Company Culture | Article

6 Ways to Celebrate Diversity in the Workplace

April is Celebrate Diversity Month! And when we celebrate diversity, we celebrate success while also celebrating people.

Diversity is better for not only people, but for your business. Studies reveal that more diverse companies produce 2.3 times as much cash flow per employee than less diverse companies. Greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace fuels a wider range of ideas, expertise, and life experience. All those different perspectives help evolve the collective knowledge and mindset of companies. More knowledge, more problems solved, more consumer needs met.

So diversity is something major to celebrate! For Celebrate Diversity Month, we’ve compiled some ways to help you celebrate diversity at your organization throughout the whole year.

1. Address communication barriers

Your company likely has employees from other countries, either working remotely or that have relocated. When English is someone’s second language, it can make it a bit difficult to communicate or understand one another. Do not let these initial struggles deter you from engaging them. There are many ways to overcome language barriers. Utilize language cards or translators, provide language classes, and practice patience.

Something to watch out for is accent bias. This bias, although often unconscious, can adversely affect hiring and growth. Ultimately, this results in less diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Learn how to confront accent bias, while respecting and celebrating all accents, dialects, and languages!

2. Allow time off for all holidays

From holidays to beliefs, ensure all your employees feel like you care about them and their traditions. The U.S. government only recognizes Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter. There are dozens of other religious holidays including Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, and Día de los Muertos. Give employees that observe these holidays time off without making them use their PTO days. Some employees will openly share their religion while others will not. When they do share, recognize and celebrate alongside them.

3. Create a cultural calendar

Letting your employees observe their holidays is one of the first steps in celebrating diversity. Creating a cultural calendar takes it one step further. Your cultural calendar should include holidays and important dates from all backgrounds. Allow your employees to add to it themselves since you may not be aware of every notable day. Send eCards that celebrate those specific occasion (and if one doesn’t exist, create it!)

Another thing you can add to the calendar is time for education. Some employees may be willing to talk to the rest of the team or staff about their traditions. Encourage these individuals to openly share and schedule dedicated time for them to teach others. Your employees will appreciate learning about other cultures while also bonding with each other.

4. Offer diversity training

Include diversity training in your onboarding process. Explain the importance of diversity and how it makes your organization stronger. Focus on ways to treat people from different backgrounds with respect. Some people may not realize what types of questions or comments can be offensive so bring awareness to microaggressions. Be sure to periodically offer training for current employees and especially leadership. Leaders are who employees look up to, so make sure they are setting the right example.

5. Fund employee resource groups

Employee resource groups (ERGs) are a great way to keep educating, supporting, and celebrating your people. ERGs are employee-led and often made up of people with similar characteristics. It provides a safe space for them to share thoughts/experiences and openly discuss inclusivity. These groups can also help you identify and develop internal leaders while building a more diverse talent pipeline. Support ERGs both verbally and financially for them to be successful.

6. Support minority employees for advancement

Minorities experience more barriers to advancement. Advocate for these employees and support them in specific ways that may differ from the way you support others. Teach them the skills they need and help them network. Analyze your company’s data to see if there are certain minority groups that are promoted less often or have less opportunities for growth. That way you’ll know where employees may be neglected and seek out lifting them up. Keep a constant line of communication to discuss how your organization can support every employee and their career!

At the end of the day, celebrating diversity means celebrating success. Create an equitable environment where all cultures, genders, and races are lifted up to make employees happier and more energized. With energized employees and tangible equity, diversity can be a competitive advantage as you hire and continue to grow your organization!