Australia Post has been taking part in A Taste of Harmony for 10 years, since the campaign’s inception, so it goes without saying that the organisation has some great advice to share when it comes to keeping staff engaged year after year.
Around one quarter of our workforce comes from a culturally or linguistically diverse background, so it’s vital we recognise and celebrate this,” said Diversity and Inclusion consultant Ashley Samson. The staff are genuinely passionate about taking part, even without too much direction from head office but there are a few things we do to keep interest levels strong.”
Keep it simple
We’ve found it works best to keep instructions regarding A Taste of Harmony streamlined and straight-forward so that it doesn’t become overwhelming for staff or viewed as a time consuming event to organise.
Use every comms channel you can
We have over 36,000 staff who work across many different areas of the business in our head offices and in our mail and parcel facilities, business hubs and shops which means not everyone has access to computers or email so we need to use a wide range of communications tools (including simply talking to each other!).
We have an internal comms page where we provide key information, tips and ideas and links to useful tools provided the A Taste of Harmony website and encourage staff to display the materials in central locations like the team kitchens or noticeboards. In addition, we use email and digital screens in major facilities. We also rely on the eDMs sent out by the A Taste of Harmony team to those who registered the previous year.
Have one new idea each year
Last year we ran a competition giving staff the chance to win a workplace visit by celebrity chef, Fast Ed. Incentives such as these really drive interest and keep it fresh. The team who won (from Perth) absolutely loved meeting Ed and really valued this prize.
It’s so important to learn and taste dishes from a range of cultures because we rarely get the chance to do this.
Let staff do what works for them
We encourage local teams to come up with something that best suits them. They know their team and what will have the most impact. Because we have facilities that operate 24/7, some of our teams might have their ATOH morning tea at 4am!
Encourage staff to share stories
It’s the stories which make A Taste of Harmony so engaging for staff so we always ensure these take centre stage at our events and we seek permission from staff to share them as part of the event-promotion the following year. We also share experiences across the national network so staff can see what other teams do to celebrate!
One such example is Bibra Lake Business Centre which has been taking part in A Taste of Harmony for the past 4 years. Our team spoke with Business Services Manager, Malcolm Sequeira, who coined the Business Hub’s now mantra, ‘A Taste of Harmony acts as a link to our Past and a guide to our Future’.
Why is A Taste of Harmony so important to your team?
It’s so important to learn and taste dishes from a range of cultures because we rarely get the chance to do this. Before A Taste of Harmony, we never talked about where we were from or the cultural background of our parents etc. But coming together and sharing food really helps – food is the ultimate way to break down barriers!
How do you prevent staff from getting ‘event fatigue’ year after year?
Each year we make sure we do something different so it might be lunch one year when we bring substantial meals or afternoon tea the next where we bring snacks from different cultures. This year we focused on snack foods which included mini Shepherds Pies and Sausage Rolls from Britain, Italian Crostoli and Portuguese Goan Fish Croquettes.
What is your most memorable dish?
It would have to be one I brought in a couple of years ago which was spicy Portuguese/Goan Pork Sorpotel which is traditionally made using pork blood and liver, however I excluded these two ingredients much to the relief of my colleagues!
Is there a memorable story you can share?
Last year one of our team declared she didn’t know anything much about her parents’ heritage, and thanks to a taste of harmony she investigated deeper and was surprised to discover her mother’s actual roots which was something she was so excited to learn! I was very happy that A Taste of Harmony gave her the opportunity to learn this.
Something that surprised you?
If there is one thing that surprises me it’s how much we don’t know about each other even though we see each other every day! We now have a mantra at Bibra Lake Business Hub: A Taste of Harmony acts as a link to our Past and a guide to our Future. It shows how much A Taste of Harmony is valued by us as a team.
Download Australia Post’s ATOH story here.