Organizations offering diversity and inclusion training once or twice a year is a great start. Such training allows the staff to have greater understanding and appreciation of different cultures which ultimately reduces prejudice, discrimination and creates greater cultural harmony.
However, one of the main reasons why diversity training is not always successful is because it is not offered on a regular basis, perhaps due to limited budget or not taken seriously by the top management. Delivering half or all day sessions a few times year is not always effective when it comes to changing behavior.
Since diversity training is not a one time thing, but rather should be an on-going everyday practice. Otherwise, it is like going to the gym once in a while.
Another way organizations can implement diversity on a regular basis with very little cost is to put it on a monthly calendar.
Here are just a few ideas how organizations can use the calender to instill awareness and inclusion.
Monthly Themes: In any given month there are many diverse heritage themes that can be showcased throughout the year. LGBT Pride Month, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Indigenous – Native Month, Global Diversity Month, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, National Italian Heritage Month, etc.
Cultural Events: There are many events throughout the year such has the Chinese New Year, Año Nuevo (New Year’s Day), Vaisakhi (Punjabi harvest festival), Thanksgiving, Lori , Holi (Indian), Diwali (festival of lights), etc.
Religious Events: In the workplace a large percentage of the staff members belong to a certain faith. And a handful of religious holidays requires time off such as Christmas. But there are many other faiths that can be showcased such as Ramadan (Islam), Easter, Hanukkah, Gantan-Shi (Shinto), etc.
It is okay for one not to be religious, but having a basic understanding of another faith is not a bad idea. As the saying goes, the more you know the better you are off.
Famous Birthday: And then there are many famous people around the world who have made a positive impact such as Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Maya Angelou, etc.
Besides having diversity sessions throughout the year, this might be another way to keep diversity and cultural sensitivity at the forefront. These concepts offer great ideas to talk and discuss in the lunch room as well as around the water cooler.
To make these ideas to be even more effective, perhaps offer little background or simple tips and tools such as the do’s and don’ts when dealing with LGBT customers or staff.