Celebrating Ourselves – and Our Differences – at Work
Companies of all sizes are taking steps to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace –through hiring and retention initiatives, as well as events that celebrate cultures and encourage discussions. Facilitating these events and discussions can be challenging in these divisive times, as viewpoints collide and cultural barriers can lead to miscommunication.
Even a small group like ours at Blanc & Otus has to be creative as we work to foster a genuine community within our workplace. Our objective is to shine a spotlight on our cultural, philosophical and political similarities and differences to facilitate real discussions and gain a broader awareness around different topics – from Women in the Workplace to Black History Month and most recently, Memorial Day.
Our larger goal is to keep these conversations going every day, even through the smallest activity. We set realistic and achievable goals to ensure that we’re promoting and celebrating diversity on an ongoing basis.
In celebration of Black History Month, for example, our office gathered for lunch and a viewing of a TED Talk by Mellody Hobson focused on race and the importance of being “color brave.” The TED Talk encouraged some of our own team members to share their experiences with racial biases growing up.
For Memorial Day, we took a two-part approach to honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. We started off with a series of weekly emails that provided our colleagues with Fast Facts about the holiday – including several staggering statistics of those who died at war, a timeline of how Memorial Day came to be, and an overview of The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier monument. A few days before the long weekend, we gathered for a lunch to discuss the true meaning of Memorial Day and share personal stories about our own commitments to those who have served.
We’re a small team but we’re working hard to develop and facilitate awareness campaigns for our teams – whether LGBTQ Pride, Independence Day, Hispanic Heritage Month and other upcoming opportunities to celebrate the similarities and differences of our backgrounds, experiences and cultures