3 Tips for Being Inclusive During the Holidays

Higher Ed Leadership Series

Inclusivity around the holidays has been a hot topic for the past few years. How do you ensure you are creating space for everyone within your team to feel included? At the same time, how do you make sure no one feels pressured to celebrate in any particular way?

Here are 3 tips to help you make this holiday season more inclusive for your team or department:

1) Ask your team what they want

The best way to know how everyone would prefer to celebrate? Ask them! Is there any concern with celebrating the holidays? If not, what type of holiday decor would they like to see in the workplace? How would they like to observe various holidays throughout the month? If you’re planning a holiday party, be sure to ask for input from those with various religious backgrounds or observances.

2) Keep company celebrations separate from holiday activities

It is common (and recommended!) to have a year-end celebration to recognize your team for their hard work. To ensure everyone feels included in this celebration, make it a separate event from any office holiday parties. That way, you won’t be excluding anyone, or pressuring anyone to attend a holiday event.

(In need of virtual holiday party ideas? Check out this blog post from Powers Resource Center!)

3) Encourage team members to share how they celebrate

While you don’t want to pressure anyone into sharing their religious beliefs, opening the conversation is an important pathway to inclusion. Encourage your team members, if they feel comfortable, to share what holidays they celebrate and how they celebrate.

Better yet, make it a potluck and have everyone bring a staple dish from their holiday celebrations! They could also share other non-meal related traditions or artifacts. 

The heightened focus on DEI in recent years has led to a lot of progress related to workplace inclusivity. I would encourage you to review the calendar to identify other times of year when celebrating important dates would increase your team’s inclusiveness even more.

LaToya Jordan, Leadership Development Coach

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