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5 Ways You Can Properly Celebrate Diversity in the Workplace

This year, be the change in your organization. February is Black History Month and a good time to think about and encourage diversity in your workplace. If you don’t know where to start, keep reading, for six ways you can respectfully celebrate diversity in your workplace. 

Don’t be Colorblind  

You may have heard the term “colorblind” thrown around when discussing diversity and equality. Some people like to use this phrase to say that they don’t let skin color change how they view someone. Being “colorblind” implies that the person doesn’t see race. While this may seem like a genuine thought, it misses the whole point of equality.

When you “don’t see race,” you don’t see the genuine and legitimate disparities that come with being that race. When you don’t see the struggles that people of color (POC) have to face in their lives, you aren’t allowing yourself to see the issues that contribute to their struggle. Being “colorblind” is an easy way to shut down the topic of racism. Having those conversations will probably be uncomfortable, but it is incredibly essential.

Giving the floor to POC is a great way to hear their opinions on things that could be an issue, both in the workplace and in general society. However, POC should never be singled out and pressured to talk about issues like this. To create a less pressurized environment that encourages talk of sensitive issues, it could be beneficial to invite all employees to get involved with celebrating Special History Months in the workplace. Opening this opportunity for everyone to participate and be recognized allows those with differing experiences and struggles to give their opinions without feeling tokenized in the company. 

Create a Company Culture Event Calendar

A company culture event calendar is a great way to get insight into your employees! The goal is to create a calendar and allow employees to see and add days of celebration or observance. Having this information seen and used by all can be a tool to take the initiative and help employees celebrate and acknowledge important dates that are important to them. (You can share your calendar with staff easily! Learn how through the Bigger Brains Course Get it Done: Sharing Calendars). 

Having a calendar can help businesses plan to organize events or accommodate for time off depending on employee preference. Knowing the important dates in your workplace provides an opportunity to educate employees of other cultures on why specific dates are essential to others. This environment will set a standard for workplace culture and inclusiveness for the future.

Bring in a Speaker

Sometimes the thought of sitting and listening to a speaker talk on and on can be frightening! Thankfully, there are lots of ways to make this event more engaging. For example, instead of just having employees sit and listen to a speaker, plan the event for the middle of the day and turn it into a “listen and lunch” event.

Providing this time in the workday is an excellent way to bring in guests or even offer a floor for employees to share and teach others about their cultural experiences. Break up the usual groups, offer cultural food, include significant music. This is also a more engaging addition to diversity and inclusion training that allows for a social element that might be carried into the outside world. 

If you are interested in bringing in a guest speaker and don’t know where to start, Bigger Brains recommends Beth Ruffin. Beth teaches our course Improving Diversity and Inclusion (DEI) in Your Workplace

a person standing next to a window reading a book, could be an example of diversity

Start a Book Club

Another way to celebrate Special History Months in the workplace is to start a book club focusing on books written by diverse authors. Whether fiction or nonfiction, both can provide valuable insight and talking points. 

Here are some book suggestions for 2022: 

Support Minority-Owned Businesses 

Lastly, one thing you can do to help celebrate Special History Months in the workplace is to support minority-owned businesses in your community. Your company can encourage this by including a minority-owned business list in the newsletter or on the company intranet. You personally can make suggestions and personally buy in your community to improve the bottom line for minority-owned businesses. And remember, this can apply online as well. Instead of relying on Amazon to be quick and easy, maybe you set a goal to only order from minority-owned businesses for Special History Months.  

Specific DEI Training  

While these ideas will not immediately give every workplace an inclusive and diverse culture, it is an excellent way to start.  Another is to include Bigger Brains training in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Bigger Brains has two mini-courses that cover the topic – Blind Spots: Diversity and Ethics and Improving Diversity and Inclusion in Your Workplace

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