Celebrating Culinary Diversity in the Workplace

Here’s a great idea for celebrating diversity in your workplace. Set aside a day dedicated to sharing your culinary roots. Invite everyone to make a special dish that represents their ethnicity. Anyone can participate. It’s fun, delicious, and you’d be surprised what you can learn about your co-workers.

Who knew that Ian in tech support was a Scotsman until he showed up with his prized scotch eggs, which practically flew off the plate. What about Cathy in accounting who set up a whole “Korean station” where she served Kimpap with Cucumber Kimchee. We had a pretty serious competition going for the best Irish Soda bread. All in all, we had food from 27 countries.

Here’s how we did it:

• We named it Ethnic Palooza and announced it on our workplace digital signage screens.
• We displayed posters in the hallway.
• We sent out reminders via email and text.
• We created signs for each dish displaying the name and the country flag.
• We shared our recipes.

And then we ate, and ate…a lot!

Companies everywhere are struggling with ways to improve employee engagement and to acknowledge (and celebrate) the growing diversity in their workforce. Too often, programs seem stilted and false. What I loved best about this event was:

• The idea came from an employee (who couldn’t wait for us to try her Portuguese shrimp croquettes).
• There was a great sense of pride and sharing of stories and recipes.
• It really passed the engagement test because even our auditors (who have been holed up in the conference room for weeks), got in on the action.

Try it at your company and tell us all about it.

PS Let me know if you want my recipe for Gingerbread with lemon curd.

Jude Carter
March 8, 2016

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