As we all strive to build a workplace that works for all, employers are looking to be more inclusive when it comes to celebrating the holiday season. Bringing more diversity to the season’s revelries helps build a workplace culture that allows people, no matter their background, to feel seen, heard and respected at work.
This means welcoming and making space for new and different voices, faiths, political beliefs and more. In a nutshell, not everyone in your office is going to celebrate Christmas this December, and that’s okay.
Fostering an inclusive workplace environment goes beyond replacing “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays.” It can mean celebrating with your coworkers who have different holidays than you. By simply taking the time to understand and learn about the beliefs and traditions of others, you are creating a more inclusive workplace culture. People in your space who are accustomed to spending the holiday in different ways can open doors for meaningful connections at work.
This year, think about making your office holiday celebrations nondenominational, including recognition of all kinds of holidays associated with the month of December. This can be an easy task if you invite people of differing religions and practices to participate in planning.
Also, think about making your office holiday party voluntary. Many court cases have arisen when employees complain about being required to attend an event they feel is incompatible with their religion—for example the 2014 case of an employee who sued the Los Angeles Police Department for being required to attend a Christian prayer event although he was an openly practicing Wiccan.
Steer clear of making your employees and coworkers feel left out or ignored this holiday season and invite them to share what makes their December or New Year so special.
It’s easy to create a memorable event for the whole team and a better workplace for all. Happy Holidays!