How To Have An Inclusive Holiday Season For All Employees
December really is the most wonderful time of the year, and for more reasons than the one we all immediately think of. During that time, various holidays around the world mark events that are important to different religions but, most of all, remind us of the significance of community and family. Although Christmas is widely celebrated, diversity and inclusion in the workplace have brought more of these celebrations to the forefront. Acknowledging them all is essential for maintaining a supportive work environment and an engaged workforce. If you’re looking for ways to throw inclusive workplace celebrations, follow the 5 tips we share in this article.
5 Ways To Throw Inclusive Workplace Celebrations
1. Research The Most Common Holidays
Although we often treat Christmas as the default holiday, we only need to dig a little deeper to realize maybe that’s not how it should be. Most companies employ people from different backgrounds and religions who may be celebrating something other than Christmas. The most common holidays you should be aware of are Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, two very important holidays for Jewish and African-American people, respectively, that are celebrated around the same time as Christmas. Although these particular holidays may not be celebrated by your employees, there will be others. It’s your responsibility to do the research and figure out which dates are most meaningful to your employees so that you can respect and accommodate them.
2. Make Your Feasts Inclusive
Even if not everyone celebrates Christmas, office festivities such as decorating or organizing a party are always welcome. However, you need to remember to keep these workplace celebrations inclusive. If you’re planning to throw an office party with food, you must be aware of everyone’s dietary restrictions. Christmas ham is a delicious choice for some but is a no-go for those who practice Judaism or Islam. Therefore, as you make arrangements for vegetarian or lactose-intolerant people, you need to extend the same courtesy to employees of different religions and follow kosher or halal guidelines. This will allow everyone to participate and feel seen by their employer.
3. Be Flexible With Holiday Dates
Nothing shows your respect for your employees’ beliefs and your dedication to ensuring an inclusive work environment better than the option of a floating holiday. This term refers to a paid day off that your employees can utilize whenever they like. This ensures they are not forced to use up their PTO during Christmas, leaving them with no choice but to work during the holiday that matters the most to them and their families. In addition to that, it’s useful to add special dates of this nature to the company calendar so that you don’t schedule important events, such as meetings, training, or conferences when your staff is off celebrating Diwali or Passover.
4. Don’t Force Participation
It’s understandable that office celebrations aim to bring employees together by encouraging them to bond and blow off some steam. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t let yourself get carried away by enthusiasm and make these events mandatory. Maybe not everyone wants to attend the holiday party or participate in the gift exchange due to religious or other reasons, such as a recent loss or a mental health issue. Allow everyone to celebrate on their own terms, and don’t single out those who can’t or don’t wish to take part. This way, you ensure that celebrations remain inclusive and respectful of your employees’ needs and traditions.
5. Cultivate Awareness Of Religious Diversity
Awareness and inclusion should not be an annual event but rather an integral part of your company culture. Invite your employees to go through diversity, equality, and inclusion workshops that will educate them on the different religions they interact with regularly. This way, they will learn which dates are special for their teammates, explore the customs that come with each holiday, and most importantly, learn how to be respectful and accepting of these diverse elements. Taking these steps will ensure the creation of an inclusive work environment not just during the holiday season but all year around. Not to mention it will make your employees feel free to express their real selves and be proud of their heritage.
Rethinking Religious Inclusion During Christmas
The holiday season is a time for reflection and togetherness, both in our personal lives and in the workplace. Even if not all your employees share the same religion, you can still find ways to celebrate while being respectful to everyone. In this article, we shared 5 tips you need to follow to keep workplace celebrations inclusive, regardless of whether some of your employees are celebrating Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. Keep them in mind while scheduling this year’s office festivities, and you will help your employees forge stronger connections.