Let’s face it, we all have favorite employees and coworkers and regardless of whether we want to admit it or not, we all have certain biases, as unconscious as they may be. Once we start recognizing that we are always going to be inclined to like certain individuals more than others, we can start overcoming the biases that come along with it.
Especially with the holidays looming, now is a perfect time for us as managers and leaders to take an honest look at our own biases and how they affect our day-to-day interactions. This reflection should include identifying why we get along with some of our coworkers/employees and not others. Additionally, we should take a hard look as to why we don’t have a natural affinity for certain individuals. Finally, in our self-evaluation we need to take a cold, hard look at those biases and ensure they are not influencing our interactions.
I believe we have all been on the other side of the coin in that we have had less than ideal interactions with those in authority over us and we can’t seem to ever get anything right. Now take those same feelings and compare them to some of your direct reports or coworkers. Is it possible that your biases are causing them to fail or at the very least are limiting their chances for success?
During this holiday season and in the upcoming new year, take the time to self-evaluate and think about what you can do differently to ensure that everyone you interact with has a positive experience. Ensure that you are providing all of your employees with equal treatment and the same opportunities to succeed. To summarize, eliminate your naughty or nice list and focus on true objective evaluations while recognizing your own biases.
On oldie but a goodie, we would like to share with you a message from our President, David C. Noland, that he shared with our clients and colleagues in December, 2013:
The holiday season is upon us and people are bustling about in eager anticipation of time spent with family, celebrating their holiday traditions. 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. Each 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.
As an HR Professional, I am asked this time of year about maintaining the neutrality of the holiday season. 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 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. I encourage each of you to take the time to learn to celebrate the diverse traditions, customs, and beliefs that are unique to each of us this time of year.
HRCentral wishes you and your families and safe and joyous holiday season!
In recent news, a former news anchor for a popular morning show was recently terminated due to allegations of inappropriate, sexual behavior in the workplace. One of the examples of behavior that was given was his once giving a colleague an “adult toy” as a present. When considering what gifts to bestow on your coworkers at holiday parties this season, use this situation as an example of what NOT to do!
With the holiday season upon us, many organizations are gearing up for parties to celebrate the holidays with their employees. A common tradition is gift giving, with white elephant and name draw gift exchanges being popular types of activities. While exchanging presents at parties or during this time of year can be a fun way of letting loose and having a good laugh, there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting your gift to ensure that boundaries are maintained and no lines are crossed:
- Clarify a Price Point – To ensure all employees get somewhat fair gifts with regards to “quality” set a price range for everyone to abide by (say $10 – $20) to help make certain no one feels left out when they receive a keychain and the person next to them gets a $50 gift card.
- Maintain Appropriate Standards – Stay PG rated and steer clear from anything that may unnecessarily offend (such as religion-based gifts) or from items that you are uncertain if everyone would like (e.g., giving a set of pint glasses for a sports team that not everyone is a fan of).
- Avoid Unfair Treatment – If the company as a whole is doing a gift exchange that everyone is participating in, that is a great way to strengthen camaraderie. If not, and if individual gifts are being exchanged, do so in private and make sure to not do anything that would leave anyone out (particularly as a manager giving gifts to your employees, or only certain ones).
Holiday gift giving can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow a few guidelines to make certain that everyone is comfortable and enjoys themselves which will make this season at work fun and engaging for all!
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.
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. (more…)