As our world has gotten smaller, our workplaces and public spaces have become phenomenally diverse. From country of origin to ethnicity to religion and more, the US in particular has become a home to people from all ends of the world to work together and build together. Naturally, all the diversity has to make an income somehow, so lots of manufacturing companies and office buildings find themselves teeming with workers of all backgrounds and skin tones. It’s important that managers and executives find ways not to ignore the diversity of their offices, but rather to embrace and honor it. Here are some easy tips.
Be Mindful of Dietary Restrictions
It’s not uncommon for bosses or management to cater lunch now and again to thank employees for their hard work or to mitigate the dread of long meetings. It’s important to be mindful of dietary restrictions, though, or else risk alienating people. In addition to watching out for allergies, various religions and cultures observe practices that prohibit certain food groups. Those who adhere to Islam, for example, can’t eat pork. Hindu people don’t eat beef. Jewish people usually refrain from eating shellfish as per a Kosher diet. While it may seem small, the employees in your office who observe religious dietary restrictions will feel included and taken into account by the higher-ups.
Honor Lots of Holidays
Even though most offices only close for federal holidays, a number of which are Christian holy days, you can still send company emails and hang decorations for holidays and holy days among a wide swath of religions. While you don’t have to go over the top or throw an office party for every single religious event, you can absolutely acknowledge the day and offer flexible PTO for those who want to spend time with their families in observation of the day.
Take Harassment Complaints Seriously
The same way that lots of offices are revamping their sexual harassment training in the wake of the #MeToo movement, make sure that all your managers and HR agents are fully equipped to take complaints of cultural insensitivity and outright disparagement seriously. Nothing can put a damper on the beautiful diversity of thought and experience in an office like complaints of a hostile work environment. In addition to ensuring that everyone in your office has attended diversity training, also set an early precedent that your office has no time for intolerance.
Be Careful Not to Tokenize
It’s easy to ask the one Puerto Rican person in your office every question you have pertaining to Hispanic Affairs, or to go to a Muslim person every time you’re curious about parts of their practice. While they may be happy to answer questions, remember: a person is more than their religion or nationality. Make sure that you also value what they bring to the workplace skill-wise, from the mastery of Excel Spreadsheets to their grade-A press releases.