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  • Writer's pictureAwatif Yahya

Delivering Impactful Recognitions

March is full of anniversaries and celebrations. The month kicks off with Anti-Discrimination Day, followed by International Women’s Day, Women’s Equal Pay Day, Gender Equality and International Mother’s Day (today, March 21st). March is also a religious month for Muslims observing Ramadan, Christians practicing lent and the Irish community commiserating St. Patrick, a patron saint of Ireland.

Many organizations make celebratory announcements to mark these anniversaries. Some offer custom specialties and discounts. Though these efforts are appreciated, combining the celebrations with educational efforts aimed at strengthening team dynamics would be so much better. A team activity highlighting the importance of equality, for instance, is more meaningful than wishing someone a happy women’s day, happy fasting or happy St. Patrick’s Day!

This blog offers ideas for activities that might work well for your organization. Success depends on how the business is set up and the organization’s culture. Feel free to adopt what would work for your organization; experiment and seek feedback from employees.

Quizzes are great for knowledge transfer. A bingo-style game can get people excited while learning different aspects of their colleagues’ backgrounds. Make quizzes fun by offering little gifts to winners.

A day in my shoes is a game of empathy and connection. The game can be played between two individuals, a team or an entire department whereby employees opt to be in someone else’s shoes. It could be sharing a colleague’s workload, or a joint activity such as a periodic fast or giving up a desired food to support colleagues observing lent and Ramadan.

Encourage employees to show ‘acts of appreciation’ towards their colleagues. They can choose to get something nice for their team members (e.g. buy them coffee, donuts, flowers …etc.) or treat them for lunch. Set the theme to match the anniversary but give employees leeway to be creative in their acts of appreciation.

A cultural challenge to raise awareness is another activity that could be fun and educational. Learning a specific language, reciting common phrases or cooking an authentic meal are few examples. Organizing a cultural day where employees can come dressed in their national clothing and talk about their customs can work wonders in bridging the gap and brining people closer together.

Supporting a relevant business or community, such as opting to buy from a minority business, is a way to encourage equity. Organizing a team meal in a women-owned restaurant, awarding a contract to a recognized minority vendor or volunteering for a specific charity are good examples of community support.

There are endless ways an organization can demonstrate recognition. This blog offers a sample of actions that can leave a lasting impact. It is extremely important to explain the reasoning for any action an organization chooses to implement.

Activities suggested here must be executed with care to make sure they are well received. Some might work, others might flop. Take note of the outcome, continue to experiment and enhance activities that worked. Needless to say, involving communities celebrated by the relevant anniversaries is paramount to the success of the activity.

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