In recent years, due to the increasing level of immigration, cultural exchange and cosmopolitanism, diversity has become a popular topic.
The concept “diversity” could be shortly expressed with a single word: differences. Human diversity refers to the differences between people; each of us lives in a rich and infinite variety of mankind.
So, diversity awareness is a new-born skill, essential for living and working in a world like ours. It can be described as the ability to embrace the uniqueness of all individuals along several dimensions, such as race, ethnicity, religious or political beliefs, age, gender, physical abilities, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, language, occupation, education, income.
Diversity awareness goes beyond the tolerance to include the exploration of such individual differences, respecting them, and eventually developing a positive relationship with the others, despite the barriers.
Especially in the business field, a person with these skills can strongly contribute to fostering a harmonious environment, where mutual respect and equity are central, defending the workforce diversity that is deemed necessary by any organization that intends to compete in the global market.
Diversity awareness is used to enhance people’s understanding of and sensitivity to cultural and other differences. By building awareness and understanding, a person can drastically and positively change his/her behaviour.
The following are helpful tips for diversity awareness skills:
- Active and frequent communication. Communication is the fastest way for obtaining the level of transparency and open-mindedness necessary for diversity awareness. This can increase the level of empathy, understanding and sociality.
- Avoid the clusters of people with similar backgrounds. The meetings between people with dissimilar backgrounds, sharing the same space, are another way to promote awareness. If you are looking to improve your own diversity skills, endeavour to willingly pair up with individuals belonging to various backgrounds.
- Lead by example. Sharing your own experiences and stories with your peers to demonstrate the importance of being open about others’ unique backgrounds. This can encourage your listeners to accept the uniqueness of individuals, while maintaining their own cultural identity.
Name of the activity:
Bring bias to the forefront
The aim of the activity:
Confrontation between different background people for reducing the respective bias
Skills that the activity develops
Communication, diversity awareness
How many people the activity is suited for:
4 or more
Time requirement of the activity:
How many instructors are needed?
What is the role of the trainer or instructor?
Listening and coordinating the team
Other requirements for the activity (space, equipment…):
Open floor space, a couple of money apiece, a jar
Describe the activity in a clear and concise manner:
This is an activity to confront bias and decrease the use of non-inclusive language by calling it out and encouraging the other people to do the same.
You must choose 4 or more people to build a team; it’s essential that everyone has various and dissimilar backgrounds.
Every member of the team must call out their bias and speak with a non-inclusive language (for instance, someone can use a gendered language about a specific job). Whoever is called out must insert a dollar in the jar.
Finally, start a rapid discussion about the bias with the team so that it resonates.
This activity help everyone to weaken their bias everyday by bringing it to the forefront. At the end of the year, use the money to do something fun all together.