With so many generations, cultures and backgrounds in the shop these days, there is much to celebrate with our diversity and uniqueness. Everyone loves to share fond representations of their background, heritage, culture or hometown. Whether it’s wearing your old jersey from that beloved, award-winning hometown team, making the famed traditional corned beef and cabbage from the old country or sharing that green hatch chile salsa that your homeland is known for, it brings joy to all to share a little slice of who they are. Plan a good ol‘ potluck meal where each member of your team brings a dish to share which represents their heritage. The variety will be amazing! Stories about recipes and memories surrounding these foods will be shared with joy and fondness. This time of bonding over cuisine and getting to know each other in a different way will long be remembered as one of the highlights of the game!
Did you know that sharing a meal feeds people emotionally and draws them together? It allows conversations to take place by providing an excuse to catch up and talk. People are also able to share their culture and heritage through food.
The work culture in the US often perpetuates the concept of focusing only on work while at work and nothing else. We are expected to leave all aspects of your personal lives at the door. This can leave employees with the feeling that they are viewed as just another cog in the wheel, a literal human resource, rather than an actual person with unique attributes, characteristics, and traits. This can result in them feeling disenfranchised, disconnected, and disengaged, all of which will obviously negatively impact the overall culture and atmosphere of the organization.
To help combat this, help bring a little bit of everyone's background, culture, and history to the office through food. Organize an event where you team breaks bread together. It can be a simple team lunch at a local taqueria or something more in-depth like, each month, having a different team member pick a restaurant that illustrates something about their heritage and background. A potluck is also another great way for people to showcase what is unique about their history. Spending this time together will help your team (and you!) get a deeper understanding of each other and build stronger bonds and connections.
This week, I challenge you to look into organizing a potluck lunch for your team. You can make it as simple or as extravagant as you want. Create a sign-up sheet so people don’t bring in the same dish. Post the various delicacies being brought in so your team members’ mouths start watering in anticipation of the event. Take it a step further and look into making it a company-wide event where one department organizes and hosts a potluck for the entire company. Have a different department host it each month.
FUN FACT: The word pot-luck appears in the 16th century English work of Thomas Nashe, and used to mean "food provided for an unexpected or uninvited guest, the luck of the pot." The modern execution of a "communal meal, where guests bring their own food," most likely originated in the 1930s during the Depression.