When you have a great team of employees, they don’t just bring their unique skills or talents to the workplace. Each employee also brings their own special cultural background. To show your employees that you’re committed to celebrating diversity and inclusion in your workplace, here are four tips for making all your employees feel included, no matter where they’re from or what they celebrate.
Be aware of important holidays
When putting together a calendar for the year, get input from your employees to make sure you’re including any days that are culturally or religiously significant to them. For example, you might remember to include Hannukah for a Jewish employee, but could be forgetting about other important days like Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur. By asking your employees for their feedback on important holidays, you have an opportunity to show that you’re committed to making them feel comfortable and welcome in your workplace. Put the calendar in a public space, like a break room, so that all employees are aware of upcoming holidays.
On a management level, knowing about important holidays in advance also makes it easier to anticipate when employees may need time off from work. By asking employees to share any days that are culturally or religiously important to them, you have the chance to prepare for their absence or make any necessary accommodations.
During events, like a meeting to introduce a new employee or an end-of-quarter luncheon, take time to encourage your employees to share about their unique culture, traditions, or experiences. As an icebreaker, ask everyone to share a fun fact about their cultural background or talk about a favorite family recipe. Everyone has unique stories and experiences, and encouraging discussion is an excellent way to facilitate camaraderie and team-building while making sure everyone feels included.
Incorporate cultures and traditions in your own office traditions
Similarly to encouraging discussion, consider incorporating your employee’s unique cultures and traditions in your own office-wide traditions. For example, have a monthly potluck where everyone can bring in a favorite dish, or have a contest to give employees the chance to put up a favorite piece of art in your lobby or breakroom. Build diversity in your own workplace culture, and you’ll create a workplace environment that is creative, fun, and welcoming to everyone.
Encourage an open, respectful workplace culture
Promoting a diverse, inclusive workplace isn’t all about splashy events or holidays, though—it also means addressing any issues in a quick, sensitive manner. If an employee comes to you with a problem, like another employee making insensitive remarks about their culture or religion, take immediate steps to address the issue. This sends the message that you’re committed to each employee’s safety and well-being, and that your interested in diversity and inclusion isn’t just a façade.
Even before any issues arise, take steps to prevent problems by having a clear policy on workplace harassment and similar issues.
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