Tips for a Diverse and Happy Holiday

Respecting variances in religion and culture is something we should all practice in our day to day lives, both in professional settings and outside of the workplace. In a recent blog post, we discussed the importance of practicing being impeccable with our words and being a model of civility and respect in an increasingly diverse nation and workforce. With the holidays upon us, it is a perfect time to reflect and embrace the cultural differences that make our country the wonderful melting pot that it is.

Here is an old favorite that we pulled from our archives, a message from our fearless leader and President, the message no less important today as it was years ago:

The holiday season is a great time to celebrate our differences and the variety of traditions we come from.  For myself, I grew up with some Norwegian traditions including a “tasty” fish called Lutefisk.  If you’re not sure what Lutefisk is, think of watery Jell-O® with a slight fishy taste. Your office may have created your own traditions including an annual holiday party.

I believe a holiday party is a wonderful social event for an organization, but the same party can create uncomfortable or illegal situations.  Many of us of have heard or witnessed situations where an employee was alienated, made to feel uncomfortable, or was blatantly harassed at a company party.

Prior to throwing your annual holiday party, I encourage all managers (whether they are planning the party or not) to think over some hot issue avoidance.

First, be respectful of those individuals with different religious beliefs and avoid referencing specific holidays. Differences in religion and culture should always be respected, particularly during the holiday season.

Second, remind all employees that company policy regarding harassment and alcoholic consumption still apply during the party and that failure to observe those policies will result in discipline. Along with promoting a designated driver program, consider offering a taxi or car service to employees who feel they drank too much at the party.

Finally, try to include all employees at your organization and as a manager, you must set the proper example and interact with all of your employees (not just those you get along with).

Following these basic tips will help you have a safe and fun holiday.  If you have any questions on how to write a holiday party notice, you don’t have to go it alone, give us a call.