Fostering an inclusive workplace culture requires going beyond having diverse teams and into creating a sense of belonging. There are many ways to foster belonging in your workplace and one place to begin is by holding space for diverse cultures and religions.
Do you know what holidays your organization currently observes? For many organizations, their holiday observance policy was written to mirror federal guidelines, but businesses aren’t required to observe the federal holiday list. This approach can simplify developing your holiday policy but a more intentional approach will allow you honor the diversity of culture and religions on your team.
Do you know what religious and cultural celebrations and memorials matter to your employees? Invite your team members to share what holidays and memorials they observe so that your organization can honor those dates. You can leverage a shared calendar to ensure the entire team is aware of these dates. Since it’s unlikely that the entire team will take each of the same days off, develop a policy that internal meetings will not be hosted on these days of observance.
Another way to provide great flexibility for team members to observe the holidays that matter to them is to provide floating holidays. Floating holidays allow individual team members to decide which days they take off so that you can accommodate a variety of religious and cultural celebrations and memorials. Your policy can range from providing one or two floating holidays in addition to your official list to transitioning your full holiday list to the same number of floating holidays. While this allows every employee to create their own list of days off, it can be more complex to manage and difficult to institute if you are in a physical office that requires in-person presence.
Regardless of how you decide to create a sense of belonging in honoring various cultural and religious holidays, your policy must be underpinned by a commitment of creating a sense of belonging. Team members should be confident in their ability to use their floating holidays and know that there won’t be indirect consequences by taking those days off. It should be easy to navigate and it shouldn’t feel like people have to do extra work to be off to recognize the days they celebrate.
These steps can help to create a sense of belonging for all cultures and religions on your team. Making these changes can go a long way in both retaining your current team and in recruiting new ones that are seeking a more inclusive work environment.
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