May 21st is World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, and while we continue to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the move to embrace cultural diversity continues. Research has shown that there are multiple benefits to diversity in the workplace, so what can your HR Department do to celebrate the event?
The issue of social diversity has been around for decades, and for almost as long in terms of developing an ideal workplace experience. In 2001, UNESCO adopted the Universal Declaration of Cultural Diversity and the following year, declared 21st May specifically the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.
There are good reasons for companies to embrace cultural diversity, and these go beyond the traditional values of equality and social progress. By definition, diversity means having a range of differing ideas and perspectives, as well as a wider scope in experience, knowledge and understanding. In this regard, the advantages of having a diverse workforce are significant.
With different thinking can come greater creativity and innovation. Research from McKinley as well as several other research houses, has shown that levels of employee engagement are increased too, increasing employee productivity and overall company profitability.
In fact, a Harvard Business Review discovered that companies that take a holistic approach to inherent diversity and acquired diversity, operate with a higher level of innovation and inspiration.
Celebrating the values honoured on 21 May is obviously a perfect way to build greater diversity in the workplace. But in a time of continued restrictions, when so many colleagues are working from home, what events can your HR Department organise to mark the occasion? Here we list a few that you could consider.
4 Ideas To Mark World Day For Cultural Diversity
- Host An Online Movie Appreciation Event
- Cultural Cuisine Night
- “Knock, knock … who’s there?”
- The Travel Bug
We all enjoy a good movie – even a foreign one, though affection for subtitles tends to vary. However, cinema is a key part of any culture, with every country having its range of highly regarded films. So why not decide on a movie that colleagues can watch, then later host a review event where everyone can share their opinion on it. A native of that culture, of course, can provide greater context to the film’s subject, and shed some light on the finer points of the storyline.
Is Chicken Tikka Masala really a British national dish? A curry dish? The answer is yes; it is a British take on the Indian dish Chicken Tikka, and an example of Britain’s willingness to absorb influences from all over their old empire. You’ll surely agree that’s an intriguing fact, but what other cuisines stories do you know.
Why not organise a cuisine night (or lunch), asking colleagues to share what details they have on their own country’s national dishes. They could share recipes, cook the dish at home and then share photos. You might even be able to arrange a take-out deal with restaurants to deliver a chosen dish to colleagues leaving near each other, then dine on camera while discussing food and cuisine experiences.
Why not include a special guest in a meeting, and have them share a part of their life with the team or department group. The idea is to bring first-hand experience to light, revealing not only a picture into the lifestyle and values of the country an individual is from, but a personal story that introduces that person to his or her colleagues, thereby building greater unity.
Personnel can share their travel experiences around the world, thus allowing colleagues to discover a little of the parts of the world through the stories told. The exercise can open up a discussion on travel to build a greater understanding of the wider world out there. Pictures can be shared too, though this would have to be down to the individuals themselves due to privacy rules and GDPR.
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