Check out these five ways to recognize Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in the workplace, inspired by the work of AAPI employees at ADP.
May has arrived, which means so has Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This is a time for learning, reflection and support for AAPI communities, who bring unique heritage, history and experiences to the workplace, all of which should be recognized, honored and celebrated.
"AAPI communities contribute to the success of many organizations by providing unique insights that should be heard, valued and incorporated," says Sreeni Kutam, chief human resources officer, ADP. "Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month gives us an opportunity to appreciate and commemorate these contributions, in recognition of this community's cultural and historical influences on our workplaces, where their powerful and positive perspectives can, and will, continue to change the world."
So, how can you celebrate AAPI Heritage Month at work, anyway? Here are five ways to do it:
1. Host a discussion featuring AAPI leaders
Convening your business' AAPI leaders to discuss heritage, history, traditions, customs or current events specific to AAPI communities can help other AAPI employees and their allies feel heard, included and represented. It can also educate non-AAPI employees on meaningful ways to provide recognition and support. Example topics include AAPI history, AAPI cuisine, AAPI music and arts and crafts, embracing one's AAPI heritage, AAPI inclusion and accomplishments and innovations shaped by your organization's past and present AAPI employees. Make the discussions collaborative and engaging by carving out time for questions, and consider seeking input from your AAPI workplace community to help ensure the conversation is relevant and attention-worthy. Don't forget to record the meeting for those who couldn't attend live.
2. Play AAPI history trivia
If you're looking to enhance the engagement factor of your AAPI Heritage Month events and activities, AAPI trivia is an excellent place to start. See if a few of your AAPI employees, AAPI allies or self-proclaimed history buffs can do a little desk research for AAPI history facts and figures, ensuring that the information collected is accurate and appropriate for work.
Once you've developed questions and answers from the gathered data, use a free online trivia service like Kahoot! to make planning and execution seamless. Employees can answer questions and compete for the highest score on their computers, phones and tablets in the office or at home, making this activity ideal for remote, hybrid and on-site workplaces.
3. Support donations to AAPI organizations
Making a financial commitment to AAPI advocacy organizations is one of the most tangible ways AAPI allies can show support for their unique AAPI workplace community and any events impacting AAPI communities, such as AAPI hate incidents and targeted violence against AAPI women. Consider hosting a charitable giving campaign that encourages donations to organizations and charities that address these issues and those that matter most to your AAPI workplace community. Utilize your organization's internal communication channels to boost the campaign's visibility to employees, and consider asking leadership to support donation matches to help maximize participation.
4. Form or join an AAPI employee resource group
Forming an employee resource group (ERG) could serve as a formal kickoff to your AAPI Heritage Month events and activities. Plus, an AAPI-focused ERG gives your AAPI employees a voice after AAPI Heritage Month concludes. ERGs are employee-led business organizations that unite employees under shared experiences, common goals or celebratory events. For example, ADP has a business resource group (BRG) called Elevate. Comprising some of ADP's AAPI leaders and open to all ADP employees, Elevate hosts AAPI-focused events and activities during AAPI Heritage Month and beyond. Its overarching goal is to empower individuals to realize their full career potential by providing networking opportunities, cultural awareness events, leadership development and community outreach initiatives. Could you start or join a similar ERG or BRG?
5. Ask AAPI employees to share their stories
Perhaps nothing could be more critical during AAPI Heritage Month than hearing the unique stories of AAPI employees in your workplace. Consider tactfully and politely asking your AAPI employees to share their work-appropriate stories on internal communication channels as a learning and relationship-building opportunity for everyone. Be accepting, kind and respectful if they don't want to share. You could also post these stories to your business's social media accounts and use this as an opportunity to highlight your AAPI employees' unique contributions to your workplace, getting the employees' permission and support first, of course. And don't let these incredible stories get lost in internal or external feeds. Could you put them into an AAPI Heritage Month print or digital scrapbook that employees can view year-round?
Recognizing AAPI Heritage Month at work
No matter how you recognize Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at work, remember to do it with authenticity, sensitivity, kindness and sincerity. AAPI communities bring unique experiences and insights to the table. Every AAPI workplace community and its allies, no matter the time of year, deserve a safe space to celebrate their heritage and talk about the topics that matter most to them openly and proudly.
"Fostering an inclusive workplace that instills a sense of belonging, safety, support and understanding should be a continual priority for organizations that benefit from AAPI communities' contributions, experiences and talents," says Bob Lockett, ADP's chief diversity and talent officer. "In the context of inclusion, nothing could be more important than creating spaces where these communities can feel seen, heard and valued, where they can thrive and continue being their best, authentic selves at work."
For more on inclusive behaviors and practices that can help your organization do and be its best, visit ADP's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Resource Hub.
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