Practicing Inclusivity During the Holidays

Lisa L. Mueller
Casimir Jones S.C.

The holidays are a great opportunity to create community, share traditions and celebrate successes, but they can also create a difficult environment for some if the events, language and general attitudes are not inclusive. Here are some important reminders to make this time of year inclusive as we head into the holiday season.

Start with an inclusive mindset – Ask employees what they want when it comes to celebrations and other year-end activities. The best way to ensure inclusive celebrations take place is to create a celebration committee made up of a cross-section of employees that represent the entire team.

Be accommodating – Some members of your team might observe important days that are not part of a typical organizational calendar. Explore offering floating holidays or flextime if allowable. Also recognize that some team members might not feel comfortable celebrating various events with their entire team. Considering making it an organizational expectation that attendance at festivities is not mandatory.

Create your own holiday – There is no better way to celebrate your organization’s successes than with a day just for you! Just like AUTM celebrates Bayh-Dole Day, you too can celebrate important days in your organization’s history.

Communicate clearly – Many holidays are associated with religious beliefs and it is important to remember that people celebrate a variety of holidays, and some may choose not to celebrate at all. Be cautious with how you communicate holiday celebrations with your team, to avoid offending.

Keep improving – Following your celebrations, be sure to find out what worked and what didn’t. Helping your co-workers feel heard and making a plan for future observances creates a more welcoming environment.

Remember, the holidays are meant to be a time for friends and family; a season of happiness and giving. By incorporating inclusive practices into your celebrations, you show respect for your employees as individuals and as a team.