If you are a company that wants to make sure that its companies feel as comfortable as possible, you might have decided to hire a service that helps organize employee role playing as part of an interactive diversity program. This will allow people to put themselves in the shoes of other people who might be struggling from different issues than they currently are. This increases empathy, which can make it easier for people with different backgrounds to work together. However, many employees likely don't want to step outside their comfort zones, which role playing can require. Here are some tips for making your diversity role playing session a success.
1. Don't Just Focus on Race, Ethnicity, or Gender
The first thing that you want to make sure that you avoid is just focusing on race, ethnicity, or gender. These are the hot topics that are in the news right now, but they are not the only source, or even the most common source, of background differences. People can have different ways of approaching problems if they were raised differently or are accustomed to having different amounts of money. Start with these topics. They tend to be more comfortable for people to talk about because being accused of being "classist" due to a misjudged comment is not nearly as common as being accused of being "racist" or "sexist." You need to ease people into more politically loaded territories and give them the tools that they need to not feel as though they are going to make a mistake and offend someone accidentally.
2. Take Suggestions
Have a suggestion box put out a few weeks before the diversity program. Ask people to anonymously provide ideas for what they think needs to be talked about during the session or how they would get the most use out of it. This will allow you to tailor the program to what your employees actually need, allowing them to get more use out of it. You could also set up a Google survey or some other online survey for taking suggestions, which could be a lot more anonymous.
3. Don't Force People to Participate
If people clearly state that they do not want to actively participate, don't force them to do so. This will only make people uncomfortable. See if they can participate in another way, such as reading out prompts. This will allow everyone to remain comfortable.
For more information, talk to a company that specializes in interactive diversity programs.