Running Your Business

3 Tips for Maintaining Cultural Sensitivity During the Holidays


  • It's important for your office to show cultural sensitivity during the holidays

  • Collaborate with HR to reach out to your employees in an effort to learn about the holidays they celebrate

  • Make events less about a specific holiday and more about the act of giving and sense of being together

Posted by December 3, 2017

Whether you leave out Christmas cookies for Santa, light candles on a menorah, celebrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa or don’t celebrate at all, it’s important for your office to demonstrate cultural sensitivity during the holidays. Here are three tips to help you embrace the holiday season at the workplace while still being respectful of employee traditions and religious beliefs.

1. Collaborate With Human Resources

In order to celebrate the holiday season with your employees, you must first understand that not everyone is celebrating the same holiday. To make sure you’re being respectful of various backgrounds in your office celebrations, start by having a conversation with the human resources department.

HR can send out a company-wide email asking employees if they want to share what they do to celebrate the holidays. This is a simple and effective way of discovering your workers’ traditions and letting them know you care.

2. Research Different Cultures

By doing your research and working with HR, you can throw a holiday party that all employees appreciate. For instance, a kosher meat and cheese plate can be enjoyed by everybody, not only those who celebrate Hannukah. Learning more about various holidays and traditions is crucial to properly exhibiting cultural sensitivity at the office.

Another aspect to focus on is decor. Instead of trying to include decorations from every religion or culture, it’s best to remain non-specific and secular. To get into the seasonal spirit, think wintry elements like snowflakes, candles and lights.

3. Emphasize Inclusivity

It’s important to be aware of how various winter holiday celebrations can impact individuals. Try avoiding specific terminology that might not apply to all workers. Instead of planning a “Secret Santa” exchange, you can promote it as an office gift-giving event. Focus less on making workplace events about a specific holiday. Instead, concentrate on the act of giving and sense of being together.

Showing cultural sensitivity in the office can foster a happy and healthy holiday season for your employees.

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