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Excerpt--Trainer's Diversity Source Book

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By Jonamay Lambert and Selma Myers

2004, 224 pages, Paperback with CD-ROM

ISBN: 978-1-58644-063-3

SHRMStore Item #: 61.12502

Order from SHRMStore or call (800) 444-5006

What Are Diversity Activities?

These diversity activities are learning activities that add interest and can be used in a number of ways. Some are icebreakers-brief activities designed to get people talking to each other. Still others introduce a specific topic or prompt further examination of a topic in a relatively brief yet interesting way. Expanded versions of some of our basic activities create opportunities for more in-depth conversations. Other components that can be included in a session about diversity might include simulations, special topic videos, or diversity-related games.

The awareness and skills brought out by the activities in this book can be put to use at any stage of diversity awareness and skills, starting with the early exploration of the topic, continuing with improved information and growth, and finally developing some feeling of confidence and an interest in taking action.

All of the activities in this book are designed to facilitate dialogues and encourage open-minded listening. They offer opportunities for self-reflection, honest talk, and even a little humor. The goals are for participants to leave the room with new insights into themselves and others, and to help them work with others more effectively when they return to their daily work.

Legal Issues
While we have not experienced any legal issues related to diversity training, that's not to say others haven't. Whether you are an outside consultant or in-house trainer, prior to conducting your training it is a good idea to ask for direction and probe for any sensitivities that may exist related to this topic. We suggest that outside consultants have a discussion with their clients and in-house trainers at least consider their own knowledge of their companies about the following issues:

  • Potential or recent complaints or legal actions.
  • Union sensitivities.
  • Language and terminology to avoid.
  • Similar training that has occurred in the past.
  • Similar or related training.

Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind as you design and deliver your diversity training.

  • Make sure when introducing language or policies that the organization is REALLY committed to them. Read and understand the diversity policies or statements.
  • There may be union issues that impact employee attendance, particularly if the training is not during their normal work schedules.
  • Link diversity skills to job requirements and behavioral expectations.
  • Some organizations may ask their legal department or outside counsel to review the training program. Be aware that legal departments tend to:
    • Check for consistency.
    • Watch for tone.
    • Avoid making commitment to changes in policies and practices. For example, trainers should not imply that changes will necessarily result from discussions.
    • Ensure that no "new" terminology is being introduced to the company's lexicon, presumably because these new terms have not been tested and there is no precedent supporting their usage. For example, the phrases "world views" or "nationality" may not have been used in the company before and may be problematic to the legal department...

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