Cultural diversity events in a workplace are more critical than ever. The global pandemic has made fostering an inclusive company culture even more valuable. Organisation recognised that the pandemic has given a profound impact on employee’s well being and increases the risk of workplace burnout. For that reason, a commitment to cultural diversity is needed to bring greater sense of inclusion, acceptance and well-being for employees. As usual, what’s good for your people is good for your organisation and business too.
Diversity and inclusion expert Verna Myers, founder and president of Verna Myers Consulting Group and star of a TED Talk on overcoming bias, said it’s not enough to want diversity; organisations need to welcome and embrace diverse perspectives. Myers emphasised that promoting diversity and inclusion needs to go beyond words.
“Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”Verna Myers
Today, many corporations around the world have turned their lens towards employee inclusive cultural diversity events to embrace differences of all kinds. Modern organisations acknowledge that to keep moving forward in their industry, they need a workforce that represents the society in which it exists. The key success of a more diverse workforce is the experience that creates a sense of belonging for all employees. There’s no one-size-fits-all method to build diverse and inclusive teams. That’s why team leaders must see workplace diversity and inclusion as long term projects, ones that will need constant nurturing and dedication.
As many companies have been rapidly adapting to remote work, team leaders may have to work harder to create an inclusive workforce and ensure that all employees have the equal opportunity. Going virtual has the power to create more productivity if it’s managed effectively upon a winning remote team culture.
Michelle Kim, the CEO of Awaken who is passionately nurturing a diverse and inclusive workforce within organizations, offers three essential tips for leaders to build inclusive workspaces:
- See people not just workers. If leaders have this kind of perspective, employees will feel valued for who they are. Examples of behaviour: ask questions, show interest, and show support for people’s personal identities and what’s important to them.
- Lead through tension. Whether it touches on race, gender, religion, sexuality, or other identity-based issues, it’s important for managers and HR leaders to check in with their teams, make a formal company statement, and create a safe space to hold discussions or ask for support.
- Model inclusive behaviour for the teams by listening to and amplifying underrepresented voices, delegate work thoughtfully and equitably, give everyone the chance to shine.
Sharing Culture Through Art, Music, Movies and Live Virtual Travel
When Art Bridges Culture
Art is a reflection of culture and can be a guiding bridge from one culture to another. For centuries, art has been a form of communication to share aspects of culture and history. Through art, people are invited to explore the diverse background of others. Luckily, museums around the world have opened its door for virtual tour experiences. Many of the virtual tours programs cover exhibit walk-throughs and the ability to examine some of the world’s best paintings, and other pieces up close and personal. The museum virtual tours are organised with enough details to escalate your experience.
Tip: For your awesome cultural diversity events, schedule a company visit to a virtual tour museum dedicated to a specific culture and invite team members to learn more about other cultures through the lens of fine and contemporary art.
When Movie Shapes Cultures
Not only reflect the beliefs, values and anxieties of the cultures that produce them, movies also help to shape and solidify a culture’s beliefs. Nearly a century ago, the director of The Birth of Nation, D.W Griffith recognised that movies have enormous power as a means to influence public opinion. Ever since The Birth of a Nation provoked strong public reactions in 1915, filmmakers have been producing movies that address social issues both in a subtle or direct way.
In recent times, movies like The Kite Runner (2007), a story that portrays ethnical discrimination in Afghanistan, have raised social awareness about world events. There are also a number of documentary films directed at social issues have had a strong influence on cultural attitudes and have brought about significant change.
Movies are helpful for employees to develop empathy and expand their understanding of diversity issues in the workplace. Here is a breakdown of the current and critical diversity topics and the movies that can help you gain a deeper understanding of people who are dealing with the challenges they pose on the job.
- Racism: The Help, 12 Years a Slave, Just Mercy , Hidden Figures, BlacKkKlansman
- Sexism: Hidden Figures, On the Basis of Sex, North Country, He Named Me Malala
- Homophobia: Milk, The Imitation Game, Dallas Buyers Club, Transamerica
- Ageism: The Internship, The Intern, In Good Company
Tip: Broaden perspective on diversity through a shared screen, where employees can choose from a list of multicultural movies or ask employees to share a favourite film of theirs that represents their culture or heritage. Open a light movie discussion after hosting a virtual watch party so each team member can share their thoughts or feelings about the movies and learn from other’s perspectives.
When Music Bring Us Together
Every moment we celebrate in our lives is tied to music. There is something powerful about music and how they shape our cultural identity while creating solidarity across decades, age groups and countries. Typically, people tend to be vocal about their musical preference. In today’s digital age, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, GoFundMe, Bandcamp and Instagram have connected the communication gap to make fans feel closer to the artist they love. The constant sense of connections has given birth to a small social phenomenon known as “standom”. For example, a Beyhive member (Beyonce stan) in the USA could find their soulmate in the form of another Beyhive member in Singapore. This shared love for their musical icon could bring more respect than any other beliefs they may have. There are few things that we share around the world, across cultures and religions, but music is a wonderful commonality that we all love, appreciate and bond over.
Tip: Encourage your employees to share some of their favorite music and songs from their culture for your cultural diversity event. Everyone can enjoy a good tune regardless if you understand the lyrics or not. Arranging a virtual music performance with a multicultural or diverse focus will be a priceless treat for employees.
Witnessing Different Cultures through Live Virtual Travel
One of the benefits of travel is the opportunity to witness different cultures and have new experiences. By immersing yourself in new cultures, you have the chance to learn new skills and learn more about yourself.
Thanks to the miracles of the internet, we can still tour this big beautiful world and immerse ourselves in new culture from our home. The worldwide travel ban has inspired a host of new virtual travel experiences that could be around for the long-haul. Virtual travel can take your remote team pretty much anywhere, from explore the chaos of Rio de Janeiro , ‘Game of Thrones’ kingdom tour in Croatia to unicorn hunting in Silicon Valley . Live Virtual Travel will be a fresh, fun and entertaining way to enhance a diverse and inclusive remote team culture. Witnessing and becoming immersed in different cultures, learning about the challenge and creativity of the local people, and (most important) experiencing the new culture together as a team.
Tip: Choose Live Virtual Travel packages that cover some aspects of cultural diversity and relate to your team’s current interests. Make it an even more unique experience by pairing virtual travel and trivia with your very own drinks, food and souvenirs inspired by your destination.
Diverse and inclusive workspaces inspire creativity and innovation. It empowers employees to do the best work of their lives. Team leaders must embrace diverse perspectives and implement diversity and inclusion activities to strengthen the sense of belonging for all employees. The above activities can broaden employee’s understanding towards cultural diversity and liven up their working at home experience.
If you have any ideas about activities that can spark diversity and inclusion in the workplace, let us know in the comment section.