Right about now, you’re possibly making the ever stressful trips to toy stores or gift shops, determined to give children, friends or family the kind of Christmas we’ve all spent the last two years hoping for.
Christmas certainly has plenty to gladden the heart at a time of year when we’re facing darker nights, drearier days, and something of a slog toward spring sunshine.
But do all of your staff care whether it’s on the calendar? And do they want you enticing them into festivities and activities which some, one or none of your colleagues think is at all relevant to their world?
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The tricky thing about seasonal celebrations and the office world, is that there will always be avid fanatics of opportunities to dress up, adorn your home, and partake in rituals and pastimes which have historic significance.
But that’s just not true of everyone.
For cultural, religious, or just plain old ‘bah-humbug’ reasons, there’s many an employee who either doesn’t want to celebrate the likes of Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or Halloween… or just doesn’t want to do so as part of a ‘staff crowd’.
Treading careful on this matter is really important.
No employee should ever have to feel that they’re being coerced into a specific kind of festive acknowledgment, not least because they don’t want to be outed as the person who happens to have an opposing view or attitude toward that annual occasion.
So what should you do when it comes to festive celebrations of this nature?
Is it better to ignore it entirely, or are there ways of incorporating opportunities for seasonal fun, without causing offence or compromise to a number of your team? Here are some ideas for you to consider to get the balance right.
1) One great workaround is to think it forward. At the start of the year and on an annual basis, you might want to ask staff to cite which occasions and opportunities they would like the company to get involved in celebrating. This gives you a great sense of likely participation and the overall ‘mood music’. If it is a favoured event with many, you can even consider a small ‘sub team’ to look at how the business celebrates it.
2) Always take into account the cultural, religious and social dynamics of your team. Whether it’s related to Christmas or Halloween, no individual should feel shunned or coerced or at odds with their beliefs. Be mindful not to fall foul of direct or indirect discrimination.
3) If you are going to embrace an occasion in the calendar (small or large, national or global), ask your team for suggestions on what form of participation is best. Given many staff are still working from home, might you be doing a fancy-dress party night over Zoom or Teams?
4) If you host a party and some employees request not to attend, seek to compensate this by gesturing a gift to enable them to feel included. There may be many reasons why someone is unable to attend: dependents, ill health, religious beliefs, social anxiety. Just because they are unable to attend, doesn’t meant they have to miss out. There are lots of hamper companies, bespoke gift specialists, or those who can suggest packages which are right for a particular budget and the location or lifestyle of an individual.
5) Let your staff be involved in how your brand and business celebrates the occasion online and in your social media channels. There may be some staff who particularly like exercising their creativity to get some engagement from fellow employees, which can in turn be used on social channels.
Whatever you’re doing this Christmas – MAD-HR wishes you a very happy celebration. Need assistance with HR in your business? Contact MAD-HR today.