‘Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Happy Festive!’ Each statement carries the same sentiment — to send well wishes for the end of the year. During the month of December, it’s common for celebrations to be centered around Christmas. Yet it’s also important to remember that not everyone resonates with the traditions that surround this time of the year. So, how do corporate Christmas and being inclusive work together?
Between the parties, social gatherings, festive treats and extra time off with your loved ones, it’s understandable why many of us look forward to Christmas celebrations. However, it’s important to acknowledge how inclusivity in the workplace can positively impact your employee engagement. And, ultimately improve the success of your business. As the season draws near, let’s take a closer look at why it’s important to be inclusive during holiday celebrations so that you can create a better work environment for your employees.
Corporate Christmas and Being Inclusive in the Workplace
It’s the season for holiday cheer, gift exchanges, well-deserved time off and controversial fruit cake! We all know it – the office tradition of end-of-year holiday celebrations or ‘staff parties’ are commonly held to show appreciation to staff members. As employers and managers it’s your responsibility to host a celebration that is inclusive no matter what holiday your employees celebrate. In December it’s common for offices, and businesses to highlight the Christmas Season. But, it’s also important to recognize the diversities and multi-cultures that exist within the workplace.
The winter season can be an emotional time for many. And, the way that employers handle the holiday season can have an impact on the employee experience throughout the following year. If even a small number of workers feel excluded, it can have a negative impact on a company’s overall productivity. That being said, what are the steps forward into making sure your employees feel safe and respected? Here’s how you do it:
Inclusivity in the Work Environment: How Do We Do It?
When it comes to having a multicultural and diverse work environment, Christmas celebrations might generate conflicting emotions. It’s imperative to ensure inclusivity so that all of your staff members can have a good time.
Get to Know Your Employees
Start with the basics and make the effort to get to know your employees. Inclusivity in a work environment is about more than just changing titles and labels to fit a shifting society. It’s about taking the time to understand your employees’ unique traditions and beliefs so that they feel safe to express themselves in the workplace.
In order to create a positive company culture and improve employee engagement, an inclusive approach to diversity plays a huge role in the overall success of your business.
Top Tip: Having your new employees share a brief introduction about themselves or perform an employee survey is an effective way to gather information about their unique beliefs and traditions.
Share the Celebrations
Create a calendar of events, noting Eid al-Fitr, Hanukkah, Diwali and all the other holidays that are important to your employees. Make a team lead specific activities to celebrate these annual holidays and display the multicultural calendar around the office so that employees remain aware of the important cultural and religious events happening throughout the year. This will ensure that everyone feels their individual faiths and beliefs are being acknowledged and appreciated.
Embracing and appreciating an inclusive and diverse culture reinforces the value that all voices are respected and welcomed. A happy workforce will produce a number of benefits for your company, along with increasing employee retention.
Make Inclusivity a Priority During the Christmas Season
Keep in mind that not everyone will be celebrating Christmas in the same way that Christians do – yet that doesn’t mean that people won’t be participating in some Christmas rituals, whether it’s exchanging gifts, gathering with family and friends, or hanging Christmas lights. It’s important to avoid making assumptions about how people choose to celebrate Christmas.
Be adaptable and treat the needs of different employees with respect and care. When it comes to celebrating unique religious holidays or traditions that are outside of your own awareness, manage these celebrations with flexibility. Depending on the needs of your organization, consider offering flexible hours as part of your paid holiday schedule. After all, not everyone will be celebrating with family and friends during the Christmas season.
Remember That Christmas is not a Magical Time for Everyone
As mentioned before, the Christmas season can be an emotionally charged experience for many people who are away from their family or who don’t have immediate family members to celebrate with. Not to mention the financial pressure that comes along with the holiday season.
Be mindful of how you support your employees’ mental health and well-being. It’s an ideal time to recommend mental health resources and encourage help from the organization’s network. Create a healthy work environment that allows your staff to feel safe and supported.
Making Your Corporate Christmas Inclusive
Christmas is an excellent time to reflect and engage with your colleagues, employees and business associates. Take the time to reinforce your organization’s commitment to creating an inclusive environment for all members of the team. With all the celebration and socializing, it’s the perfect opportunity to bring people together and remind everyone of your company’s values and goals. There are many people who struggle with this time of year. Let’s encourage teams to participate in volunteering or giving back to the community in any way they can.
Here Are a Few Ideas on How You can Send Corporate Gifts in an Inclusive Way!
- Have a diverse range of gift options to ensure that your organization is giving gifts that truly represent their employees.
- Language matters. Instead of saying ‘Merry Christmas’ on your gift card. Say something like, ‘happy holidays’ or ‘sending well-wishes’, so that everyone feels comfortable and acknowledged for their individual beliefs.
- Include gifts that suit all diets and religious beliefs. Options such as vegetarian snacks and non-alcoholic food are essential to creating an inclusive corporate gift campaign.
- Consider sending gifts around the New Year as a way to acknowledge the progress of the year, without it being tied to one specific holiday.
We hope you enjoyed reading this blog post informing you of the best ways to celebrate corporate Christmas, while being inclusive of all of your employees’ faiths, beliefs and traditions!
Now that you’ve learned about Corporate Christmas and Being Inclusive in the workplace, what’s next?
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- Or read our gift blog!
Born and raised in her beloved mother city Cape Town, Amy-Paige Cox is a writer, poet and plant mom. A hopeless romantic at heart, she loves exploring different parts of the world, all the while documenting her ever-changing perspectives with pen and paper. Although tempted by numerous interests, her life-long goal is to be a globe-trotting children’s book author.