These 20+ concrete ideas can help your team create a more welcoming and inclusive community for your employees, clients, and stakeholders.
A few of our favorite diversity events for remote teams:
- Host a virtual team building session facilitated by expert guides
- Gift employees a fun gift box from BIPOC-owned companies
- Plan a multicultural movie night with your team
- Examine internal practices like pay parity and website accessibility
- Post on job boards geared toward diverse applicants
- Shift company language toward more inclusive phrasing
- Celebrate Pride month in a meaningful way at work
TLDR: in this guide, you’ll find:
- Fun diversity team building activities
- Ideas to strengthen your company’s efforts toward diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Ways to create a more welcoming virtual workspace
- Free and low-cost ways to create an inclusive corporate culture
- Diversity and inclusion event ideas
1. Commit to Diversity and Inclusion
The first step to creating an inclusive work environment is acknowledging that bias exists. Even the most well-intentioned companies carry viewpoints and habits shaped by society.
Has your executive management made a concrete commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion? Ensure that your company is “walking the walk” before diving into DEI activities with your employees.
Example: The Coca-Cola Company issued an open letter about its diversity practices. Specifically, it requires that all outside counsel have 30% of billed hours from diverse attorneys.
2. Host a Virtual Team-Building Event Focused on Inclusion and Learning – Great Option for Remote, Hybrid, and In-Person Teams!
Hosting a virtual team building session is a fun way to create a collaborative remote work environment. Additionally, these sessions can help teach your team members important lessons about diversity, equity, and inclusivity.
Consider including team building experiences that celebrate the history of Black people or other minorities. If the idea of planning an event sounds daunting, leave it to the pros! Our team at Unexpected Virtual Tours hosts a variety of diversity focused team building experiences.
Unexpected Virtual Tours’ diversity events for remote teams include:
- Music Evolution (pictured)
- Black History Month Virtual Team Building
- Juneteenth Virtual Team Building
- Street Art Virtual Tour & Team Building
- An inclusive holiday experience
Each Unexpected Virtual Tours experience includes LIVE expert guides and fun, interactive experiences. Additionally, your team will enjoy gift boxes filled with incredible, high-quality products from BIPOC-owned businesses.
3. Take a Free DEI Course with Your Team
When it comes to DEI efforts, we are all lifelong students. Are you looking to learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion with your team? If so, sign up for a free workshop or course together.
You can find free online trainings on topics like diversity and inclusion in the workplace, managing diverse teams, inclusive leadership training, and much more.
For example, Microsoft offers a free self-paced training course on unconscious bias in managers and employees. Or, take Udemy’s free course on gender equality and sexual diversity. This experience is comprised of 30 lectures totaling around 5.5 hours.
Browse a list of free learning opportunities in this guide from The Muse: 9 (Free!) Online Classes for Managers Who Care About Diversity and Inclusion.
4. Provide a Digital Place for Self-Identification
Pronouns can be an important part of people’s identity. These days, digital communication tools make it easier than ever to learn and respect each other’s pronouns.
Companies can encourage employees to add their pronouns to email signatures, Slack profiles, and LinkedIn pages. This can help create a culture of inclusion for nonbinary and trans coworkers. It also supports psychological safety for everyone.
Useful Article: Here’s a great article from Medium on how to input pronouns on many different technology tools.
5. Treat Employees to a Gift or Meal from BIPOC/Local Businesses
Looking for a way to reward your team for their hard work? Maybe your department hit a sales goal, or someone is celebrating a work anniverary. If so, consider purchasing from a BIPOC-owned (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), woman-owned, and/or local business.
That’s because your dollars can have a tangible impact in these communities. After all, your corporate purchase will make a much larger impact on a small business than it will on a big box store. Furthermore, supporting minority owned businesses is a way to show your employees that your company’s actions align with its stated values on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Our favorite gift idea and a great option for Women’s History Month in March: Unexpected Virtual Tours’ Empower Gift Boxes. Support BIPOC-owned businesses while enjoying the convenience of Amazon Prime shipping.
6. Host a Multicultural Movie Night
Part of the fun of creating a diverse workplace is exploring other cultures through movies, music, food, and entertainment. By opening our minds and palates to other cultures, we broaden our worldview and mindset. This can also lead to increased empathy and connection with others.
For virtual teams, host a multicultural movie night! Take turns picking a safe-for-work film from another culture. This is a great way to relax and bond with your team.
Before you watch together, the person who picked the movie can share a little bit of context about the film and its creators.
Use a service like Tubi to stream movies online for free together while you’re on a video call! Or, choose a streaming service everyone on your team already subscribes to.
7. Examine Pay Equality at Your Company
By now, you’ve more than likely heard about the gender wage gap. In fact, Business Insider reported in 2020 that a woman earns, on average, only 81.6 cents for every dollar a man makes. For Black women, that number drops down to 66 cents for every dollar a man makes. For Hispanic women, it’s just 58 cents.
Changing these statistics requires corporate leaders to examine their employees’ salary data and adjust inequalities where they might exist. One important note – don’t rely on prospective employees’ salary history when determining their pay. That’s because this habit can continue to perpetuate past inequities.
Note sure where to start? Explore the Society for Human Resources Management’s actionable tips for establishing pay equity in your company.
8. Play an “I am…” Exercise Together
During this icebreaker activity, each person starts with the phrase “I am…” at the top of a sheet of paper. Then, ask each participant to fill in ten things about themselves. You might wish to give your team some examples to get started.
For instance, your “I am…” list might include statements like:
- I am the child of an immigrant.
- I am a vegetarian.
- I’m bisexual.
- I am a dog mom.
- I am a runner.
- I’m a business owner.
- I am left-handed.
Take turns reading your lists aloud, for those who are comfortable. Because this is such a personal activity, make sure everyone understands that this exercise is optional. As you participate in this activity, you’re sure to learn more about your coworkers. You’ll also discover which parts of their identity they may feel most proud of and most willing to share with their team.
This activity can also help spark friendships and shared interests on your team. For example, if someone shares “I am in a ska band…” it paves the way for coworkers to ask how their music is going during future team meetings!
9. Create Slack Channels for Affinity Groups
These days, many remote teams are using Slack more than ever to communicate. Consider creating Slack channels for your company’s affinity groups. For example, you could create Slack channels for parents, women, LGBTQ+ employees, Latinx employees, etc.
These designated spaces can serve as a safe and welcoming environment for dialogue. Furthermore, the channels can serve as a dedicated forum to share relevant opportunities and resources.
Helpful resource: learn how Slack’s corporate office creates employee resource groups to foster connection and belonging for their workers.
10. Make Your Website Accessible to All
While the internet has made information readily available to the masses, many websites remain inaccessible for people with disabilities. As a result, you may want to take a look at whether your company’s website is user-friendly all. For example, consider people who may be blind or visually impaired, dyslexic, hard of hearing, prone to seizures with bright flashing visuals, cognitively impaired, etc.
Fortunately, many easy to install widgets can help ensure ADA compliance with a simple line of code.
Ensure accessibility in just a few clicks. UserWay is a user-friendly paid widget trusted by the likes of Disney, GE, FedEx, Coca-Cola, and many others.
11. Renovate Offices as Needed While Workers are Remote
If you have a physical office or a hybrid team, it’s important to consider how the physical layout of an office can lead to greater inclusivity. For example, single-stall, gender-neutral restrooms can provide privacy and comfort to people of all genders.
It’s also extremely important to offer employees a dedicated nursing space that’s not a bathroom or conference room. Additionally, make sure your company is actively supporting employees by giving them ample time to pump. A nursing area should have a locking door, a comfortable chair, and a small table or shelf. It’s wise to also include a refrigerator to store pumped milk as well as a sink.
While many workers continue to work remotely, now is the perfect time to complete renovations that might be needed before workers return.
Pro tip: if your budget won’t allow for renovations, consider a Mamava nursing space. This woman-owned small business sells and rents lactation pod spaces.
12. Share an Inclusive Meal – All Dietary Restrictions Welcome!
Even with a remote team, there may be times when you decide to treat everyone to lunch or a delivered meal. During these instances, it’s important to be mindful of everyone’s dietary restrictions and needs. Ask your employees about their dietary restrictions before placing an order.
Equally as important – when eating in a group, encourage team members to not take food meant for a specific diet if they can enjoy other options. Otherwise, you might end up with a vegetarian who has only meat sandwiches to pick from because their carnivorous coworkers decided to try the roasted veggie wrap.
Helpful article: to learn more about how to accommodate your team’s dietary needs, read this guide on meal inclusivity from the Society for Human Resources Management.
13. Post on Job Boards Geared toward BIPOC Groups
To build a more diverse team, consider branching out from your usual job posting sites when listing your company’s opportunities. By posting on job boards geared toward diverse candidates, you can broaden your pool of applicants while also promoting DEI values.
To find diverse job candidates, try posting on these hiring boards:
- NAACP Job Finder: geared toward Black and African American professionals
- Diversity Working: serving diverse groups including ethnic diversity, age diversity, gender diversity, ability diversity, and lifestyle diversity.
- Hire Autism: a site focusing on individuals on the spectrum
- Center for Employment Opportunities: connecting employers with formerly incarcerated people
14. Celebrate Pride Month in a Meaningful Way
Nowadays, many companies commemorate Pride Month in June. This is a time of celebration and joy. But, many people lament that Pride has also become a commercialized occasion.
Nowadays, many large retailers sell Pride-themed products. It’s a wonderful and supportive gesture. But, advocates for the LGBTQ+ community have voiced discontent at “Pridewashing” – profiting off events like Pride while failing to meaningfully support LGBTQ+ causes. Or, in some cases, working against these causes over the long term.
For this reason, if you sell a Pride product, it’s important to donate a significant portion of your proceeds to LGBTQ+ related nonprofits or causes. For instance, consider supporting The Trevor Project, the Human Rights Campaign, or a local cause.
Similarly, if you purchase items for your employees to celebrate this diversity events for your remote teams, consider shopping local and buying directly from LGBTQ+ owned brands. Or, opt for a LGBTQ+ diversity event for your remote team, such as supporting one of the many amazing virtual drag experiences.
To learn more about the intersection of Pride Month and corporate culture, read the Washington Post’s opinion article, Pride for Sale.
15. Use Gender Inclusive Language
Using gender inclusive language means removing gender from our vocabulary. For example, if you’re giving a Zoom presentation, rather than saying, “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen” – you could greet the group by saying, “Good morning, everyone” instead.
Using gender-neutral greetings helps to create an environment of inclusivity for people of all genders and helps avoid dated stereotypes.
As a Southern-based company, our Unexpected Virtual Tours employees are big fans of the word “y’all.” Here are some other gender-neutral and gender inclusive words to use in your company’s communications as well as your own language.
- Ladies and gentlemen → Distinguished guests
- Chairman/woman → Chair or Chairperson
- Guys (as in, Hi, guys!) → Everyone, folks, team, colleagues
- Cameraman/woman → Camera operator
- Mankind → Humankind
- Husband/wife → Spouse or partner
- Congressman/woman → Congressional Representative or legislator
- Mailman/woman → Mail Carrier
- Fireman/woman → Firefighter
For more examples, explore the United Nations’ guidlines for gender-inclusive language.
16. Offer Flexible Holiday Leave for Different Religious Observances
Holidays and religious observances can be deeply personal, even sacred, times to practice important rituals, spend time with family, and reflect on our lives. Rather than offering specific days off, such as Christmas, consider giving employees a set number of holiday days per year to use as they wish.
This system helps ensure that employees of all backgrounds and religious beliefs can celebrate their special occasions without worry. Flexible holiday leave can also create a sense of belonging for workers of all faiths.
Case study: read what happened 7 months after Spotify implemented their Floating Holiday policy for their employees of 90+ nationalities around the world.
17. Avoid and Call Out Problematic Language
We all know that some words are unacceptable to use, and most of us are familiar with the obvious slurs. However, there are some words that many folks still use without knowing their problematic history and implications.
It may not be possible for us to always be aware of every problematic word as language evolves. That said, you can create a corporate culture in which employees feel comfortable calling out unacceptable words and learning from each other. It’s important for company executives to set the example and use these moments as an opportunity to demonstrate the organization’s commitment to inclusivity.
Discover how to speak more inclusively with Buffer’s guide to inclusive language. These tips are geared toward startups and tech companies but are helpful to people in all industries.
18. Honor Diversity in Your Photography, Quotes, and Other Materials
Take a look at the photography your company uses on social media, on your website, in your product catalog – anywhere photography is used. Similarly, take a look at the inspirational quotes that you might share in an e-newsletter or on your office walls. Wherever you are using images and words of other people, examine if these materials accurately reflect our society.
Many retail brands have experienced consumer backlash for primarily using photos of young, slender, white, heterosexual, cisgender individuals. In addition to racial and gender diversity, consider diversity in ability, age, sexual orientation, and gender expression.
This roundup of 11 diverse stock photo resources is a great starting point to expand your diversity and inclusion in digital and print materials.
19. Conduct a Survey to Ask Employees What They Want For Diversity Events For Remote Teams
Not sure what your employees are missing or craving when creating diversity events for remote teams? Ask them!
For example, creating an anonymous survey using a tool like SurveyMonkey is one of the best ways to hear feedback directly from your team. Carefully evaluate the responses you receive, and remember that some employees may feel uncomfortable or even fearful in sharing their feedback.
Does your team want a book club, for example? Or would they rather do a volunteer project together?
It’s important to reassure everyone that their input will remain anonymous and will be taken seriously. You can follow through by sharing the survey results and taking action on suggestions. As you incorporate new initiatives and as employees come and go, consider repeating the survey on an annual basis.
Examples and best practices: start with Quantum Workplace’s list of Diversity & Inclusion survey questions and tips.
20. Honor Important Multicultural Holidays and Occasions
It’s important to remember that not everyone celebrates the same holidays (see idea #16). At the same time, there are ways to honor special occasions together respectfully.
A few holidays and occasions you might want to celebrate with your team include:
- Black History Month
- Women’s History Month
- Indigenous People’s Day
- Hispanic Heritage Month
To find ideas for honoring all of the occasions mentioned above with your team, explore our Unexpected Virtual Tours blogs on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Looking for more inclusive ideas for your remote team? If so, explore our blog post: 17+ Virtual DEI Activities for Remote Teams. In this guide, you’ll find ideas for a DEI book club, how to explore global cultures through food, and more interactive ideas.