“Learn to enjoy and respect each other’s differences.” – Fred Meijer
December brings a tapestry of celebrations, from religious festivities to moments of reflection and gratitude. In the spirit of inclusivity, this season is an opportune time to embrace communal celebration, foster understanding, and make the holiday season joyful for everyone. This mindset is essential throughout the December holidays and beyond. But where do you start? Here are five ways to ensure harmonious and inclusive celebrations for both religious and non-religious holidays in the workplace.
#1: Create a diverse calendar of celebrations.
Recognize and celebrate the diverse holidays that fall in December (and year-round!) Acknowledge Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, and other cultural and religious observances. Leaders and employees can do this by displaying a communal calendar in shared spaces or through digital channels, ensuring everyone feels seen and appreciated.
#2: Foster open communication.
Encourage open dialogue about holiday celebrations in the workplace. Make a space where employees feel comfortable sharing their traditions and practices. Doing this enhances understanding and allows coworkers to learn from one another and build a stronger sense of community.
#3: Implement inclusive policies.
Recognize the diversity of celebrations by implementing inclusive policies. Offer flexible time-off options, such as floating PTO, allowing employees to observe their specific holidays. For example, consider extending flexibility beyond the typical 24th-26th window, accommodating a range of celebrations throughout the month.
#4: Organize inclusive office events.
Plan inclusive office events that don’t center around a specific holiday. Consider organizing a winter-themed celebration, a charitable activity, or a team-building event focusing on the universal themes of gratitude and togetherness. Events focused on something other than a specific religion or cultural tradition provide a more inclusive environment.
#5: Be mindful of office decorations.
When decorating the office, opt for neutral and inclusive themes. Incorporate winter motifs, such as snowflakes or twinkling lights, rather than religious symbols. This creates a warm and festive atmosphere without unintentionally excluding anyone.
By embracing the diversity of celebrations in December and implementing inclusive practices, workplaces can create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected. This season is not just about specific holidays; it’s about coming together, appreciating differences, and creating shared moments of joy and celebration for everyone. Let this December be a time of unity, reflection, and good food shared among colleagues from all walks of life.
Want to learn more about DEI practices in the workplace? Head to our recent episode of Sundays With Vernā, where Vernā discusses The Future of DEI in Corporate America with David Glasgow and Kenji Yoshino from the Meltzer Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.