Learn how to create a more inclusive workplace with DEI team building activities. Promote and celebrate diversity all year long with cultural heritage month celebrations and events for ERGs.
Workplace team building activities aren’t just designed to bring your team members together to bond with each other and have a good time. In fact, when planned thoughtfully, they can be a great opportunity to teach your staff something new about diversity, equity, and inclusion. As the workplace continues to evolve, it can be difficult for an organization’s DEI initiatives to keep up. Especially as more and more workplaces enter a fully remote or hybrid work model, the way that we are used to coming together to discuss and learn about diversity, equity, and inclusion has changed entirely. Luckily, DEI initiatives have modernized alongside the workplace and there are plenty of diversity and inclusion team building activities that you can host with your team to encourage a more inclusive workplace.
It’s no longer enough for a company to simply release a statement regarding its stance on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Now more than ever, consumers and employees alike are looking to support organizations and brands that uplift diverse communities and make the celebration of different cultures a staple in their everyday values across race, gender, or sexual orientation.Not only are diversity, equity, and inclusion key aspects to creating an innovative and welcoming workplace, they are staples in creating a high level of employee engagement.
As we have conversations with the growing and passionate community around DE&I, we see other values being advocated to join the acronym, including Justice, Belonging, and Accessibility.
DEI as a workplace initiative is the practice of creating a safe and welcoming work environment for employees from diverse cultures and backgrounds. This includes ensuring that all employees have the tools and resources that they need to perform to the best of their ability.
Undertaking DEI initiatives makes it the responsibility of the organization to educate their team members on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and provide all the tools and resources necessary to make their workplace a diverse and equitable place.This twofold approach to DEI is critical to creating a work environment where everyone is capable of doing their best work, feeling a sense of belonging, and ultimately being happy and healthy in their place of work. When it comes to diversity and inclusion activities for the workplace, there are a lot of options–from games to lunch and learns–that the entire team will want to get involved in.
From an individual perspective, promoting workplace diversity and an inclusive culture makes it easier for people to do their job to the best of their ability.
When people have access to all of the resources that they need to succeed and are working for an employer that cares about their individual well-being, they are more likely to stick around. Instead of seeking work elsewhere, they'll be eager to grow with a company that takes care of its employees.
DEI ensures that everyone is taken care of because it fosters an inclusive work environment that understands different backgrounds and doesn't ask people to hide who they are or where they've come from.
Individuals aside, promoting DEI in the workplace actually has a huge advantage for company culture and productivity as a whole. Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives have proven to create a more holistic, productive, and balanced workplace with more innovative output and even higher profit. When DEI initiatives are prioritized, an organization sees:
DEI provides the kind of year-over-year growth that companies are always seeking, and, on top of that, it’s a great resource to introduce to your teams. Essentially, when DEI is prioritized, everyone wins.
Creating a more inclusive workplace as a whole has to start from the top and trickle down. Like most of the best workplace initiatives, it is one that is best led by example from leadership and management. When leaders are willing to take inclusivity and equity seriously in the workplace, employees feel more inclined to follow.
An inclusive workplace is built over time, and the effort to be a more equitable and diverse workplace is not a “one and done” type of deal. Employers who are serious about creating and upholding an inclusive workplace should be working every single day to create and innovate their teams and organization for the better. Activities and initiatives can include:
Inclusivity in the workplace is an ongoing effort on the part of leadership and employees alike, and creating a safe space where everyone feels seen and heard is the best first step towards a more diverse workplace culture as a whole.
Your teams are the backbone of your organization, and having them work together seamlessly, without bias or prejudice, is one of the best ways to create a more productive and inclusive workplace. With remote teams and hybrid work becoming more and more common, it can be difficult to bring teams together for any type of activity, let alone one focused on diversity training and inclusion.
Instead of forcing your teams together outside of working hours, focus on building team building and team bonding into your company culture, and creating moments for inclusive teams to come together and bond over something besides work and productivity. When it comes to DEI, there is a wide range of activities and ideas that people can come together for–from diversity and inclusion games and trivia to interesting lectures on history and heritage.
A workplace that encourages open conversations and questions in a safe environment automatically becomes a more inclusive and diverse one. Because, when people have the opportunity to get to know and see each other better as human beings, they become stronger team members and coworkers overall.
One of the best ways to promote inclusion in the workplace is by encouraging team members to celebrate holidays and cultural heritage months. These months and holidays give employers a great opportunity to host DEI-centered activities and lectures and give everyone a richer understanding of the events and history behind these days.
Celebrating cultural heritage months and holidays is also a fantastic way to make an employee feel seen and celebrated in the workplace. So, whether you’re throwing a party or hosting a luncheon, here are some holidays and heritage months that you won’t want to miss this year:
Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the leading figures in the civil rights and racial justice movement. To this day, his non-violent approach and unforgettable activism serve as a touchstone for all racial justice and equal rights movements.
After his assassination in 1968, there was a large push for a federal holiday to be created in his name. Signed into law in 1983 and celebrated for the first time in 1986, MLK Day is a federal holiday that many schools and businesses give people the day off to celebrate.
Though a day off of work is much appreciated by everyone, your organization can encourage employees to celebrate the day and remember what it is about. Instead of spending the day catching up on the latest Netflix show, why not encourage team members to spend their time volunteering or taking action in their community?
On top of that, your organization can host events and lectures in the lead-up to MLK Day to help your staff understand and honor Dr. King's legacy.
Lunar New Year is a 15-day-long festival celebrated in China and other Asian countries, like South Korea and Vietnam. This celebration marks the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon of the lunar year.
Lunar New Year celebrations are deeply ingrained within Asian cultures and can include religious and family traditions such as making dumplings, giving gifts of red envelopes filled with money, and cleaning the home in order to remove any lingering bad luck or evil spirits.
To celebrate Lunar New Year, try a tea tasting class with your team, or have everyone exchange small gifts in lucky red envelopes. And, for a personal celebration, try finally doing that deep clean you’ve been putting off. 😉
Black History Month is a widely celebrated cultural heritage month, and a great opportunity for you and your team to learn a little bit more about Black history and the way that it has shaped our culture and country.
During Black History Month, take a little extra time with your team to celebrate and learn about Black culture. Whether that’s looking into famous Black art and examining its history, or hosting a virtual Black History Mixology Class during your next virtual happy hours. There’s a lot to be learned and celebrated during Black History Month.
Since 1987, March has been recognized as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. It was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan to shed light on those with developmental disabilities and promote encouragement and opportunities needed to live happy, productive lives to their full potential.
According to the CDC, developmental disabilities are conditions due to an impairment in learning, language, behavioral, or physical areas. Although many strides have been made for these groups in the decades since it was declared, there is still much work to be done to overcome the challenges this population faces.
This March, center the voices and experiences of those with developmental disabilities in your DEI programming through a book or movie club, or have the whole company attend a Sign Language Workshop.
Every March for the past 44 years, our country has celebrated Women’s History Month. This is a time to come together and learn about the impact that women have had on our country and our world at large. If you’re looking to celebrate the women in your office and in your life, there are many things that you can do.
For virtual diversity and inclusion activities, bring everyone together to learn about women artists who have impacted art history, or host a women’s history trivia party! Don’t forget to show the women in your office that you appreciate them with a lunch on the house or a thoughtful gift.
May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month! During this month, you have tons of great options for educating your staff and celebrating your Asian and Pacific Islander employees.
When it comes to inclusion activities, there are plenty of options! You can bring everyone together for a Thai cooking class to learn more about the history of a dish while cooking along at home. You can spotlight AAPI employees and their achievements in the workplace. You can even host a lunch and learn taught by an expert on a topic like Asian art or history. There are many ways, big and small, to celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander culture at work.
Mental Health Awareness Month is a huge month for employers to get involved and spotlight the well-being of their employees. Those with mental health have long faced stigma that prevents them from speaking up about their health issues, further ostracizing them from other people. And because a poor work/life balance and a non-inclusive working environment can be major contributors to an employee’s declining mental health, this is a great opportunity to emphasize just how important mental well-being is for everyone.
Team leaders can host lectures or lunch and learns about finding work-life balance, or bring their teams together for a virtual exercise class. Or, try giving your employees an extra mental health day during the month of May, and encouraging them to use that time off to get outside and away from their desk!
Jewish American Heritage Month is the annual celebration and recognition of American Jewish people, their achievements, and their contributions to the history of the United States of America. President George W. Bush first proclaimed this annual celebration in 2006, and it has been annually recognized by U.S. Presidents in the years since.
Organized by the National Museum of American Jewish History, the month of May has been used to empower communities everywhere to educate the diverse public about Jewish culture, and spark necessary dialogue about the American Jewish past, as well as the future.
This month, better acquaint your team with Jewish culture by listening to Jewish speakers, engaging in programming from Jewish museums and institutions, learning how to make latkes together, and more!
Pride Month is a time to celebrate members of your staff that are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Not just a time for members of the community to be loud and proud, Pride Month is a great opportunity for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, to celebrate and stand up for their peers.
One of the best ways to promote diversity in Pride Month is to showcase and embrace queer artists and leaders. This can be done through a playlist of queer artists, a movie club for queer cinema, making a donation to an LGBTQIA+ organization, or supporting a professional drag artist in LGBTQIA+ Drag Queen Trivia!
Juneteenth is a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. While for hundreds of years it was a holiday that was just recognized and celebrated in the Black community, since becoming a federal holiday in 2021 Juneteenth has become a day that is celebrated nationwide.
Since the holiday was only recently nationally recognized, some employees may not understand the meaning behind the day. Although there are plenty of inclusion activities that celebrate Juneteenth, we recommend a class that helps folks understand Juneteenth to get everyone on the same page.
Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month signifies the day that Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua gained independence and has blossomed into a multi-national celebration of Hispanic and Latinx history and achievement.
The best way to celebrate Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month is by recognizing the diverse backgrounds of your Hispanic and Latinx employees! You can do this with engaging, unique inclusion activities, like an art history tour or a Hispanic & Latinx-themed trivia game!
Global Diversity Awareness Month is a month that celebrates and places emphasis on just how much better we are as a culture when we prioritize diversity and inclusion.
Everything that we’ve listed in this article are great diversity and inclusion activities for Global Diversity Awareness Month. Overall, this month is the perfect time to double down on your inclusion efforts.
Thanksgiving is a commercial holiday that often overshadows Native American Heritage Month. This year, instead of focusing solely on Turkey Day, celebrate the entire month by uplifting and amplifying Native American voices.
A great way to celebrate Native American Heritage Month is to discover and acknowledge what land your office is operated on. You can also introduce a Native American work to your book club, or host a luncheon to learn more about Native American art.
Holiday or not, it’s important to celebrate and encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion within your workplace every single day of the year. Though you might not have the budget or the time to throw a party every week, there are tons of ways that you, as a leader in your organization, can celebrate diversity all year round.
Remote workplaces can still have employee resource groups and encourage those groups to get together regularly for virtual events such as game nights, cultural classes, and luncheons. Making space for employer-sponsored ERG virtual events within the workday shows your employees that you are there as a resource to help them embrace their differences and uplift one another.
Outside of AAPI Heritage Month, your organization can still celebrate AAPI history and culture and amplify AAPI voices. It’s never a bad time to host a lunch and learn about AAPI art history or host a virtual cooking class to learn how to make delicious dumplings.
Black History is another important topic that doesn’t have to be reserved for Black History Month. You and your staff can learn about and embrace Black history and culture year-round by learning about Black artists, amplifying Black voices within your organization, and regularly donating to Black-led organizations and supporting Black-owned businesses.
You don’t need a special occasion to celebrate Hispanic and Latinx culture and history, either! Help your employees feel valued by championing their background year-round. You can celebrate Latinx and Hispanic history and heritage through inclusive language courses, cooking classes, and so much more.
LGBTQIA+ culture is so deeply ingrained in our culture as a whole–from the music that we listen to, to the memes that we share with our friends. So, why would we restrict learning about and celebrating queer culture to just one month out of the year?
When the rainbow flags and pride merch get packed away for the year, don’t forget to continue celebrating and uplifting queer culture in your organization through learning about queer art, allyship, and more.
Chances are, women are some of the star players on your team. But did you know that women have some of the highest rates of burnout among all employees? When the month of March is over, don’t forget about the impact and emotional well-being of the women in your life. You can continue celebrating the women in your workplace by prioritizing everyone’s mental health and offering educational resources about women’s history.
Encourage employees with similar backgrounds to create new Employee Resource Groups. These are employee-led groups that allow team members to support each other and encourage growth. ERGs are a great asset for your workplace because they foster innovation and inclusivity, and help promote cultural awareness within your organization.
There’s no better way to make sure everyone feels a part of the team than by honoring the various backgrounds and cultures of your colleagues. Incorporating diversity and inclusion activities is a great way to celebrate what makes us different, and have some team building fun in the process!
Do you observe a holiday that we don’t have listed? Let us know how you celebrate at [email protected]!
DEI stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and is the practice of creating a safe and welcoming work environment for employees from diverse cultures and backgrounds. This includes ensuring that all employees have access to the support and resources that they need to succeed in the workplace, and celebrating different cultures and backgrounds in your organization.
A DEI statement is a statement of commitment towards diversity, equity, and inclusion that is made by an organization or workplace. This statement is designed to show the public and the organization’s employees the ways in which the organization is committed to making its workplace a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive space.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important in the workplace because everyone deserves to work in a place where they feel safe and taken care of. Moreover, a focus on DEI in the workplace creates a more productive, innovative, and empathetic organization as a whole.
Celebrating diversity in the workplace can look like hosting a cultural class, throwing a party, uplifting the voices of people of color, or learning a little bit more about different cultures. There are many big and small ways that organizations can celebrate and teach diversity and inclusion.
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace should be promoted from the top down. When leadership is committed to celebrating and promoting diversity and inclusion, these efforts trickle down to every single employee and become a standard practice in the workplace.