Find out how to create a meaningful experience that recognizes your Hispanic employees.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is a great way for organizations to commemorate, learn from, and stand in unity with their Hispanic employees. The celebration runs from September 15 to October 15, giving tribute to Hispanic culture and the contributions of people whose ancestors hailed from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
Hispanic Heritage Month offers a chance to reflect on the profound influence of Hispanic culture on our society. From arts and sciences to politics and business, people of Hispanic descent have left an indelible mark on our nation, shaping its evolution and values. Let this month serve as not just a recognition, but a celebration of the rich tapestry of Hispanic cultures.
National Hispanic Heritage Month has roots dating back to 1968, first, as a week-long celebration that was later expanded to a full month in 1988. The start date is on or near the Independence Days of several Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile.
Hispanic Heritage Month is a recognition of the approximately 60 million Hispanic and Latino Americans living in the United States, nearly a fifth of the nation’s population and rising. As the Hispanic community becomes an increasingly prominent demographic, it’s more important than ever to recognize their contributions. It’s a time to celebrate the plurality of experiences and backgrounds that make up the Hispanic community and showcase the importance of diversity and inclusion within our society and at work.
Creating an inclusive workplace involves recognizing and celebrating the different cultures that make up your team. Engaging in Hispanic Heritage Month activities serves multiple purposes: it boosts employee morale, fosters a sense of belonging for Hispanic employees, and encourages a more diverse and dynamic work environment. Here are some ideas on ways you can participate in Hispanic Heritage Month in the workplace.
There’s no better way to start than by supporting local Hispanic-owned businesses. Whether it’s catering lunch from a local taqueria or buying office supplies from a Hispanic-owned shop, this effort goes way beyond symbolism – it tangibly demonstrates that your company walks the walk by including not just diverse staff, but vendors, too.
Immerse your team in Hispanic culture by inviting speakers to a “Lunch and Learn” session. These individuals could be successful entrepreneurs, leaders, artists, or even colleagues who want to share their experiences, stories, or expertise. This provides an invaluable platform for open dialogues about Hispanic culture, the challenges faced by the Hispanic community, and their successes. Don’t forget to fairly compensate speakers for their time and effort!
If your company has many employees working remotely, throwing a virtual fiesta can bring a festive vibe into your employees’ homes. Create a playlist brimming with Latin American music to set the mood. Include genres like Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, and Reggaeton to demonstrate the diversity within the Hispanic music scene. With options like Ricky Martin, Bad Bunny, Rosalía, and Prince Royce, it’s hard to make a playlist that won’t start the party!
Food is a powerful expression of culture, and hosting an in-person or virtual cooking class could introduce your employees to Hispanic cuisine. Collaborate with a local Hispanic chef or a cooking enthusiast within your team who can guide your employees through preparing a traditional dish. This hands-on experience can create lasting memories and connections, as well as a newfound appreciation for Hispanic culinary traditions.
Throwing a trivia party is a great way to learn about Hispanic culture. Start by researching interesting facts about Hispanic history, arts, cuisine, music, and notable figures. During the party, divide your team into groups to foster healthy competition. You might even offer small prizes for the winners to up the excitement (if the prizes are related to Hispanic culture, even better!). Create an immersive experience, by accompanying your trivia party with snacks or music popular with the Hispanic community. Here are some sample questions you can use:
A book club focused on Hispanic Heritage Month is another way to delve deeper into Hispanic culture, history, and experiences. Select a book written by a Hispanic author. Titles could range from the magical realism of Gabriel García Márquez to the poignant memoirs of Sandra Cisneros. Announce the selected book in advance, giving employees ample time to read. You can also use points from the book you’ve selected as trivia questions if you choose to host a trivia party! Organize meetings to discuss the reading, facilitating open-ended questions to spur meaningful dialogue. Encourage participants to share what they’ve learned about Hispanic culture from the reading.
As important as recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month is, the spirit of inclusivity and recognition should persist year-round. Use the activities of the month to confront unconscious bias and grow an appreciation for their colleagues. The benefits extend far beyond the month—by enriching your work environment, boosting creativity, and strengthening bonds among team members.
By creating a space that celebrates diversity, we ensure that every individual’s story, experience, and contribution is recognized and respected. And remember, every positive experience, every step towards inclusivity, and every celebration of diversity reflects your dedication and commitment to your employees.
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