How inclusive are your work’s end-of-year holiday plans?

Include everyone — an end-of-year holiday HR best practice guide

It’s the holiday season, and everyone is excited about that much-needed end-of-year break and celebrating the season with family, friends, and work colleagues. But how inclusive are the holiday plans when it comes to enjoying the festivities at work?

Here, global employment experts, Remote shares its internal playbook for approaching the holiday season at work in an inclusive way that celebrates everyone in your team. 

The end-of-year season (and all the celebrations that come along with it) are a challenge for businesses looking to operate in a more inclusive way. While fun, for some, they are a time of stress and confusion, especially if your employees are part of a fully remote, global team. 

Research shows that inclusivity and diversity are factors in running a successful business with a happy and empowered work culture. Efforts of inclusion extend to celebrations, particularly at the end of the year when many different cultures celebrate different holidays. 

With this in mind, Remote (a fully remote team of more than 900 employees spread across more than 65 countries) shares its tried-and-tested tips on prioritising inclusivity over the holidays. 

After all, why build up a great team of people only to leave them feeling left out during a time of togetherness?

Remote’s eight playbook tips for holiday inclusivity

  • Be time-zone inclusive. If you have a global team, make sure you account for employees in different time zones who may have less coverage support than those in larger time zone locations and ensure they have a turn to take time off. 
  • Offer floating holidays. Not everybody celebrates the same occasions. Reflect this in your holiday policy by allowing employees to choose which religious holidays they want to celebrate with paid time off. 
  • Create a holiday calendar. Highlight all religious, awareness, and inclusion days and events with a company-wide holiday calendar. Send out internal communications about upcoming holidays and encourage employees to share how they celebrate. Just remember — don’t disclose the beliefs of your employees in these communications yourself. If employees want to share, that is up to them.
  • Recognise your employees’ preferences. Every employee is different. Some may love the buzz of an office party, while others may prefer a more relaxed event. Make sure everyone is given a say in how they’d like to celebrate this holiday season and clarify that attendance is always optional.
  • Ramp up flexibility. During the holidays, people are more likely to travel or have obligations outside of work. Flexible hours are always a good thing, but allowing team members more freedom when they sign on or off can help them navigate family trips, school events, and all the other complicated planning that happens with end-of-year celebrations. 
  • Create a diverse party-planning committee. Leaving your party up to a committee can relieve some pressure. Still, you’ll need to ensure that the committee represents your business’s diverse makeup and the spectrum of values and beliefs within it. 
  • Celebrate success. Hold a party to celebrate your employees and their achievements, and take a moment to reflect together. The event doesn’t have to be focused on a specific day or celebration — it’s all about the people in your business. 
  • Different cultures celebrate different holidays. Be mindful during the end-of-year season, and don’t make any assumptions about whether they would take time off based on someone’s religion (or location).

Three ground rules for every work event 

  1. No one gets left out. It may be challenging to create events that accommodate remote and in-office workers, people from different cultures, and people who like other things, but don’t let that stop you. Inclusivity is key, so if you’re managing a hybrid or global team, have you organised an event that everyone can attend?
  2. Variety is the spice of life. Not everyone drinks alcohol, enjoys the same foods, or likes the same games. Give people options to ensure everyone feels welcome, and send a quick poll to see your team’s dietary and drink requirements when planning the events. 
  3. Show your appreciation. It’s not often that everyone gets to gather together to have fun, so use this opportunity to show people they are valued and appreciated. End-of-year awards are nice, but make sure everyone leaves feeling like their presence and contributions are valued.

Inclusivity is essential for business and people

If your office lacks diversity, or you’re yet to consider inclusivity initiatives, it’s time to question why this is. Diversity and inclusion initiatives aren’t just awesome for your employees; they’re beneficial for your business, too. 

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