Holidays come with many family traditions, old family recipes and can often bring back nostalgic memories. They are the few days a year when people are able to pause from their day-to-day life and truly enjoy leisure time with loved ones. Although we often think of “the holiday season” as being Thanksgiving and Christmas, this time of year is also home to many other holidays of various religions, such as Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Bodhi Day, Chinese New Year, etc. These days hold just as much importance and meaning to the people who celebrate them.
During this time of year, offices usually host Thanksgiving and Christmas parties along with other festivities, such as Secret Snowflake or white elephant. Although this is all done with good intentions and meant for fun, it can often leave those who celebrate different holidays feeling excluded and unappreciated. Since there are so many other holidays during this time of year, it’s so important to be inclusive of every religion and what every employee celebrates to maintain a healthy work environment.
According to data that we have collected, only 37% of employees say that they feel valued and like they belong at their organization and only 31% feel as though the leaders at their organization create a sense of belonging for all employees. According to these statistics, the majority of employees don’t feel accepted in their workplace, causing a strain on general work productivity. There are ways that these numbers can change and a place to start is by celebrating all holidays and avoiding putting the focus on just one. This makes every employee feel as though they are a part of the team and can participate in the festivities that are held at the office. This feeling of inclusion from employees goes a long way. Since holidays can hold so much meaning for someone, having a workplace that accepts and celebrates any religion lays a foundation for general inclusivity and acceptance.
The holiday season can be a difficult time and can also bring up a mix of emotions due to COVID-19 restrictions, family loss, stress, anxiety, etc. No one knows what a co-worker is experiencing at home with family or personally. Keeping this in mind when celebrating holidays at work is crucial in creating a sense of safety and belonging in a workplace. Refer to our recorded webinar about recognizing mental health issues to understand ways to help employees during this time of year.
As a way to help organizations make an inclusive and safe work environment during the holidays, Emtrain’s founder and CEO, Janine Yancey, created a five-step guide that companies can easily follow. It provides employers with things they can do to celebrate the holidays while keeping in mind how employees feel and maintaining a healthy workplace.