What a whirlwind, right? With Halloween in our rearview mirror, we're ready to hunker down for the upcoming months of holidays. These times are to embrace gratitude, love, acceptance, peace, and grace. At home, with friends, with strangers, and even at work. We spend on average over two thousand hours a year with our work family, of course, we must pause to celebrate our togetherness. So, how to thoughtfully celebrate and ensure inclusivity within your team?
Tip of the Week
The Power of Celebrations in the Workplace: Fostering Togetherness and Gratitude
Workplaces are often seen as a hub for professional interactions and the pursuit of business goals. However, many modern workplaces have embraced a tradition of celebrating special occasions and milestones, creating a sense of community and camaraderie among employees. From birthdays and workiversaries to holidays and retirement parties, these celebrations offer more than just a break from the daily grind – they provide an opportunity for colleagues to connect on a personal level, create shared memories, and share moments of joy. As an HR professional, I've had the privilege of being dubbed the "Party Planner," and I wholeheartedly embrace this role, recognizing the value of these celebrations in fostering a positive work environment.
The Essence of Workplace Celebrations
Despite the occasional excess and extravagance, workplace celebrations bring immeasurable value. The best part of these gatherings is the people involved. The collective joy, happiness, and gratitude expressed by employees during these events create a unique atmosphere of unity. It's not about the cake or the party favors; it's about the connections made, laughter shared, and the opportunity to recognize the individuals who contribute to the company's success.
The Role of HR and Management
HR professionals and management, in particular, play a crucial role in ensuring that workplace celebrations are planned and executed fairly. This can include coordinating events for the entire company, specific departments, or smaller teams. As a manager with a smaller team, I've found that personal gestures, such as decorating a colleague's desk on their birthday or giving small, thoughtful gifts during the holidays, go a long way in making employees feel valued and appreciated.
Celebrating Holidays with Inclusivity
When planning workplace celebrations, it's essential to consider the diverse backgrounds and beliefs of your team members. While holiday parties are common, it's crucial to be mindful of inclusivity. Some employees may not celebrate certain holidays due to their religious beliefs, so it's important to respect their preferences. Consider asking new hires to complete a celebration participation sheet, offering them a platform to indicate how they prefer to celebrate or if they'd rather not participate in office celebrations.
Ideas for Workplace Celebrations
Now, with inclusivity in mind, let's explore some ideas for workplace celebrations:
-The Holiday Party: If your team wants to celebrate the December holidays, go ahead and plan a Christmas party. You can add a twist by having a potluck or a "Holidays From Around the World" theme, where everyone brings a dish from their heritage.
-Gift Giving: Keep gifts small and thoughtful, with a limit of around $50. Ensure that the gift is appropriate and won't make the recipient uncomfortable.
-Gingerbread House Competition: Foster team collaboration by organizing a gingerbread house competition between departments. The winning team can receive a group gift or recognition.
-Office Decoration: Allow employees to volunteer to decorate the office space, creating a festive atmosphere. Consider providing hot chocolate and cookies to make it even more enjoyable.
-Cubicle or Office Door Decorating Competition: Encourage employees to decorate their workspaces in a holiday theme of their choice. Offer prizes for creativity and participation, creating friendly competition.
Workplace celebrations are more than just fun and games – they are a means of fostering togetherness, gratitude, and a positive work environment. By being mindful of individual preferences and creating inclusive celebrations, you can ensure that everyone in your organization feels involved and represented. Ultimately, the message of your celebrations should revolve around togetherness, gratitude, love, and peace – values that transcend the business world and enhance the overall well-being of your employees. So, let the celebrations continue, and remember, it's not just about the cake; it's about the connections and shared moments that make the workplace a better, happier, and more productive environment for all.
Update Your Paid Holidays
Now is the perfect time to update your paid holiday schedule for 2024!
Paid holiday time is an essential aspect of work-life balance, promoting well-being and productivity.
Here's why it matters:
Revitalization: Time off reduces stress and enhances mental health.
Family and Friendships: Quality time spent with loved ones strengthens relationships.
Work-Life Balance: It fosters job satisfaction and reduces stress.
Employee Retention: Attract and keep top talent by offering paid holidays.
Here is a list of commonly paid holidays in the workplace:
• New Year’s Day
• Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
• Presidents’ Day
• Memorial Day
• Juneteenth National Independence Day
• Independence Day
• Labor Day
• Columbus Day
• Veterans Day
• Thanksgiving Day
• Day after Thanksgiving
• Workday directly before or after Christmas (depending on the day of the week for Christmas)
• New Year’s Eve Day
Paid Holiday Policy:
Ensure you have a documented paid holiday policy in place. This should include which holidays are paid, who is eligible, how the time is paid, and how holiday pay works with other paid time off. Also, include a clause about religious observances.
The Compliance Corner
Managing Religious Observances
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act mandates that employers must both prevent discrimination and make reasonable accommodations for employees with deeply held religious, ethical, and moral convictions unless such accommodations would impose an excessive burden on the employer.
Below is a short list of considerations for complete compliance:
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) religious observances or practices may include:
- Attending worship services.
-Wearing religious garb or symbols. Displaying religious objects.
-Adhering to certain dietary rules.
-Proselytizing or other forms of religious expression.
-Refraining from certain activities.
Employees or candidates may request a reasonable accommodation to adjust their work environment that allows the person to practice their religion or sincerely held ethnical or moral beliefs without causing undue hardship to the employer.
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Employee Handbook Review
There is still time!
Full Circle HR is offering a New Year, New Handbook service for employers who have an established employee handbook and want to make changes for 2024.
This service includes a deep dive into what you want to keep, add, and change. We will review the handbook for compliance on a state and federal level. And we will prepare you to roll out your handbook to your team in 2024. If you request it, we can even come to you and meet with your employees to discuss the changes.
Space is limited and time is running out, so reach out today!
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