How to Celebrate and Promote Diversity in the Workplace
The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday gives employees the opportunity to reflect on the importance of embracing diversity. However, celebrating and promoting diversity in the workplace should be more than just a one-day initiative.
Consider these ways of turning it into an ongoing company objective:
Hire an outside consultant to conduct a voluntary class on the importance of diversity with the goal of improving communication between people of difference backgrounds. Studies have shown that voluntary diversity awareness programs are more effective than mandatory ones.
Have your company policies reflect your beliefs on cultural acceptance. Be aware of any language in your documents that could come be interpreted as offensive or discriminatory.
Create and post/distribute a central, inclusive calendar on which all religious holidays and cultural celebration days are marked.
Host afterhours activities or schedule team volunteer opportunities to allow coworkers to mingle and get to know one another better. Interaction in a non-work environment can help employees learn to relate.
Use flexible scheduling to support diversity initiatives. Offer a certain number of days off for holidays, rather than specifying which ones. Or, build limited flexibility into a schedule by adjusting the start and end time or allowing longer lunch periods to accommodate personal needs.
Highlight different cultures through diversity days. Encourage employees to bring a dish they traditionally eat for a workplace potluck.
Establish a centrally-located diversity bulletin board to highlight and explain the significant of various holidays and where employees can post things that make them unique.
- Add a metric to the employee appraisal process related to getting along with co-workers. Accountability generates results.
Awareness and appreciation of diversity has a definite impact on company morale and productivity. It is important to incorporate the celebration of diversity into your company’s structure and ongoing initiatives.