With June being Pride and the month of Juneteenth, many teams are taking this opportunity to show support and celebrate the diverse communities in their organization.
Supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are year-long efforts, and June has become a month for workplace leaders to reinforce and revisit DEI initiatives in their company culture with fun activities, celebrations, and volunteering.
Not only does supporting diversity foster deeper connections, but diverse teams bring more innovation and can positively affect profits up 36% above their industry means.
More importantly, supporting a diverse workforce means committing to real change in policy and practice. It means advocating for employees of different backgrounds, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and cultures across all levels.
Read on for DEI activity ideas and events to keep your employees engaged and growing together.
Where to start with your DEI programming?
How you approach your DEI initiatives with your team members depends on your goals for DEI.
For many, that starts with education and discussion, but more importantly, the heart of DEI is creating a space for the different perspectives that make up your organization. And DEI is an employee experience that should start and come from your employees. Utilize tools like Cooleaf's pulse survey to take sentiment with an Employee Inclusion Survey or a Leadership Bias Survey to get a foundation of where you're starting.
Many companies created equality employee resource groups (ERGs) this past year to introduce routine inclusive programming and to help review unconscious bias in established policies or opportunities.
Collaborating with ERGs is a great way to empower employees and develop your team's DEI goals or mission statement to build a more inclusive culture while building employee engagement.
Below are a few activities to get you started with education, discussion, and celebration. As you continue to develop your DEI programs, continue to check in with your groups or employees to review and evolve policies and plans for the future.
Programming Idea - Maintain a DEI Calendar
Work with your ERGs or employees to create a DEI calendar that includes cultural, religious, and secular events and holidays. Plan ahead and collaborate on ideas like viewing parties for movies or documentaries on historical events or welcome a speaker to walk through key topics.
Your DEI calendar can evolve as the year progresses and is a way for your team to explore new ways to learn and commit to real change.
Activity Idea - Building Belonging
Working together to create a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environment centers on a theme we can all relate to: the desire and need to belong.
In this activity, open a discussion for employees to share a time when they felt out of place and a time when they felt welcomed by a group or individual. Ask what made all the difference for them? Simple acts of leading with compassion like recognizing a teammate for their hardwork or confirming someone's pronouns speaks volumes for anyone.
On Cooleaf, remote and in-office teams can use the platform to type out their ideas and are encouraged to respond to someone who shared their initial thoughts. Collecting these stories are a way to help employees learn from one another and empathize for each other in the future.
Event Idea - Book Club
Bookclubs are a fun way to engage the readers in your team. Host a recurring book club that supports Black, AAPI, or LGBTQ+ fiction or nonfiction writers brings your team together and opens discussion for more diverse perspectives.
Organizations on Cooleaf took it a step further and created a DEI reading list for the year where employees could sign up and read on their own time and added their thoughts to event pages as the year went on. You can also host monthly meet-ups over Zoom for hybrid or remote teams or at work.
Activity Idea - The Power of Allyship
Supporting workplace diversity can start with understanding allyship. Allyship encourages everyone to self reflect on their own background, and helps individuals not part of a minority group take action and commit to change.
For this activity, find resources, talks, or contact a speaker to share foundational knowledge on how to foster allyship to create an inclusive environment. The goal with allyship is to help individuals understand privilege, to move past performative signs of support, and to listen and commit to action.
Create a safe space for everyone to open up and learn about allyship and foster discussion with questions on how individuals understand allyship and work together to answer how can someone be a better ally.
Event Idea - Dishes, Diversity & Discussion
Food's a gateway for people to come together while opening discussion and diving into the fascinating history around many of our favorite flavors.
You can host a potluck for employees to share family or cultural recipes along with their stories, or plan out visits to different restaurants that focus on diverse cuisines throughout the year. Organizations on Cooleaf even hosted a Soul Food recipe swap in honor of Black History month and a dumpling making course for the Lunar New Year.
Many of the dishes we know, love, and associate with certain holidays often have deeper cultural meaning or historical ties you can explore together as a team.
Programming Idea - Volunteer Days
Creating an inclusive workplace doesn't stop at the office or Slack channel. Committing to positive change means encouraging your workplace community to make a social impact with your CSR strategy.
While many companies made June 19th, also known as Juneteenth, a paid day off for employees, other organizations are having a "day on" with a volunteer day. Their teams are partnering with organizations that help and strive for change for BIPOC voices.
You can review your CSR strategy or social impact partners with your ERGs and plan out various volunteer or fundraising events throughout the year.
Your DEI Strategy Is Ongoing
Celebrating LGBTQ+ for Pride through parades or uplifting Black voices for Juneteenth is just one aspect of committing to DEI for your organization. Diversity training, reviewing policies for inclusive language and actions, and creating a sense of belonging for each individual are more ways to commit to change for your team.