From September 15 to October 15, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at work, in school, and at home. Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with colleagues allows all teams to honor Hispanic culture and history and create even more vibrant and productive workplace cultures for everyone. 

Creative Hispanic Heritage Month activities improve workplace relationships, increase fun, and facilitate learning. In this article, you’ll find meaningful and inspiring ideas to engage and impact your teams while celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. 

Whether your people are in-person, hybrid, remote, or some combination of the three, 2023 can be the year you level up your collective cultural awareness. Learn and grow while exploring Hispanic heritage and the incredible contributions of Hispanic and Latin Americans throughout history. 

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is Hispanic Heritage Month?

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the rich culture and history of Hispanic Americans in the United States. In 2021, Hispanics made up nearly one in five people in the U.S. (19%) – the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Workplace celebrations are an opportunity to learn about and appreciate the invaluable efforts Hispanic and Latin Americans have made to our communities and workplaces. 

Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off with the anniversary of independence from Spain for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Similarly, Mexico celebrates Independence Day on the 16th, Chile on the 18th, and Belize on the 21st. What began as a weeklong celebration in 1968 was extended to a month in 1988 at the direction of President Ronald Reagan. 

Día de la Raza or “Day of the Race” is celebrated on October 12th in the U.S. and honors the countries and people conquered by Spain and other European explorers. This day acknowledges the impact of colonization on Indigenous populations, cultures, and heritage. In 2021, the United States transitioned to celebrate the contributions and resilience of Native Americans by observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Empower knowledge of diverse cultural backgrounds to support workplace well-being

Hispanic and Latino are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings. The origins of the word Hispanic, which is the English translation of the Spanish “Hispano,” refers to a person whose cultural traditions originate from Spain or Spanish-speaking countries. Latino refers to people who come from or have ancestors from Latin American countries. In other words, Hispanic aligns with the Spanish language, while Latino is rooted in geographic location. 

Language is constantly evolving and your knowledge of it is a superpower. Recognizing and utilizing the appropriate cultural language enriches workplace cultures. Ask individuals how they prefer to be identified and create a culture of consideration, unity, and shared understanding. 

How to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at work 

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and the diverse cultures and backgrounds of your people should happen year-round! In September and October, encourage all employees to participate in Hispanic Heritage Month activities. Enlist leaders from your organization’s Latino and Hispanic community or Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) in your planning and execution for maximum program impact.

Identity ERGs can be instrumental in going above and beyond for cultural celebrations. Dr. Robert Rodriguez, an authority on diversity and inclusion in the workplace and Espresa advisor, says, “Experience helped me be more comfortable in my own skin. They helped me be my true, authentic self, and they elevated my visibility, capability, and promotability.”

Dr. Robert Rodriguez, an authority on diversity and inclusion in the workplace and Espresa advisor, says, “Experience helped me be more comfortable in my own skin. They helped me be my true, authentic self, and they elevated my visibility, capability, and promotability.”

Here are 12 creative ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at work:

1. Showcase culture 

Entertain and educate with an event that showcases traditional music, dance, art, or cuisine from different Hispanic and Latino cultures. Assemble the perfect playlist (see #8), spotlight Latino and Hispanic artists, whether famous or from your local community, tap into your teams’ talent (and see if you have any dance lovers in your ranks!), or host a potluck with culturally inspired dishes. However you choose to bring people together, showcasing Hispanic culture is sure to engage and energize. 

2. Create workshops

Part of celebrating cultural diversity is elevating awareness and the need for progress and change. Workshops could spotlight significant contemporary Hispanic figures in various fields or address stereotypes and micro-aggressions often faced by Hispanic individuals. A comprehensive workshop on cultural sensitivity, diversity, and inclusion can include discussions and role-playing scenarios to promote understanding and empathy.

3. Lunch and learn

A smaller-scale learning opportunity, virtual lunch and learns can be held for in-person and remote teams. Choose a day where all employees participate or stagger lunches throughout the month. Your people can choose to learn about topics that interest them, from geography to history, language learning, social issues, food, music, and holidays and traditions.

4. Support Hispanic-owned businesses 

Support for Hispanic-owned businesses takes many forms. Start by creating a list of Hispanic-owned restaurants for lunches and catered events throughout the year (including your lunch and learns!). You can also support Hispanic-owned shops through your employee rewards program and holiday and anniversary gift-giving. For global teams, be sure to include online marketplaces and Etsy shops with international shipping.

5. Host interactive virtual or in-person events 

Coordinate interactive activities like a cooking or dance class, a virtual fiesta or field trip, or creative opportunities that immerse employees in elements of Hispanic culture.  Hands-on experiences like cooking empañadas or paella, dancing the salsa, tango, and flamenco, or celebrating cultural holidays are not only about learning and fun – they also capture emotions and amplify stories that emerge.

6. Encourage storytelling

Allow employees to share their own stories and family traditions or interview others to hear stories influenced by Hispanic heritage. Powered by the idea that everyone has an important story to tell, StoryCorps offers free online tools to record interviews and stories. A storytelling workshop can foster connections and build trust and understanding among teams.

7. Read a book or screen a film 

Films, documentaries, and books that explore Hispanic culture, history, and contemporary issues can set the stage for Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations and deepen understanding and empathy. Goodreads’ has a comprehensive Hispanic Heritage Month book list for you to dive into, or the New York Times compiled a list of more recent works by Latino writers. Opt for one title that all employees read or offer a selection for smaller groups to choose and share. An in-office film screening can be a welcome way to break up the workday or an at-home viewing makes for a family-friendly activity that everyone can share.  

8. Share a love of music 

The perfect playlist unlocks the next level of any celebration. Music can inform, inspire, and energize, and Hispanic culture brings its own unique musical traditions, instruments, rhythms, and melodies. Hispanic artists have made significant contributions to mainstream American music: Gloria Estefan, Carlos Santana, Selena, and more recently, Bad Bunny and Rosalía, have achieved international fame. Strike any mood your celebrations aim to evoke and create your playlist on Spotify to share across social media.  

9. Play games 

Team-building can take the form of trivia with a focus on Hispanic Heritage Month facts to close out your celebrations and showcase what your people have learned. Or sponsor an event for people to learn traditional games like Lotería, trompo, or dominoes. Language learning can take the form of a game or challenge, and team members can grow their vocabulary through practice throughout the month. 

10. Spotlight employees

Highlight employees through profiles, interviews, or features to share their unique perspectives and celebrate their contributions. Invite people to serve as guest speakers for their teams or the whole organization. They can share their personal or professional journeys and the significance of their culture to their experiences. Hearing personal stories brings fresh energy and significance to your celebrations. 

11. Promote non-profit and community organizations

Activities and partnerships support and amplify the mission of Hispanic and Latino communities and causes. Volunteer, launch an awareness campaign, start a scholarship fund, offer internships, fundraise, and make a donation or match employee donations. There are so many amazing ways for companies to show their commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social responsibility and elevate the voices and needs of Hispanic communities.

12. Share what you’ve learned

Ask each team member to present short 5-minute stories about what they’ve learned and experienced during Hispanic Heritage Month. Creative presentations, engaging discussions, role-playing, poetry readings, or short videos provide an opportunity for closure and reflection and an organic way to seek feedback and make improvements for next year!

The most effective Hispanic Heritage Month ideas appeal to a broad cross-section of employees with varying degrees of knowledge of Hispanic culture and history, diverse interests, and different learning styles. Any of these activities will build an understanding of Hispanic heritage and strengthen connections through shared experiences. 

Why is it important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at work? 

Recognizing and celebrating diverse cultural backgrounds at work promotes positive and inclusive workplace cultures. When diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are core to your company’s culture, your people feel safe to bring their whole selves to work, including their cultural identity. And when cultural backgrounds are celebrated, you create a sense of belonging and improve employee well-being.

Honoring Latino and Hispanic culture at work inspires employees to engage in cross-cultural dialogue. Sharing, learning about, and appreciating diverse stories leads to collaboration and stronger, more positive social support networks. Employees thrive in organizations that embrace and celebrate diversity! 

Level up your cultural celebrations 

Smart employers go beyond compensation and traditional benefits to meet the evolving expectations of employees. To be competitive, level up with wellness programs and cultural and lifestyle benefits that cater to the needs of your diverse workforce.

Companies like The Wonderful Company, Avalara, Verisk, and Lyra offer thoughtful employee benefits that extend beyond strategic benefits. These include in-person and remote translation services, culture allowances, childcare stipends, and in-person health clinics that provide equitable resources to all of their people. 

Lifestyle Spending Accounts, as part of your broader employee benefits strategy, level up your company culture as well as your celebrations for happier, healthier, more engaged employees! Reach out to our team for a demo.


How to Score Top Talent with an Inclusive Employee Benefits Strategy


Distribute On: