5 Ways to Not Scare Your Workforce Away this Holiday Season

by Oct 31, 2022

It’s the time of ghosts and ghouls, gatherings with loved ones, and preparing for a season of joyful giving. And while we can appreciate a good haunted house, we’re here to make sure your culture isn’t taking on a similar form.


Here are 5 ways to not scare your workforce away over the holidays:


  • Celebrate *all* the things

    While one all-inclusive holiday party can check a box, there are SO many cultural and religious celebrations that often go unrecognized. Talk to your team, send out a survey, and find ways to learn about which holiday traditions matter to each of them. Then, make an effort to recognize, represent, and celebrate those traditions with your team! We can never be too educated on the cultures and belief systems of others…here’s a list of 20 celebrations this holiday season to get you started!


  • Be aware of your team’s preferences and restrictions

    Holidays can be a challenging time for sober individuals, as well as people with dietary restrictions and preferences. Make a point to ask for these considerations in advance, so that no one is left feeling pressured or unable to participate (anonymous surveys are your best friend!). Familiarize yourself with common triggers for those in recovery, along with ways to help minimize social pressure to drink. If someone on the team has dietary restrictions, make sure food is properly labeled and dietary-friendly options are plentiful.


BONUS: Catherine will be hosting a LinkedIn Live show at 9AM PST on November 2nd to discuss inclusivity for your sober workforce. Check it out here! It’s a valuable resource to add ways to not scare your workforce away.


  • Respect time off

    ‘Tis the season for traveling, spending quality time with loved ones…and using the rest of our well-earned PTO. So be respectful of your employees’ time off, when they take it. Every job is different, and some have more urgencies than others. Here is where we say – use your best judgment. If a true emergency presents itself, then do your best to handle it internally, with the employees that are available. Only reach out to an employee on leave if absolutely necessary. I know that your question on the proposal you’re drafting may seem urgent…but I assure you…most things can wait. Respecting (and encouraging) PTO use will help your team re-energize and come back to work with a refreshed spirit.


  • Encourage decorations and virtual backgrounds

    As a company, it’s essential to be inclusive, representing the various cultural and religious holidays in your decorations. However, as individuals, employees should be encouraged to share their unique backgrounds. Whether it’s a menorah, the Chinese zodiac, a Christmas tree, a clay lamp…all work-appropriate decorations should be encouraged. Our unique traditions are meant to be celebrated – not by all, but by us. And while it’s important to be respectful of different backgrounds, it’s just as important for employees to feel proud of their own! Share this guide on how to decorate your workspace for the holidays, and maybe even dedicate an afternoon to a friendly “workspace decoration” or “festive zoom background” competition.


  • Focus on gratitude and reflection

    It’s the last quarter of the year…and there is so much to reflect on! The holidays are a great opportunity to take a step back and consider: What lessons did this year bring? What changes will help us grow as a company, and in our individual journeys? What are we grateful for? Set aside time to have open discussions with your team that focus on gratitude and reflection. Get to know them better as people, and discuss how their goals can align with the goals of the company. Be sure to include a session on core values, thinking about how they’ve changed over time, and how employees’ individual values interact with the team’s values. Here is a list of some thought-provoking questions that can help guide those reflective conversations.


So there you have it. 5 ways you can help cultivate an inclusive and warm environment and ways to not scare your workforce away this holiday season. Enjoy your ghosts and ghouls tonight, and make sure the only people you’re “spooking” this year are the trick-or-treaters.


With gratitude,

Sabrina and the Civility Partners Team

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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