learn about your employees' histories and what has shaped their lives. Employees can learn new things about one other by doing this as a group, and the act of being open, honest, and vulnerable is a terrific approach to establishing friendships, developing empathy, and improving relationships.

Here's how to run an exercise to get to know your team better:

  • Make a list of the three most defining moments in each person's life and jot them down on individual post-its (remote teams can try a virtual whiteboard like miro).
  • Allow each employee to convey these moments to the team and tell their experience to the extent that they are comfortable doing so.
  • Thank everyone for their contributions and invite the team to share their key insights from the exercise.

2. Find Out How Employees Feel

The way employees arrive at work is influenced by their lives and experiences outside of the workplace. Recognizing this and encouraging others to feel comfortable sharing their experiences fosters inclusiveness because it allows everyone to be themselves.

3. Confront Stereotypes Head On

This particular inclusion activity is a fantastic way to break down stereotypes and misconceptions by offering people a chance to self-identify, while addressing stereotypes consistently. 

Consider the following example:

  • Each person divides a piece of paper into two columns by folding it in half.
  • You need to write "I Am" in the first column.
  • You need to write "I Am Not" in the second column.
  • Put the word "but" in the space between these two columns.
  • "I am _____, but I am not _____," will be the concluding phrase.
  • Participants fill in the first blank with a common identification, such as their gender, color, religion, or age, and the second blank with a stereotype about that group that doesn’t apply to them.
  • Make sure there are no questions and that everyone has written at least five statements.
  • Allow participants to share their statements with the group and engage in a respectful and open discussion about stereotypes.

4. Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes

Perspective-taking is an excellent way to walk mentally in someone else’s shoes. 

Follow the steps below to lead your team through this activity.

  • Make a list of the different sorts of backgrounds represented on your team (education, sexual orientation, race, etc.).
  • Each team member should be paired with someone who has a different background.
  • Ask everyone to write a few sentences about the unique issues they believe the background group they've been paired may face.
  • Share and debate your findings with your team or in small groups.

This introspection will result in more empathic teams, which will help establish favorable attitudes and actions toward minorities.

5. Bring Bias to the Forefront

Calling out bias (whether from oneself or others) and encouraging others to do the same is one strategy to tackle bias and limit the use of non-inclusive language. You can start a bias jar on your team to promote this.

Encourage your staff to publicly call out bigotry and non-inclusive language (for example, using gendered language when discussing a specific profession).

Those who are called out must pay $1.

Don't stop there, though. Have a quick chat with your team about the many types of prejudice so that everyone understands.

6. Play Diversity and Inclusion Games

There are several DEI-themed games you can play with your team, whether you want to conduct an online group game, discover the perfect icebreaker, or throw an event in person. DEI games allow your team to simultaneously learn, grow, and have fun.

What this diversity activity promotes: Playing DEI games is a fun method to encourage employee engagement and learning while also giving them a sense of belonging.

7. Share Real Life Stories

When it comes to bringing the relevance of Diversity and Inclusion exercises to life, you will find training courses that can occasionally fall flat. Real-life experiences provide Diversity and inclusion activities a much-needed human touch and inspire employees to open up and be compassionate. This is also a fantastic method for your staff to get to know one another better and appreciate one other's unique experiences and viewpoints.

8. Host a Diversity and Inclusion Exercise-based Lunch

Lunch and learns are a terrific team-building activity for the workplace because they allow your employees to learn about an interesting topic together. Organizing DI-focused lunch and learn sessions is a non-threatening approach for your staff to learn more about DEI issues in a less formal setting.

DI lunch and learns are a fun approach to motivate employees to keep learning about diversity.

9. Set up a Diversity Committee

Putting in place an efficient and robust DEI program takes time and effort, and it necessitates some heavy lifting. Rather than tasking one or two employees with bringing DEI projects to life, form a diversity committee with members responsible for different aspects of your DEI strategy.

10. Start a Book Club

Forming a book club is a simple yet enjoyable approach for employees to learn about DEI through reading. Books, whether fiction or nonfiction, give readers a glimpse into a variety of viewpoints, backgrounds, and experiences. A book club is also a fantastic way for team members to include an open discussion about significant Diversity and Inclusion subjects.

Summing Up

The first step toward improving any team's dynamic is to gain a better knowledge of it. Managers can utilize team strengths and uncover pain areas before they become problems by providing a safe, anonymous venue for employees to offer feedback. 

The following are some examples of questions:

  • Do you think your team is inclusive (that it brings people together despite their differences)?
  • Do you believe that in your team, people with various ideas and points of view are valued?
  • Can you go to work without feeling compelled to conceal a part of yourself?

The above-mentioned questions help CEOs and managers to determine the quality of employees in an organization. It helps to assess whether employees are taking a keen interest in the company's goals and objectives. 

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