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.

Are You Competent…With Culture?

In today’s diverse work environments, Cultural Competence is an absolute essential for success. While we know we should practice it, we don’t often don’t understand what Cultural Competence means.

Before we can fully understand it, we need to get the basics down: “‘Culture’ refers to integrated patterns of human behavior that include the language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious, or social groups. ‘Competence’ implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual and an organization within the context of the cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs presented by consumers and their communities” (, adapted from Cross, 1989). (more…)

Ethics, Part Deux

Last week, we discussed what a “good work ethic” looks like in the workplace, and we asked the tough question, “What are you doing to implement good work ethics in your organization?”

On the road to proving that good work ethic isn’t dead, we need to put those ethics into practice and take a look at the bigger picture: How do your ethics affect your employees and customers? If your employees and customers were to give you a review on your work ethic…do you know how you would measure up in their eyes?

It comes down to respect and dignity for your employees and your customers. Unfortunately, there are very few companies out there that truly adhere to these good work ethics.  A recently-published article by 24/7 Wall St. titled “America’s Worst Companies to Work For” proves that ethics are hard to come by; employees anonymously reviewed their employers via, and the results were staggering. (more…)