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The Way I See It … Fun Ways To Achieve The Diversity Challenge


Skye Mackie of Skills Boosters LIVE shares her tips on how to create a diversity course that is interactive, informative and fun.

Designing courses that are interactive, informative and enjoyable is a key ingredient for all successful training initiatives. And there’s no reason why things should be any different when it comes to delivering the diversity message to your organisation. People soon forget the boring stuff, and you want to make sure that your diversity training sticks, because it’s what happens in the workplace after the course is over that’s really important.

The Diversity Challenge:
With an abundance of information, hundreds of news articles and six different strands of diversity legislation to cover, there’s a lot to take in. So where do you start and how do you turn diversity into an interesting topic that people will think about, discuss and act on once the course is over? The best way to approach any complex subject that affects your business is to analyse the priorities for your organisation and plan a specific programme around these issues. Diversity is a huge subject, and you need to make sure that you tackle it in ways that are relevant to your business and your staff.

Deciding on a budget for the initiative and what resources will be required are also vital first steps. Whatever the budget, learning should be designed with the aim of making a critical difference to the way in which individuals and their businesses operate.

Changing culture over time:
The upcoming age regulations are inspiring many businesses to implement a Diversity Strategy, but beware of leaping into reactive mode: it’s more effective to build a change of culture over time. Delivering information in a range of bite-size formats can be a great way of communicating the diversity message quickly, to large numbers of employees and without it becoming an all-consuming project. After all, you have a business to run! Bite-size formats can be part of other activities such as team meetings, team building exercises or company bulletins and newsletters, where they’re easily absorbed.

Many people have preconceptions of what diversity is all about, and these can be negative and inaccurate. Some members of staff may think that they know enough about the subject already. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to deliver the diversity message in a non-confrontational and friendly style that will break through these barriers.

A blended learning approach, which uses traditional learning methods together with new technology and multi-media resources, could be the answer. Through layering these learning methods there is a more far reaching learning experience, one that gives candidates a deeper understanding of the subject. Knowledge gained in this way will be sustained over a longer period and be used more widely and creatively by the learner.

Designing Diversity Initiatives:
Making use of a variety of methods to inform your organisation will help you impart knowledge without the need always to revert to ‘formal’ training. In deciding on the best mix for your business there are a range of actions to consider: e-learning, video, lunch-time briefings, intranet articles, newsletter updates or even expert speakers could help you design a programme that will benefit employees at every level. Thinking beyond the classroom to engage employees and get them interested in the diversity debate will create a culture of inclusion and understanding.

Golden Rules:
If you are looking to create a workshop as a starting point for your diversity initiative, then there’s a few golden rules to remember. The use of activities and video is a powerful way to help delegates see the benefits of diversity, view things from a different perspective and perhaps even challenge their own behaviour and ideas. Activities should allow delegates to get involved and experience situations first-hand so that they gain an appreciation of what other people are experiencing and feeling.

Seven Suggestions from our Training Experts:
We’ve listed our diversity trainers’ seven most popular suggestions for implementing a diversity solution.

  • Share stories about holidays in countries with different cultures to open up casual discussion about different religions, beliefs and races. You could do this during team meetings, leave photos on notice-boards or in staff areas or even organise lunchtime briefings.
  • Use different media to inform employees; for example you could provide video learning and make this available on the company network or learning library zone. You could also use video to reinforce key messages during trainer-led courses. Video scenarios bring reality to hypothetical situations and visual learning exercises use a different part of the brain from learning through spoken or written words.
  • E-learning can be another powerful method of delivering diversity messages in a friendly and fun way and can provide flexibility for you in implementing diversity initiatives.
  • Use the company’s intranet to publish ‘interesting facts’ about different cultures, statistics from your organisation or other news that relates to diversity.
  • Think about creating activities and incorporating fun games to sell the diversity message. Perhaps look at incorporating diversity topics into other more popular internal training programmes to help spread the word. This is a non-confrontational way to help delegates see that diversity is indeed an interesting and worthwhile issue for everyone.
  • Get some ‘experts’ in to give lunchtime talks or present short pieces during team meetings to raise awareness across the organisation.
  • If you haven’t already got one, start up a diversity group who can explore organisational issues, make suggestions for ideas and changes, and help gain ‘buy-in’ across the business.

Diversity is about each person’s value as an individual. So the more you can make every individual part of changing the culture in your business, the more effective it will be. Create on-going discussion and debate that anyone can take part in. Ask your team members what kind of learning they enjoy most, either at work or elsewhere.

The key word to successful and fun Diversity Training is involvement. Involve everyone in the learning process. Ask people what they would do in a given situation. Discuss first hand experiences of staff, their friends and family. What kinds of changes would they like to see? What would they like someone to do in a given situation? What are their expectations?

By involving people, offering a wide range of activities to suit different learning cognition types, you create learning that everyone can enjoy and benefit from. And isn’t that, after all, what diversity is all about?

Skill Boosters LIVE is part of the BDP Media Group
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