Next month lunch rooms across Australia will come alive as workers delight in sharing the foods from their cultural background with their colleagues as part of a national campaign promoting diversity.
Taste of Harmony is a Scanlon Foundation initiative that calls for a celebration of diversity in Australia, and is touted as a simple, delicious and free way to bring increased cultural awareness to the workplace. Workers are invited to share with their colleagues a plate of food which represents their cultural background. Last year more than 175,000 people participated, and the campaign organisers said sharing a multi-cultural lunch promotes a non-threatening environment for sharing cultural stories.
Woolworths has participated in the campaign for the last four years, and diversity manager Estelle Olstein said the campaign was a great way to celebrate diversity and gives employees an opportunity to share something about themselves. Olstein said all of their supermarkets, distribution centres and regional offices are invited to partake and can creatively choose how they want to participate. For example, in one store last year staff were invited to write ‘A taste of harmony’ in their native language, and more than 27 languages were counted. Woolworths also invites their staff to share their stories and activities on the internal website, and Olstein said it creates a great team atmosphere.
Optus is also gearing up to participate in the initiative, and HR manager Tania Mathieson said last year they celebrated with cultural performances, Chinese calligraphy workshops, cooking demonstrations, roving international musicians and the creation of a world map depicting their employees’ country of origin.
A Taste of Harmony officially runs from 19-25 March, coinciding with National Harmony Day on 21 March. More information can be found at tasteofharmony.org.au
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