When celebrating any religious holiday within a multicultural workplace, it is important to make participation optional. The decision-making process to celebrate this type of holiday should focus on ensuring that each individual beliefs are respected. Try to celebrate different types of festivities so everyone will feel included. Employees should not feel excluded if they choose not to participate due to their beliefs. Here are a few things to consider when celebrating office holidays:
Greetings – Try to avoid religious sentiments like “Merry Christmas” or “God Bless You” instead use generalized greetings, such as “seasons greetings” and “happy holidays”.
Decorations – These should be kept moderate and tasteful. Stay away from noisy singing figures and excess use of lighting this may be blinding, garish and not to mention distracting. Decorations for individual desks and cubicles should also be kept simple to avoid disturbing co-workers or overwhelming clients.
Music – Music should be tasteful and kept in the background, if used at all. This too should not be disturbing or distracting staff or clients.
Dress code – Multi-coloured sweaters with flashing lights and jingling Santa hats that light up can be overwhelming. Instead, select a theme for your office, such as “red and white” or a “touch of gold.” This way, everyone is co-ordinated and tastefully dressed.
Gifts – A gift exchange event such as secret Santa is fun. However, participation should be optional. It is polite to still offer non-participants gifts as well; this way they don’t feel forgotten. It is a season of giving and receiving.
While these considerations should place any workplace in good ethical standing for celebrating the holidays, there are a few situations where overkill is acceptable.
For example, if you operate a store where holidays (Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, etc.) are the core of business then you have free reign in the décor, music and dress code departments.
Celebrating the holiday within a multicultural workplace can sometimes be tricky. However, as long as we thoughtfully consider all staff members when planning celebrations, the holidays can be an enjoyable time for everyone.
Natasha | DBPC Blog