How to Hold a Diversity Day at Work

by Culture & Society Editor

In November 2001, UNESCO announced that May 21 was World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. It's a perfect opportunity to educate your staff about other cultures. Include this day in your strategic plan for expanding diversity in the workplace. Suspend work and set up fun activities that honor different cultures.

Choose a venue for your diversity day events. The familiar work environment transformed by decorations is cheaper and more comfortable; but it should be large enough to host all of your activities.

Hire scholars and experts on different cultures to give brief talks about different practices, history and beliefs. Make them focused and full of visuals so the topics are memorable for your employees.

Offer quality cuisine on diversity day. Good food is one of the most pleasant ways to let people experience another culture. Hire reputable caterers and offer a variety of foods to suit everyone's tastes.

Display art by local artists from different cultural backgrounds at your event. Ask the artists to give a talk on the inspiration and meaning behind the work.

Find storytellers who specialize in the folktales of specific cultures. Stories create a link between cultural practices and human nature. Schedule the storytelling after the afternoon meal when people don't have much energy and are more receptive to listening.

Look into craftspeople who specialize in different cultures. Get them to offer your workers lessons in making a simple object and explain the meaning behind it. Actually making it with their own hands helps them appreciate it better.

Set up games and contests to teach your employees about different cultures. Give your workers a chance to come away with a gift from diversity day that will help make it memorable.

Tips

  • Ask your non-caucasian employees if they'd like to give a short talk or tell folktales from their culture on diversity day before you bring in professionals.
  • Team up with nonprofit organizations that promote education of other cultures to introduce your staff to their work.

Warning

  • Don't force employees to attend the events, but make the day so memorable that they feel left out if they didn't.

Photo Credits

  • Office-manager behind the workplace k image by Mykola Velychko from Fotolia.com