Between themed decorations, movies, foods, and greetings, it is often easy to spot when holiday seasons arrive in the United States. The period between November and December is when many individuals gather with friends and family, acknowledging various religious and cultural holidays – and oftentimes, celebrations can take place in the workplace as well.
Understanding that colleagues may engage in traditions in differing ways, and striving to ensure that all feel included and supported in their workplaces, here are some strategies to engage with your team during the winter holiday season:
- Develop relationships with colleagues & ask what the winter season brings them and what celebrations look like in their homes. These conversations can often show that we are authentically interested in how others embrace this winter season – and can lead to robust dialogue and moments of learning. However, before asking, ensure that a relationship has been built, and utilize emotional intelligence to ask in thoughtful and inclusive ways.
- Ensure that decorations are inclusive in nature and not only representative of one holiday, as not all members of a team may celebrate in the same way. If your office space is also visible to members of the public, this also helps to ensure that you are as inclusive as possible to those who may enter.
- Be mindful of language; not everyone resonates with “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.” Encourage members of your team to share season’s greetings in their preferred manner, as this showcases thoughtfulness and embracing of differences.
- Plan accomplishment-based celebrations in lieu of holiday-based ones; an ‘end of year’ luncheon celebrates all members of the team wherein a holiday-focused event excludes those who do not celebrate holidays this time of year. Celebrations need not be holiday-focused to be meaningful for team members! Acknowledging a successful year can be just as impactful and can serve as a great morale-booster and team-builder. Above all, members of a team want to feel valued and appreciated.
- Acknowledge that others may celebrate during different times of the year. If you are a manager, ensure that employee participation is voluntary at events and nothing punitive will occur if an employee respectfully elects not to attend. While many celebrate special holidays during November and December, other parts of the year might be more meaningful for those we work with; ensure that all celebratory events are voluntary and welcoming in nature.
Supporting one another during all times of the year is essential – and the winter season is no exception. Consider implementing these tips in striving to ensure that your workplace is as inclusive, welcoming, and joyful as possible!