The holiday season is among us and there’s much more to celebrate than just Christmas. In fact, there are more than twenty religious and cultural holidays celebrated between December and February. As diversity and inclusion efforts come to the forefront for many employers, it’s more important than ever to ensure your practices and policies don’t overlook other important holidays. In this episode of the DE Talk podcast, Candee Chambers sits down with Mikey Meagher, DirectEmployers’ Manager of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, to share practical tips and guidance on how to show employees you value differences and welcome them to bring their whole selves to work. See a short snippet of the conversation and then listen to the full episode for more great information and guidance on how to further DEI efforts!

Mikey Meagher:

We’re made up of so many things that make us important as individuals and employees, and significant and special. So, when a company celebrates that and sees you, it makes you want to work harder and it brings that sense of loyalty back. And it’s so important for companies, I think, to understand that impact, surrounding cultures that are being celebrated and having it amplified at work. And not even just celebrated at work, but maybe talked about through the year, do we have something that’s digital and visible about what we’re celebrating throughout the year? And when we build relationships here, we don’t just check a box once a year and say, “alright, we celebrated each other,” we’re collaborating all year long and talking all day long and it’s more than that and it just needs to be viewed as a relationship building tool essentially, too. To learn about one another.

Candee Chambers:

Well, and that’s what I think every employer wants to see is employees that are happy, that are loyal to the organization and who don’t want to leave. Fortunately, knock on wood, we don’t really have much turnover at all here at DirectEmployers. And so that makes me very happy. And we’re obviously doing a lot of things right, but we’re always ripe for improvement. I have some ideas on, hopefully, we can give some advice on how to maybe be a little bit better in your own workplace and celebrate holidays inclusively, but this kind of goes without saying, but collect employee feedback. I’m all about collecting employee feedback. The most important thing is that once you do that though, you have to act on the information you’ve gained.

You can prioritize your efforts, you can set a foundation for future successes and you need to always gather insights into your employees’ needs and requests. And maybe consider asking questions like, what holidays would you like to see recognized in the office? And what cultural celebrations are important to you? What else should we know about the holidays that are important to you? I’m certainly not an expert because I don’t know much about other religions, but I’m all ears. I’m anxious to learn. And if there’s something that we haven’t even mentioned, gosh, I want people to feel comfortable saying, “Hey, why can’t we celebrate this?”

Mikey Meagher:

Exactly. And there’s so much that companies can leverage within their own organizations and doing everything you just said. And one of that would be, it’s something to always go back to, but is working with your company’s ERG groups. And it’s something I say simply, but also something as broad and large companies have various subsets of their ERGs. So maybe one of your ERGs is solely dedicated to all these different holidays and cultural celebrations that if you have somebody who just celebrated Diwali, they’re a member of your inclusive holiday ERG and there’s a time and a day you can set something up or do a lunch and learn through that. And as you know, allies are also invited to that. So, really, it’s open to anybody.

What great ideas to keep in mind as we head into the New Year! For more on this topic, check out this blog post which features results from a recent Member survey on the subject of inclusive holidays. And stay tuned for another great episode next month – sign up for emails or SMS alerts to be notified when it’s available!

Kacie Koons
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