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Submitted by DEI Taskforce Member Joe Martin, from Westconsin Credit Union

Let’s face it, April is one of those months that seems like anything can happen with the weather. Possibly 65F and sunny? Yes! How about 16F with a side of blizzard? Also, yes. How about a rocking thunderstorm? Why not! April is full of hope and excitement. We have holidays to look forward to with family and that springtime feeling is just about to blossom. With everything that April brings us from the sunny, bright, warm days, to the cold, snowy, and blustery, it seems fitting that it’s the month to celebrate all that our world has to offer. Maybe that’s why April was chosen to be designated “Celebrate Diversity Month!”

“Celebrate Diversity Month came to be in 2004 following a campaign led by two American diversity consulting firms, ProGroup Inc. and Diversity Best Practices. The goal of the celebrations is to address the growing multiculturalism taking place in global societies as a way to further understand and handle it sensibly. It highlights the urgency of understanding other cultures to ensure a better world.”

Recognizing diversity during this month is critical to our constant changing and developing world around us. As our community grows, so do the opportunities to experience different people and their backgrounds. We have recently seen massive changes, especially with the upgrades to downtown Eau Claire, expansion of River Prairie in Altoona, and explosion of housing throughout the whole county. We are inviting many more people to join the Chippewa Valley community through the increase of housing, jobs, and recreation.

Why is this important?

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a growing topic, especially in the workplace. Many organizations have seen some major changes in their workforce; including hardships with recruiting.

“The shortage is so bad that it’s creating operational risks and even limiting service in many hospitality businesses.”

There are so many reasons that play into the WHY of our labor shortage from the pandemic to organizational culture. Applicants may not understand everything that goes into an organization’s culture, but they are exposed to it any time they come in contact with a representative during their application and interview process. The culture of the organization has an effect on the hiring and retention process. And with our growing population in Eau Claire, the hiring and retention should be easier, right? No. With a growing population comes more competition with other businesses. The businesses that see the least amount in turnover are the ones that embrace the importance of a strong organizational culture.

The strongest organizational cultures are those that actively promote employee engagement; which is no easy task! What do these employers do to foster employee engagement? Some start with the simple things like offering free coffee or tea in the break room. They may even offer competitive benefits, and generous salaries. Of course, a great wage is a wonderful place to start, but unfortunately, it isn’t the only factor that keeps people. A skilled employee who isn’t happy at work will always find a matching or better wage somewhere else. Not that paying employees a good wage isn’t critical, it just isn’t the only thing. A workplace that embraces what it means to be a diverse, equitable, and inclusive place will have all the fundamental parts to create a healthy, welcoming organizational culture. Embracing and supporting a strong Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive program is a cornerstone to a strong organizational culture.

What are some organizations doing to foster a healthy organizational culture with DEI?

Many organizations understand the importance of DEI and take it to heart. Check out what these organizations are already doing to embrace and celebrate DEI!

What are some simple and effective ways you can Celebrate Diversity?

  1. Hang a world map in your main office/hallway and have each staff member pinpoint their birthplace.
  2. Organize an intercultural potluck and invite everyone to write a short description of the food they contributed so that others can learn about the dish and the culture.
  3. Develop a cultural celebration calendar
  4. Create internal traditions that highlight different cultures
  5. Play international music in the office.
  6. Engage in learning opportunities.

Check out all that April has to celebrate!

April: Celebrate Diversity Month

  • 2nd – World Autism Awareness Day
  • 2nd – Palm Sunday (Christian)
  • 5th – Passover/Pesach (April 5 to April 13)
  • 6th – Maundy/Holy Thursday (Christian)
  • 6th – Theravada New Year (Buddhist)
  • 7th – Good Friday (Christian)
  • 7th – Day to Remember Rwanda Genocide Victims
  • 9th – Easter Sunday (Christian)
  • 14th – Day of Silence (Students take a day-long vow of silence to protest the actual silencing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and their straight allies due to bias and harassment)
  • 14th – Orthodox Good Friday
  • 14th – Vaisakhi (Sikh)
  • 17th – Yom Hashoah (Jewish) (Sunset April 17 to Sunset April 18)
  • 17th – Laila Al-Qadr (Islamic) (Sunset April 17)
  • 21st – Eid Al-Fitr (Islamic) (Sundown April 21 to Sundown April 22)
  • 21st – Festival of Ridvan (Baha’i) (April 21 to May 2)
  • 24th – Armenian Martyrs’ Day
  • 25th – Yom HaAtzmaut (Jewish) (Sundown April 25 to Nightfall April 26)
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