Bison held Diversity Week from Aug. 13-17. All six of our terminals participated in activities to celebrate our company’s diversity. This included special guests, delicious food and cultural performances.
For example, in Winnipeg, Magdaragat Philippines Inc. performed traditional songs and dances from the Philippines. It included audience participation with Bison staff getting involved in a couple of the dances. (I tried it and it’s harder than it looks!)
We ran an online trivia game that tested staff’s knowledge of diversity. This brought out the friendly competition of our teams while educating them about the world – tidbits and facts that many people might not have known. In the end, it gave everyone a better understanding of our neighbours and peers.
Throughout the week we encouraged staff to dress in their cultural attire, share stories and traditions. One of our staff wore a head tie known as a gele, commonly worn in the southern and western parts of Africa. Her outfit was handmade with lace material. This gave her colleagues a chance to inquire about the traditional piece and ultimately gave her the opportunity to share her heritage with co-workers.
We highlighted that it was important to know that celebrating diversity is not just about celebrating the different foods, dances and rituals of cultures. It is about showing the respect and appreciation of our differences in ethnicity, origin, gender, age, disability, orientation, education and religion.Each terminal was responsible for providing a multicultural lunch for its staff. Foods from different ethnicities were served such a perogies, spring rolls, butter chicken, Jamaican patties, Greek salad and several other delicious dishes.
Bison recognizes that managing diversity also means minimizing the challenges or barriers to a productive and diverse workforce. According to the HR Council of Canada, the more effective an organization is at supporting diversity and inclusion, the more engagement that organization will experience among its employees. When all employees understand the workplace’s culture, values and their role within it, a better fit is achieved and employee engagement increases.
Organizations that take diversity seriously have greater success in achieving optimal employee performance and retention of staff. This is what we aim to do at Bison every day.