8 Diversity And Inclusion Activities For The Workplace

Written by Nicola Wylie
Last updated September 11, 2023

Now more than ever, employers are recognising the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Fostering an inclusive work culture doesn’t just boost morale, but it significantly affects the bottom line too. From more innovative teams to higher engagement rates, diversity and inclusion activities can help your business create a safe and empowering environment for all employees.

To help you celebrate diversity, challenge biases, and create honest discussions, we’ve rounded up 8 diversity and inclusion activities for the workplace.

What Are Diversity And Inclusion Activities In The Workplace?

Diversity and inclusion activities are initiatives run by an organisation to promote awareness, understanding, and respect for diversity within the workplace. These activities are designed to foster inclusion working cultures where employees from different backgrounds feel valued, safe, and respected. 

Activities could include diversity workshops and panel discussions where guest speakers share their insights and experiences on diversity and inclusion, cultural celebrations, and other events that expose employees to diverse perspectives.

It’s important that employers run regular employee surveys and feedback to assess how the impact of these activities and identify areas of improvement.

What Is A Good Diversity And Inclusion Icebreaker Activity?

Running regular DEI workshops and events in your business is paramount to creating an inclusive culture. However, it can be challenging to get employees to participate, especially at the beginning of the event.

Kicking off with a well-planned diversity and inclusion icebreaker activity can relieve any shyness and encourage staff to get involved.

This icebreaker is a great way to open a D&I staff event.


Common Ground


Encourage participants to find shared experiences and commonalities within a diverse group, fostering connections and breaking down barriers.

Step 1: The setup

First, you’ll need to set up the activity following the instructions below:

Prepare a set of common ground statements or prompts before the workshop. These statements should be open-ended and relevant to employees from diverse backgrounds. For example:

  • “I love trying different cuisines.”
  • “I enjoy outdoor activities.”
  • “I love having time for myself.”
  • “I have traveled to multiple countries.”
  • “I am passionate about volunteering.”

Step 2: Execution

Then, execute the activity following the steps below:

  • Ask employees to form a circle or divide into small groups
  • Explain the purpose of the activity: to find shared experiences and common interests with people from diverse backgrounds
  • Hand out the common ground statements/prompts (one to each employee)
  • Ask them to take turns reading out their statement and briefly share their experience or opinion 
  • Encourage other employees to respond if they share a similar experience or interest
  • Move on to the next person until everyone has had a chance to share and discuss their statements.

Step 3: The debrief

After every employee has read their statement, facilitate a brief debriefing discussion to reflect on the experience. What did employees notice? How did they feel? What were the biggest similarities they noticed?

Encourage employees to discuss how important finding common ground is when it comes to creating a supportive working environment.

Remember to adapt the activity to the size of the group, the duration of the workshop, and the specific needs of the group.

Next up: We look at 8 examples of diversity and inclusion activity ideas to try in your workplace.

8 Diversity And Inclusion Activities To Try In Your Workplace

To inspire you, we’ve rounded up 8 examples of diversity and inclusion activities to include in your DEI initiatives. 

1. Diversity awareness workshop


Raise awareness and understanding about diversity at work.

How it works: 

Run interactive workshops to explore different topics around diversity, such as gender, age, abilities, race, and ethnicity.

Facilitate discussions and use role-plays and case studies to encourage an open dialogue. The goal is to challenge biases and foster greater empathy among employees.

How to implement: 

Identify facilitators (either internal or external trainers) to run the workshops. Next, create a tailored plan of the activities and discussions employees will participate in during the session.

Finally, schedule the sessions during working hours to ensure all employees are able to attend. Each workshop should be followed up with ongoing discussions (a learning management system is a great tool for this) and additional resources.

We recommend incorporating activities that encourage problem-solving and collaboration.

2. Cultural potluck


Celebrate and gain a deeper understanding of different cultures within the workplace.

How it works: 

Host a cultural potluck and ask employees to bring dishes that represent their cultural backgrounds. You can also encourage employees to share traditional food, music, clothing, and customs so they learn to appreciate diverse cultures.

How to implement: 

Decide how you want to structure the event and choose a location. Then, communicate the event in advance and provide clear instructions on how to participate. In addition, provide guidelines related to food allergies and sensitivities and the safe handling of food.

You may want to approach some individuals directly to ask them to participate and share their cultural experiences. 

Finally, provide an open space for employees to set out their dishes and any other displays. During the potluck, ensure that each employee has a chance to share brief stories about their culture.

3. Bias awareness training


Raise awareness about unconscious biases and discrimination in the workplace, and how they can affect decision-making.

How it works

Provide training (online or in person) to educate employees at all levels on what unconscious bias is, how to address it, and its implications in the workplace. During the training, you should discuss and debunk stereotypes and provide real-life examples and scenarios to help employees recognise their own biases.

Finally, the training should provide strategies to reduce unconscious bias in the day-to-day lives of employees.

How to implement: 

We recommend partnering with internal experts or third-party professional trainers to deliver bias awareness training. However, the training sessions should be adapted to align with your business.

To measure the impact of the training, you should aim to provide pre-and post-training assessments. In addition, participants should work closely with D&I team members to develop personal action plans to address their personal biases. Regular check-ins will ensure accountability and a long-term commitment.

4. Diversity book club


Facilitate learning and open conversations around diversity-related topics.

How it works

Set up a workplace book club that focuses on books about diversity and inclusion. Each book club pick should address a different dimension of diversity for participants to discuss together. 

How to implement: 

Start by creating an online platform to host your book club, like Zoom or Google Meet. Then, ask employees to submit recommendations for books and create a reading list. It’s always best to choose books on varied topics to avoid having very similar discussions several weeks in a row.

Next, set a time for the book club meeting and prepare discussion prompts. Since this can be quite a lot of work, it’s a good idea to assign a moderator for each session. 

This works great online, making it one of the best diversity and inclusion activities for virtual teams.

5. Inclusive language training


Promote inclusive communication and language in the workplace.

How it works

Hold workshops and training sessions on the importance of inclusive language. The training should highlight the impact of language on others and provide clear guidance on what language is appropriate and what isn’t. 

How to implement: 

Work with external experts like Aspiring To Include to create your inclusive language training and resources. Our team of experts can guide you in creating concise inclusive language guidelines and resources for employees to refer to after the training. You may also want to make these resources part of your onboarding programme and adapt your internal policies to reflect your company’s stance on inclusive language.

6. Cross-cultural mentoring programmes


Promote learning and relationship-building among diverse employees in your organisation.

How it works

Implement a mentoring programme that pairs employees from diverse backgrounds to foster cross-cultural understanding. The programme should encourage mentors and mentees to share insights and develop together. 

How to implement: 

Start by designing a mentoring framework and structure. Then, set clear objectives and outline the expectations for the employees involved.

Once you have developed the structure and created any necessary literature (guidelines, policies, etc.), the next step is to promote it internally. This is an important step in encouraging employees to sign up for the initiative.

Finally, provide training and resources for both mentors and mentees to optimise the effectiveness of the programme and foster meaningful relationships. Conducting regular feedback surveys is essential to ensure the initiative is performing and meeting the objectives.

7. Diversity film screening and discussion session


Create a space for employees to discuss diversity-related themes and gain exposure to different cultures in a fun way.

How it works

Host a regular film screening to create to stimulate important conversations around diversity-related issues. It’s a particularly valuable activity for employees that struggle to participate in open discussions because it gives them a concrete topic to focus on.

How to implement: 

The first step is to curate a list of films that address diversity and inclusion or other social issues. It’s a good idea to ask employees to submit suggestions.

Next, you will need to select a location. Can you set up a projector screen in your office or rent a venue? Alternatively, this is one of the best diversity and inclusion activities for virtual teams because you can also host it online. All you need to do is provide employees with access to the film and then set up a virtual meeting for the discussion portion.

Finally, facilitate a guided discussion after the screening to explore important themes and perspectives. Encourage employees to share their own personal experiences related to the topic.

8. Inclusive leadership workshops


Support current and future managers in developing inclusive leadership skills so they can better lead diverse teams.

How it works

Provide ongoing training and workshops focusing on developing inclusive leadership practices. The training can be delivered in person or online, and should cover the following topics:

These training opportunities should be provided to future leaders as well as current ones and must be adapted to suit your organisation’s goals and culture.

How to implement: 

The first step is to decide whether you want to create the training in-house or work with an external training company. Then, you need to decide on a delivery method. While in-person training is the traditional approach, online learning provides a more flexible and accessible delivery method. Alternatively, you could opt for a blended training programme that combines online courses with face-to-face sessions or live virtual classrooms.

The next step is to tailor the training to align with business values, goals, and policies. At this stage, it’s important to involve key stakeholders and get buy-in from leadership. This will ensure the long-term success of the training.

Drive Diversity And Inclusion With Aspiring To Include

Diversity and inclusion is an essential part of the long-term success of your business. It not only enriches the employee experience, but it also leads to better performance and collaboration. With so many benefits, it’s important that employers plan diversity and inclusion activities that engage employees.

If you’re an employer looking to build a more inclusive environment, we can help. Our resource hub for employers is packed with guidance on everything from inclusive recruitment to monitoring EDI figures. You can also connect with diverse talent by posting your latest opportunities on our inclusive job board.

Get in touch to find out more about our personalised employer services.

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Last Updated: Monday February 26 2024
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