Around the Office, Around the World: Cultural Awareness in The Work Environment

Today is Cinco de Mayo, and while Americans everywhere will be celebrating with margaritas, pinatas, and colorful festivities, many of them won’t truly understand the reason for the holiday, or why it’s important.  Sadly, this is true for holidays of all cultures here in America.  We are a melting pot of peoples from around the world, yet few of us know much about histories and backgrounds outside of our own.  In the workplace, this is especially apparent.  Employees from all different parts of the globe (or who follow cultural practices from these areas) could be sitting in the cubicles outside your office door, yet many of them keep their holidays, celebrations, and background to themselves.

We believe that celebrating cultural diversity within the work environment is important for us all.  But, why is it so important, and how can you help foster awareness of it within your own office?

Cultural awareness is important in an office because it ties your employees together.  While you or I might not celebrate a particular holiday, having it marked on our calendar to remind us to mention it to coworkers who do participate can go a long way.  No different than wishing everyone who comes through your door a “Merry Christmas” in December, taking the time to remember other holidays from around the world is a great way to make your staff feel appreciated and included, and it shows that you take a personal interest in them and their heritage.  This is also important as it helps employees realize that they can appreciate not only their likenesses (their field of work and current career) but also their differences.

How can you foster this type of awareness in your office?  Being upfront and honest is a great way to start.  Ask your employees if they celebrate any particular holidays or dates, and ask them if they’d mind you adding them to a company calendar.  From Christmas, to individual birthdays, to Kwanza, having these marked on a master list for everyone to see means you aren’t forcing those who don’t wish to participate to play a part, but you are giving all the opportunity to join in making your office a diverse and welcoming space.  Have a close-knit staff with few employees?  Perhaps certain holidays would be worth celebrating as a group, or recognizing on a larger scale.  For larger businesses, the calendar alone might be enough. Regardless of exactly how you choose to go about it, being open with your employees is the best way to pave the path to celebrating the backgrounds of each individual member of your team.

We celebrate each individual applicant and employee we are privileged to work with here at PHR Staffing Solutions.  Since we provide employees of all kinds for businesses throughout the Polk County area here in Central Florida, we are sure we can find the perfect job for YOU.  Give us a call or apply for one of our current openings online to get started.

Happy Cinco de Mayo to all who celebrate!