The holiday season is upon us and people are bustling about in eager anticipation of time spent with family, celebrating their holiday traditions. Last week we discussed some tips on how to maintain a level of respect for coworkers and colleagues when celebrating the holidays in the workplace. This time of year is a great reminder of how we each come from different cultural backgrounds. These differences should be celebrated, accepted, and should provide us an opportunity to get to know each other better, not create battle lines.
The basic definition of culture is a set of beliefs or customs pertaining to a particular group. All of our traditions and beliefs that go with this joyous season are part of our cultural make up. These differences, no matter how great or small, should be celebrated.
Rather than basic neutrality, this season should be defined by strengthening relationships with one another. To clarify, this means that everyone, regardless of their beliefs or traditions, should feel welcome to celebrate their background. The neutral terminology stems from this desire to ensure that no one feels left out.
Religious beliefs and customs become more prominent during the winter holidays. In the workplace, it is important that members of management and HR professionals be alert to employee needs and be open to accommodations. Make sure that managers are aware of how to handle requests for religious accommodations. To encourage the acceptance of various religious traditions and customs, educate employees on various religious customs and holidays to aid in understanding these different customs and traditions.
We all have beliefs and traditions that we hold close which have become integral parts of who we are. Recognizing those differences can either divide us or bring us closer together. Each of us has the responsibility, especially in the workplace, to demonstrate respect to each other.
This time of year is a great time to practice respect and dignity for everyone you come into contact with. Keep in mind that understanding and listening to someone else’s viewpoint doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with them. Take the time to learn to celebrate the diverse traditions, customs, and beliefs that are unique to each of us this time of year.