Diversity is important when it comes to building a positive and collaborative culture in the office. But what exactly is diversity?
Diversity refers to the makeup of an organization’s workforce and how much the presence, perspectives and contributions of different groups of people are valued. Fostering a culture where differences are not merely accepted, but actually valued, is one of the best ways to boost engagement, productivity and innovation in your workplace.
So what are some of the ways an organization can support and celebrate diversity in the office? Investing in diversity and inclusion (DEI) training is one effective way to do this, of course, but there are other things that can help too. Let’s take a look.
Why is celebrating diversity in the workplace so important?
Putting energy and resources towards building a diverse and inclusive workforce, for example, through cultural diversity training, is not just the right thing to do, it’s actually one of the best ways to add value to your business.
A growing body of research shows that companies with more diversity outperform those with less diverse teams in a number of different ways.
For example, one survey found that companies with diverse management teams earn 19% more revenue from innovation, while another report shows that companies with more gender diversity among executive teams generate more profitability. Racially and ethnically diverse companies are also 35% more likely to have financial returns above the national industry median.
So along with fostering a more positive, engaging and creative environment for employees, celebrating diversity can also positively impact your business’s bottom line.
Easy ways to celebrate diversity in the workplace
Now that you’re aware of the benefits of having a diverse workforce, you might be wondering what practical steps can be taken to create inclusive spaces and celebrate diversity in your workplace.
Although there are many different approaches that could work for your company, here are a few practical examples of effective yet relatively simple things you can do to get started.
1. Develop a cultural celebration calendar
Observing holidays like Easter, Christmas or Independence Day has become standard practice in most workplaces. But how inclusive is your organization when it comes to observances that are important to people from diverse faiths and cultures?
Developing a cultural celebration calendar is a great way to recognise and embrace the diversity of your workforce. It can also make it easier for employers to anticipate and accommodate requests for time off.
Examples of cultural and religious observances you might not yet have added to your calendar include Diwali, Lunar New Year, Eid al-Fitr, Al-Hijri, Rosh Hashanah and Kwanzaa.
Including appropriate questions about cultural holidays could even become part of your onboarding process, as long as it’s made clear to employees that disclosing this information and participating in celebrations is entirely optional.
2. Implement a DEI training program
One of the most effective ways to support diversity and increase awareness of its importance in the workplace is to invest in diversity and inclusion or DEI training.
First and foremost, implementing an inclusion training program will help you develop HR policies that promote diversity. Developing more inclusive policies is the best way to ensure that all employees feel respected and valued, regardless of their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or cultural background.
Diversity training programs can also help employees become more culturally aware while also encouraging them to get to know one another and become more accepting of various different viewpoints, values and backgrounds.
3. Create internal traditions that highlight different cultures
In addition to recognising the traditions and celebrations that are important to your employees, you might also look at creating new internal traditions that highlight and celebrate different cultures.
If you’re not sure where to begin, you could get some feedback directly from your employees to find out which holiday celebrations are important to them and how they might like to see these celebrated at work, if at all.
You might also organize cultural exchange events that aren’t linked to any specific holiday. For instance, you could host a company get-together where everyone is encouraged to share something from their culture, whether it’s a specific dish or unique custom.
Events like this are great for bringing employees from different cultural backgrounds together and encouraging them to ask questions and learn more about cultural identities they may be unfamiliar with.
In short, emphasizing diversity and inclusivity is one of the most effective ways to foster a positive and communicative work environment, while also growing your business.
Want to know more about how to implement diversity training in the workplace? Berlitz has cultural training programs specifically designed for business, from online and face-to-face training to consulting and assessments.