I wrote an article back in 2007 titled Diversity During the Holidays—What Are Your Organization’s Winter Traditions? During that time, many organizations had been exploring different options to create a more welcoming and respectful work environment during the holiday season, inclusive of all their employees and people they served. Holidays celebrated during the months of November, December and January include Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Milad Un Nabi, Solstice, New Year, and more.
Some things being tried ten years ago in organizations were:
- Have a winter traditions gathering and invites all employees to share their winter traditions.
- Employees bring food dishes from their different cultural backgrounds to be shared, along with the recipes.
- Print descriptions of the different religious holidays that are celebrated and display in a hallway or break room.
- Employees can decorate their personal work spaces as they like and are encouraged to discuss the different customs and symbols with each other as a way of sharing their diversity.
- In public spaces holiday decorations may include trees with white lights and a festive winter scene of snow people and sparkling snowflakes (at least in the Northern states!).
How have things changed since 2007? There was much focus and energy spent on creating a workplace culture in which all employees and customers felt welcomed and valued, instead of some feeling excluded. Now at the end of 2016, has that been accomplished?
Perhaps your organization has successfully made the transition to a more inclusive work environment during the holiday season. Or perhaps your organization has not felt the need to change from its traditional Christmas festivities in the workplace. When changes are made in a workplace, such as transitioning away from Christmas decorations and Christmas music to something more inclusive, there may be push back. It is critical that upper management communicate to all employees the reason for the changes, namely to remind them that not everyone observes the same traditions, and that all employees have a personal responsibility to respect the diversity of their co-workers and customers.
Wishing you all a joyous holiday season!
Season’s greetings ~ Merry Christmas ~ Festive Solstice ~ Holy Hanukkah ~ Happy Milad Un Nabi ~ Happy Kwanzaa ~ Happy Holidays!
Copyright © 2016 Lila Kelly Associates, LLC. Integrating Diversity into Recruiting, Interviewing, Hiring and Retention – Since 1992. Not to be reprinted without written permission from Lila Kelly. To stay up to date on all the latest from Lila Kelly Associates and DiversityIntegration.com, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.