Diversity is one of the obvious draws of a virtual workplace. With an always-on office, your company can work with people from anywhere in the world. As your staff reflects the cultural diversity of the workforce as a whole, your company can take steps to ensure everyone feels good about themselves at work.
Diversity events celebrate the genuine value each person brings as a result of their background. Their background isn’t the whole of who they are. Their merit at work isn’t necessarily tied to their background. But each person’s background is a vital part of their essence.
With that in mind, you can review or reshape your diversity events to reflect your staff’s actual needs, strengths, and challenges. Here’s how to design events that make people feel genuinely seen.
Diversity in a Virtual Space
As hybrid workforces take over, virtual offices can provide a chance to enhance diversity and inclusion efforts. Start by recognizing why diversity events exist in the first place.
For some people, diversity can create real in-person anxieties. People may feel “othered” based on past experiences or have concerns they’ll be judged on appearance, attire, or ability.
These worries can be softened with avatars, but it’s better to create an environment where everyone can be themselves, whether in person, over video, or in virtual worlds.
In this way, diversity events can be a prime driver for acceptance. Hosting the right kind of virtual diversity event signals important values: compassion, validation, contribution, fairness, and equity.
Your Virtual Diversity Event Checklist
By hitting upon a few key practices, you set your event up for success. Use this checklist to guide your planning process:
Establish event thought leadership: Who should lead planning? Ideally, a representative from a relevant Employee Resource Group takes charge.
Connect your agenda to your purpose: Which speakers or entertainers should join you? Are dates respectful of cultural observations or holidays?
Brand registration materials tightly: Make invitations or registration pages about the groups you're celebrating, not your company.
Prepare for a respectful event: Ensure everyone knows how to pronounce speaker names correctly and comfortably. Prepare moderators to validate and answer all types of questions, even if some are controversial.
Ensure accessibility: Even in a virtual space, accessibility matters. Offer help with language settings, font sizes, audio, or mobile access for lower bandwidth internet connections.
Follow up after the event: Send a survey to participants. Thank speakers or entertainers privately and with social media love.
For more on diversity in virtual spaces or to get ideas for your next virtual event, follow Virbela on LinkedIn.