South Asian Heritage Month – Embracing culture within the workplace
South Asian Heritage Month UK runs from the 18th of July to the 17th of August. The purpose of this month is to commemorate, celebrate, and educate about South Asian cultures, histories, and communities. The month seeks to understand the diverse heritage and cultures that continue to link the UK with South Asia. South Asian culture has significantly impacted the UK in all aspects of life, such as food, clothing, music, words, and the overall ambiance of our towns and cities.
To celebrate South Asian Heritage Month this year at NKD, we hosted an in-person event where we took a closer look at understanding the South Asian experience, unpacking colonialism, and discussing ways in which we can all decolonise our present.
The power of unlocking culture within the workplace
Our cultures make up part of who we are, and they’re a complex and rich tapestry of history, of our experiences and the world around us. While two people may have a similar heritage, how they experience the world could be entirely different due to their life experiences.
We recognise that the diversity creates stronger communities, both within the workplace and beyond.
It is always helpful to have a mutual understanding and to take the time to educate ourselves. Learning about other cultures helps us understand diverse perspectives within the world in which we live. This learning process helps to dispel negative stereotypes and personal biases concerning different groups.
Cultural diversity enables us to acknowledge and respect different ways of life, traditions and heritage. By doing so, we can build bridges to trust, respect, and interact with others from various cultures.
Experiencing my first South Asian Heritage Month workshop was truly eye-opening. I gained a deeper understanding of the rich history of South Asian heritage and their massive contributions and impact to society. We engaged in a number of conversations around British Asian culture, unpacking colonialism, decolonising our present, and hearing personal experiences which really hit home for me. Listening to my colleagues’ family stories made me feel proud and privileged to be surrounded by people who can share personal stories to educate our teams and organisation.
Learn, educate and grow
I strongly believe that organisations that give space for their people to express themselves and tell their stories creates a sense of belonging, enhances engagement within the workplace and empowers employees to thrive. It also allows us to learn, educate each other and most importantly to grow in knowledge and confidence.
So why is it important for organisations to embrace culture within the workplace?
We asked our colleague Rajiv Kale, who took part and contributed to the workshop, and our facilitator for the South Asian Heritage Month Workshop, Ria Kalsi ‘What do special observances like South Asian Heritage Month mean to you and how does organisations embracing culture impact their employees?’
Rajiv Kale, Financial Controller, NKD: “It’s a special feeling because it shows that there is a genuine interest and curiosity to learn about South Asian culture and history. I think embracing culture develops a sense of togetherness. The more you understand a person’s background the more connection you may feel towards them.”
Ria Kalsi, Creator & Founder of Matriarch and MatriarchLtd: “The world is so rich of vibrant culture and heritage. We won’t always know everything and that’s okay. But what we can do is learn and educate each other when we have the opportunity. Cultural diversity within the workplace serves more than one function. Sure, it makes companies look good. But more importantly it makes teams feel good, and when people feel welcome at work, they thrive. Cultural diversity is critical to building a healthy, inclusive, and growing organisation.”
For more information on how we created our South Asian Heritage Month Workshop, reach out to Ria Kalsi who is the Creator & Founder of Matriarch and MatriarchLtd. Their mission is to make the world a safer, more inclusive place for everyone through sessions that create real change by embracing discomfort.
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