3 Ways Executives Can Make Workplace Holiday Celebrations More Inclusive

by: Taryn Siegele

The holiday season can be a joyous time for many, but can cause stress for those from different cultures or backgrounds that feel excluded from traditional North American celebrations. For a successful workplace, you want your entire staff to feel included. Ensuring this during the holidays is an important task, and one that can feel daunting if you don’t know where to start.

What You Need To Know

According to a PEW survey, while 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas, 54% of them celebrate it as a non-religious, cultural holiday instead of a faith-based tradition. In addition, there are large populations that celebrate Hannukah, Kwanzaa, or other winter holidays. Developing a greater awareness of the different cultural holidays celebrated by employees can help minimize the risk of someone feeling left out.

Why It Matters

When employees feel included, work productivity increases. According to Team Gather, “A balance of perspectives leads to more innovation, 87% better decisions, and often prevents big mistakes. However, it’s unlikely that your diverse talent will share their perspectives and ideas if they don’t feel included.” If someone begins to feel left out during workplace holiday celebrations, it can lead to problems further down the line. Here are some tips to make sure everyone is feeling included during this holiday season:

1. Planning & Education

The first step is for the organization leadership to create a list & calendar of all cultural and religious holidays observed. By understanding what’s being celebrated and when those celebrations take place, you can plan things like company time off (and proactively offer alternate days to those that wish to observe non-Chrirstmas holidays), major office events (ensuring they don’t take place when some staff may not be in-office), and adjust internal email & messaging so that all holidays are given equal airtime and priority.

2. Take Charge

If your high-level executives don’t lead the cultural shift, your inclusive effort may fall short. Setting the example of what is expected and accepted leads to quicker, more widespread adoption of an inclusive culture. Change starts at the top.

3. Encourage Group Participation

Encourage all of your employees to join in on the different celebrations, not just those who celebrate it because of their background or culture. Sharing diverse cultures amongst the team can promote inclusion and understanding. This allows members to have a voice and show pride in their diverse backgrounds.

Why It Matters

Building an inclusive workplace isn’t a destination, but an ongoing, never-ending journey. Ensuring your employees feel included during the holidays is an important part of that journey. Like anything in business, it takes time, but the effort will be appreciated by your employees, leading to a happier, merrier holiday season for everyone.

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3 Ways Executives Can Make Workplace Holiday Celebrations More Inclusive