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Inclusivity at Christmas: creating a joyous festive period for all employees

Inclusivity at Christmas

Christmas can be equal parts of joy and stress for those who celebrate with long to-buy lists, even lengthier to-do lists and work parties to plan for. 

Whilst the festive period itself marks the end of the corporate year and a time to celebrate and begin winding down, for many employees in the UK, Christmas itself can feel like something they need to take part in – even if it doesn’t reflect their beliefs or culture.

With increasingly-diverse workforces and a stronger focus on inclusivity across all areas of a business, this can present a challenge for people leaders. How can you create a joyous festive period that all employees can enjoy?  

Here are some takeaways and considerations as the festive period gets into full swing. 

‘Christmas’ isn’t a dirty word

First off, it’s important to recognise that Christmas itself isn’t something that can’t be celebrated. 

Too often the discussion surrounding Christmas and inclusivity is followed by some remark that sounds a little like ‘we can’t even celebrate Christmas anymore’.  

That’s 100% not the case. Inclusivity considerations around Christmas are more about making sure that everyone connected to your organisation, whatever their faith, culture, backgrounds and beliefs, can participate in festive celebrations in a way that’s equally enjoyable. 

Christmas jumper day, for example, can still be a fun thing to do in the office – just ensure it isn’t mandatory, or that people who don’t want to partake are made to feel left out or alienated. 

Focus on joint celebration 

A festive get-together can be more about a joint celebration than it is about Christmas itself. The end of the year is a fantastic opportunity to come together as an organisation, celebrate each other’s successes, and think ahead to the future too. 

It’s a chance for a company to thank the staff for their efforts throughout the last 12 months and celebrate the people that create the culture that everyone is proud to be a part of.

Plan events that everyone can enjoy

Some people love a great big office party with Christmas music, lots of cocktails and a roast dinner. Others would prefer a quieter team lunch instead. 

Making arrangements that all employees can equally enjoy is a key part of planning an inclusive festive period. 

For example, not everyone drinks – whether for religious or personal reasons – so Christmas events that centre around consuming alcohol may not be appropriate (though some corporate events like cocktail classes do also include non-alcoholic options these days!).

The timing of festive plans also matters. Employees with younger children or remote staff that lives miles away may find it difficult to come to an out-of-hours event, whilst younger of lower-paid employees may feel priced out of a corporate function if a lot of travel or an overnight stay is required. 

Let employees plan for themselves 

Alleviate almost all the headaches that usually accompany planning some end-of-year festivities by letting employees themselves decide what they’d like to do!

Forming a diverse committee of staff members who would like to get involved, give them a budget to work to, and see what they come up with! 

Read more: Benefits of diversity in the workplace

This approach is usually more successful when some guidance is given. Let the committee know what the organisation itself would like to achieve from the event (aside from fun!), and any restrictions from a compliance, time, or organisational values standpoint too.

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