Hosting A Holiday Party That Includes Everyone

Holiday party season is in full swing. But before yours arrives, ask yourself: is it inclusive for all your employees? Just as in the company’s day-to-day culture, inclusivity is an important component for any holiday celebrations. The end of the calendar year brings with it a fair amount of religious days, including many that are not Christian. In order to support an inclusive environment, holiday party planning needs to acknowledge this.

In this blog we share ideas on making sure your company’s holiday party considers the diversity of your team’s beliefs all the while providing an opportunity to celebrate, bond, and have a great time.

An inclusive party is the best party

  • Check the calendar. There are a number of non-Christian religious holidays in the month of December and acknowledging them is important. This is especially true in regards to parties and awarding time-off.
  • Rebrand the event. Avoid ‘Christmas party’ and instead call it a holiday party, or year-end celebration.
  • Neutral décor. This ties in to the above. Some popular holiday décor is distinctly traditional of Christmas, such as Santa and a Christmas tree. Sticking to a wintry theme (such as snowflakes) is a great substitute.
  • Forgo Secret Santa. If a secret gift exchange is in-demand, call it simply that and make it optional. And we’d also recommend providing a gift card to participants so they do not have to spend their own money.
  • Make party planning a group effort. A planning committee is a great way to help ensure an inclusive celebration, just take care to monitor the group in order to avoid one voice overpowering the collaboration (remember the committee in The Office?).

Non-religious considerations

  • Consider your team’s physical abilities. In short, make sure the venue is accessible for everyone.
  • Voluntary attendance. Do not make attendance mandatory, especially if the venue is off-site our outside of regular business hours.
  • Don’t forget virtual employees! You likely already have ideas for including virtual staff after the last few years. This may include a scheduled time in the celebration for in-office staff to say hello to virtual staff and even play a game or two together. Group activities are great for virtual staff, where casual chatting presents a challenge.
  • Menu customization. Make sure to inquire about dietary restrictions before placing the food order!

Inclusive tips for the future

  • Floating holidays. Again, back to the holiday calendar. If your company has traditionally offered time off for Christian holiday, such as Easter and Christmas, it’s time to broaden the policy and allow time off for other religious holidays. One way to do this is to adopt a policy that allocates each employee x amount of days off per year for acknowledging the religious day of their choosing. You’ll just want to make sure you’re providing an adequate amount of days per year.
  • Reconsider the focus on ‘holidays.’ As mentioned previously, you could host a year-end party or even choose to celebrate the fiscal new year in January. However, note that we’re not suggesting avoiding all religiously-affiliated celebrations, rather making space to include the cultural traditions of the entire team.

An inclusive holiday party can do wonders in supporting a positive company culture. Not only is it an occasion for management to acknowledge a diverse team, it also serves to strengthen the bond of employees. Which is invaluable for any team.

Need help in establishing a positive company culture that encourages bonding and therefore fun holiday parties automatically (at least, very close).  Eos HR is here to help! We offer small businesses an experienced HR department that know how to support their teams. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.