Using A Potluck To Celebrate Cultural Diversity
We talk about culture and diversity a lot — there’s a reason for that. At the heart of a thriving organization is a dedicated team full of diverse individuals using their skills and experiences to further their organization’s purpose. Without the harmony that comes from accepting diversity, organizations miss out on both business and personal development opportunities. While we are all very different as individuals, everyone has to eat! A potluck is a perfect way to marry those two facts and celebrate cultural diversity in the workplace along the way.
Pick a theme
Culture is shaped through exposure, as well as heritage. For example, a California native might grow up eating Latin cuisine without actually being Latin. Or, an individual might have an affinity for the culture of their significant other. Either way, it means that there are many components that shape our identity . Choose a theme that allows people to share their individual cultural experiences. Whether you’re asking people to bring dishes from their original or adoptive culture, food acts as a catalyst to talk about the bigger picture – celebrating diversity and unifying your team.
Once you have a theme, the next step is divvying up tasks. Make a chart of all the categories needed and the number of items under each category (3 vegetable sides, 2 desserts, etc.), and allow team members to sign up with their contribution. You’ll probably have some stragglers that are late to sign up for food, so you can assign them items after taking a look at the current menu. This will give people the flexibility to bring any special items they want, while preventing you from ended up with 8 bags of tortilla chips and no salsa.
Jazz it up
No potluck is complete without music and a few decorations here and there. Since this is about celebrating cultural diversity, or diversity in general, you can ask employees to contribute here as well. One idea is to create a shared Spotify playlist, and employees can drop songs in there that represent something about their identity or interests.
Sharing is caring
One of the biggest challenges in the workplace is that many strive for authenticity but aren’t sure how to make that happen. Perhaps it’s the perception of what the workplace “should” look like rather than what it is or needs to be, but at the end of the day authenticity comes from your people. Leaders should start by transmitting transparency, so that others are encouraged to do the same. During the potluck, leaders can share a personal anecdote from their own history and culture. You’d be surprised how many can relate to certain experiences. When leaders share, it humanizes them and trickles down so that employees feel comfortable sharing as well.
Celebrating your team’s cultural diversity through food
Connecting and learning with others is an essential part of creating an authentic and thriving organization. Understanding cultural diversity is a part of that equation. Hosting a company potluck is more than just providing food and a good time, it’s about giving people an opportunity to share and connect.