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3 Quick Tips: How to Show Respect to All Employees During the Holiday Season

By YWCA Minneapolis Racial Justice and Public Policy Team
December 5, 2019
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From critiques on red cups to proper décor, it can be tricky to strike a balance between being festive and honoring during this holiday season. There are over 20 holidays between November 1 and January 30 which reflect over six faith and cultural backgrounds. Is it realistic for your organization to celebrate them all? What does it mean to be culturally responsive and inclusive during the holiday season?

This month, we have three quick tips for you when it comes to practicing inclusivity at the workplace during the holidays.

1. Remember that not all holidays line up with a Gregorian Calendar

Historically speaking, most work calendars are set to honor Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. Thanksgiving often marks the beginning of the “traditional” holiday season for those who use Western calendars. However, many holidays throughout October and January reflect a lunar calendar and reflect sun-down to sun-up schedules or may shift slightly based on the month. Be mindful of this timing before planning that ugly sweater contest. Having an interfaith calendar helps avoid scheduling snafus!

2. Think of creative ways to decorate that are seasonal rather than religious

While this one may seem a little more obvious, it’s worth noting. Often, workplaces try to accommodate all faiths by displaying multiple religious symbols in a holiday season. Instead, decorate to reflect the season. Be mindful of how some colors are most associated with certain faith or cultural backgrounds. Decorating for the season, rather than a holiday, also respects individuals who may not practice a faith tradition.

3. Offer flexible time off

As mentioned earlier, not everyone has the same holiday calendar or time off for family celebrations. A great way to be inclusive is to offer “floating” paid-time-off days (PTO) for employees during the holiday season. Some organizations are working on initiatives for unlimited PTO or allowing workers to set their own schedules. A good starting point is to consider establishing a ‘holiday bank’ for time off like sick time or paid leave that an employee can use at their discretion. For organizations that consider this option, make sure to consider how this would apply to hourly employees as well.

Helping Employees Feel Seen, Respected and Appreciated

Working toward true inclusion in our professional environments helps employees to feel truly seen, heard, respected and appreciated. And that is one of the best gifts an employer can give during the holiday season.

Want to learn more about inclusivity in the workplace? Our Inc.lude™ Diversity and Inclusion Consulting empowers your business to build more inclusive and productive workplaces for all your employees.

Learn more about Inc.ludeTM Consulting