by Orla Cruise, Senior Account Manager specialising in Employer Branding, Atomic DNA.
Each year, people all over the world celebrate Cultural Diversity. World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (Tuesday 21st May 2019) is a day developed by the UN to encourage people to celebrate cultural differences and educate one another about what it is that makes our societies so unique. It gives us an opportunity to strengthen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity, which is central to development of economic growth and an inclusive society. In the workplace (and everywhere else for that matter), this means fostering a culture of respect, understanding and education.
Encouraging this type of environment (throughout the year!) is a great way for employees to grow culturally and become a more appreciative and perceptive human being. It can help break down barriers, which boosts teamwork, as well as a business case for it; a more diverse employee base is needed to service a global and diverse customer base.
But, while we should work hard at fostering this culture, it can be fun too! Here are 3 great ways you can champion cultural diversity in the workplace:
1. Mini International Film Festival
Why not have a mini film festival in your office? Organise a screening of several films from different parts of the globe that normally don’t make it onto our local screens. You can do a week long special of one per day, or even one a week on a Thursday/Friday. If you have a diverse workforce, get someone to recommend a favourite film from their country or region!
2. Multicultural Food Fair
Who doesn’t love food?? Set up a Multicultural Food “Fair” in the canteen/kitchen/shared communal space, where you can try out different foods from all over the world. Be sure to include blurbs or information around each dish in order to help educate people on the dishes history and origins. Alternatively, this can work as above, where each person can bring in a dish from their country and talk a bit around it (this also helps if you don’t have a lot of space!).
3. Cultural Heroes
Start a conversation with people about their cultural heroes. They can talk about historical figures, celebrities, people in the media or even family members. Discuss how these individuals represent their culture and background. Maybe you could even start a game like 20 Questions or the Name Game featuring cultural heroes?
It can be difficult to start a cold conversation about Cultural Diversity in the workplace. Ideas like these can really help open up those conversations in a fun and educational way. Documenting them on social media and showing a wider audience the fun activities you do and that you value Multiculturalism can really boost your employer brand, too.
About the author
Orla Cruise is a Senior Account Manager specialising in Employer Branding, at Atomic DNA. She has worked on various brands’ recruitment marketing & internal comms strategies, such as EY, Grant Thornton, Bank of Ireland and Aer Lingus.