As a leader, you have to be intentional when building an inclusive workplace culture. It’s not something that you can just wish into existence. Creating an environment where everyone feels they belong and can be their true self is beneficial on every level, from employee engagement and morale to positively impacting the company’s bottom line.
April is Diversity Month, a time to celebrate and recognize our unique backgrounds, cultures and traditions. It’s an opportunity to appreciate our diversity in thought and leverage the strength found in those differences. But don’t limit your acknowledgement to just one month—here are 9 ways you and your team can build on your current DE&I initiatives and honor diverse perspectives year-round.
How to Celebrate Diversity Month (Year-Round)
1. Mark your calendar for history and heritage celebrations
Presidential proclamations designate certain months as nationally recognized history and heritage months. Within your organization, celebrate the significance of each month, provide resources, bring in cultural speakers, share little-known facts, etc.
- February: Black History Month
- March: Women’s History Month
- May: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
- June: LGBTQIA+ Pride Month
- September: Hispanic Heritage Month
- October: Disability Employment Awareness Month
- November: National Native American Heritage Month
2. Host a Lunch and Learn
Invite employees to bring their lunch (or offer to order in) and discuss ways to create safe space at work and how to be better allies. It’s a serious topic, but sometimes having an open conversation during a meal helps keep it on the lighter side and may spark innovative ideas.
3. Share the News
To reach a wider audience, invite your business providers and partners to help celebrate diversity by co-sponsoring an event. Create a hashtag for social media to encourage employees to connect, share good news and give them an easy way to promote the company culture. Use these shared experiences to create a feedback loop and inspire others.
4. Put on a Cultural Art Exhibit
Carve out space in your building to showcase the work of artists from various backgrounds and cultures. Make sure to include signate that tells the story of the art, and if the artist is local invite them to visit onsite and share their perspective.
5. Create a Question of the Week
Use your company’s intranet, email or text messaging to send out a question of the week (or day!) related to various customs and cultures. Select one of the correct responders and offer a small prize. Ask employees to submit questions that could stump their coworkers!
6. Mix Up the Music
If your business plays background music in a reception room or even throughout the entire building or has “hold” music for those waiting on the phone, use music from a variety of backgrounds. If you’re not sure where to start, ask employees for ideas for musical selections from their cultures and heritage.
7. Schedule a Diversity Roundtable
Ask for volunteers to sit in on a quarterly (or monthly) roundtable/panel to discuss critical issues facing the community. And help shed light on any internal concerns that may be taking place. Listening to everyone’s perspective can illuminate the little-known problems and be the catalyst for change.
8. Host a Job Fair
But not just any job fair—make an effort to invite underrepresented groups and communities. Seek out potential employees of all backgrounds, from those new to the workforce all the way to retired individuals who may be looking to reenter with part-time work. Find areas of opportunity where diversity candidates are abundant.
9. Respect Diverse Families
The definition of family has changed over time and can mean a lot of things to different people. Your company culture should honor and embrace the various types of families your workforce may be a part of. Do you offer benefits to domestic partners? Do adoptive parents get the same maternity/paternity leave as birth parents? Do you offer family counseling services? What about pet insurance (fur babies are here to stay!). Consider all types of household situations when designing inclusive benefits.
For more free resources and tools that promote DE&I best practices in the workplace, visit Perspectives+. It’s Paycor’s online knowledge library designed to help our partner network drive change, empower colleagues, and foster new leaders.