Over the last few weeks, Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, Tongan Language Week, and Cook Islands Language Week have all been celebrated here in New Zealand. With several other Pacific language celebration weeks still on the way, September represents a unique opportunity to celebrate diversity in your organisation . Celebrating cultural diversity and building inclusivity builds a team that values diversity of thought and approaches, and makes effort to signal that everyone is welcomed.
Workplaces in Aotearoa are increasingly diverse and there are dozens of opportunities every year to celebrate diversity in an accessible way. Events like Tongan Language Week, Te Wiki o te Reo Māori and Diwali are perfect times to spark conversations about others’ cultures, and bring your team closer together through this shared connection.
Embracing cultural diversity can include small actions and ideas, including learning a few new words in another language, opening a meeting with a different culture’s greeting, or arranging a shared lunch to connect over traditional or typical food from staff members’ countries. Creating a culturally diverse holiday calendar so that staff are aware of significant holidays and celebrations of the cultures in their workplace provides an opportunity to build connection and understanding. AUT has ideas for a New Zealand diverse cultural calendar here, including holidays from Ramadan to Lunar New Year, which can be found here.
Events and calendars create opportunities for internal communications – whether you’re issuing a regular staff newsletter, or posting items on the noticeboard or the intranet it makes your organisation’s acknowledgement and celebration of diversity visible and valued.
If you’re not sure where to begin, ask your teams and take a steer from them on how they would like to start celebrating cultural diversity in your workplace.
Celebrating diversity creates confidence
Fundamentally, celebrating diversity is about making all people feel confident and valued.
By talking to someone in their own language, albeit for a few words, it sends the message that they’re welcome. Their ideas matter, and they are valued. The knock on effect of this is people feel more comfortable, think more creatively, and bring more of their ideas confidently to the table.
When there’s respect, relationship and inclusion, you get the best out of your people and build your organisation’s culture of diversity at the same time.
This September, why not take the time to begin engaging with your organisation’s diversity? Something as simple as learning a few words in the language of some of your team members could be the catalyst for a more engaged, productive and valued workplace.