Enabling an Inclusive Holiday Season

At the end of year Christmas and parties dominate many people’s minds.  After work events invite spouses and families, happy hours are frequent, and gifts are often shared.  Yet for folks with a difference or disability, this time of can strengthen an already existing feeling of separation from the team.

Thankfully there are a few simple steps you can take to help make sure everyone experiences the holiday cheer in whatever way makes sense for them:

Party Time

For parties and events, be aware of sensitivities around language.  If inviting families, specify “partner” or “spouse” rather than an assumed husband or wife.  Make sure that menus are shared in advance so those with food allergies and restrictions can easily plan and ALWAYS be sure the non-alcoholic drink section is plentiful and just as inviting as the hard stuff.  Fruit juices and sparkling water in a pretty glass can help make sure non-drinking employees are not peppered with “Why aren’t you drinking?” all night long.

At the Office

At the office, there’s no need to attempt to celebrate every holiday – particularly if no one is an expert in Diwali or Kwanza as it can be easy to make innocent mistakes.  Simply be sure that red/green and Christmas are not the holiday wishes decorations and wishes being shared.  This time of year can be great to ask your employee about their family traditions in a regular on-on-one.  It can increase relationship and help you understand how to be a better and more inclusive manager.

With Gifts and Promotional Items

Finally always make sure that gifts, promotional items and awards take into account each employee’s uniqueness.  For larger-framed employees, being given a t-shirt that doesn’t fit can be very demoralizing.  Whether it’s making sure there are adequate sizes for all or not giving a leather purse to a vegan take the extra time to make sure the gifts are right for everyone.  (If you’re having trouble finding quality shirts in extended sizing, give our team a call and we can help point you at options!)

A few simple tweaks and advance communication can help employees feel valued by making sure everyone’s season is merry and bright!

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