While heritage months are a great opportunity to open up a dialogue of inclusion, organizations need to take care to do so authentically and in a way that promotes sustainable change.
Here are some tips:
1 – Celebrate the Month–But Consider Ways to Promote Inclusion Year Round
To truly promote a feeling of belonging, whatever happens during a heritage month as organizations seek to highlight employees should be more than superficial. Think of ways to integrate efforts into the structure and culture of your organization, rather than reverting to the status quo once the month is over.
2 – Avoid Stereotyping
While everyone loves tacos, a company-sponsored Taco Tuesday during Hispanic Heritage Month can be a source of eye-rolling in the Hispanic community. Highlighting the unique cultures of marginalized groups during a heritage month is a great way to make employees feel seen and included but be careful to avoid stereotypes and cliches. Instead, seek to highlight the wide variety of experiences present in every community and in your employees.
3 – Listen to Employees and Ensure Transparency
Before you make plans, ask employees in the community what they would like to happen. What changes would they like to see? How do diverse populations at your organization want to be referred to? What are some things that the organization can do that would help them feel more at home? Listen to their answers and implement them, then use each heritage month to reopen the conversation. This honest and authentic discourse will show transparency, a willingness to correct mistakes and a mindset that is always open for improvement.