How to create an inclusive employer brand over the festive season

Christmas is an excellent time for many companies. Especially as we’re now once again, many employers are really hoping to use this festive season to reunite teams and re-engage workers, even if it has to be virtually once again. It’s a wonderful time to celebrate all you’ve achieved as a team in the last year but also for employers to show their employees appreciation.

However, as diversity has become a huge priority for many of us other the last few years, the idea of Christmas celebrations raises questions in a multi-cultural society. Of course, businesses should celebrate, and employees should get a chance to feel festive. However, some steps can be taken to ensure that your celebrations are as inclusive as possible.

A more inclusive approach to the holiday season will enhance your employer brand, helping future talent acquisition efforts, especially for diverse candidates. If they can see through your social media or hear from employees that you have a carefully considered and personalised approach to company culture, your employees from all backgrounds will feel respected, heard and celebrated. Over the last few years, employees have taken a step back and really considered what they want from an employer. For many, this means being treated as a person rather than a cog in a machine. Treating your employees as individuals means respecting their wishes when it comes to flexibility, finding benefits that will actually enhance their lives but also, an open-minded approach to workplace celebrations.

Remember your employer brand is reflective of how both existing employees and future candidates perceive you, so posting “Happy Hannukah” on your social media will mean nothing if it’s not acknowledged within your business. For inclusivity to become a fundamental part of your employer brand, you need to be authentic in your actions and genuinely celebrate everyone. Only then will your employer brand help you to retain and attract talent. A contradictory or false approach to inclusivity will do the opposite.

So, therefore, rather than expecting everyone to go along with the celebrations the c-suite wants, it’s time to take a tailored approach to festivities if you’re going to create a genuinely inclusive employer brand image both internally and externally.

Here are our tips for promoting inclusivity over the festive season and helping your employer brand efforts.

Get to know your team

A team is made of individuals who have different beliefs and personal situations. To create a truly inclusive culture in today’s society and benefit your employer brand image, you need to treat your team as individuals. Whether it’s your leadership team or your line managers, it’s vital that employees feel respected and treated as their own person in the new approach to company culture. This means having conversations with the team and understanding personal circumstances. Remember, not everyone celebrates Christmas, and it shouldn’t be assumed that everyone does. Some people will have a different faith, and others could have personal reasons for not celebrating. By understanding personal circumstances, you can create a more inclusive culture and help individuals who may not be celebrating this Christmas to still feel like part of a team. Taking the time and effort to get to know your employees and their festive plans will be great for your employer brand and show that you care about them as individuals.

Celebrate all festivals

If you’re going to be a truly diverse organisation, you can’t simply celebrate Christmas and Easter. It would help if you considered other religious festivals that may be important to various team members, like Ramadan, Diwali or Hanukkah. This means offering time off to celebrate as a minimum. But having employees disappear for days to celebrate their holidays also isolates them from the rest of the team. So why not think of these celebrations as an excellent opportunity to improve your employer brand? Use these other festivals as a chance to bring your teams together, educate each other on different celebrations and create a multi-cultural working space while respecting those actual followers of the faith. They should be allowed time off to celebrate. Calendars with these days on can be found everywhere, and celebrating them will produce a happier, more productive workforce in which everyone feels like they have a voice. It’s a great way to reinforce inclusivity.

Also, if your company has a massive celebration at Christmas (granted, it may be virtually this year), like so many do, why does it have to be called a Christmas party? Many businesses have taken to calling it an “End of Year Celebration” or something along those lines to make it more inclusive. Naming your celebration “Christmas Party” may alienate people who don’t want to celebrate, when really, the event is a celebration of all of the hard work and dedication your teams have put in over the last year. Small details like this can make a difference when creating an inclusive company culture and employer brand.

Don’t force the fun

Some people may not want to join in your celebrations (if you’re still having them). It could be for religious reasons, it could be because of something going on in their personal life, or it could be because we’re still in a pandemic. Whatever the reason, it should be respected. Don’t ask too many questions and encourage gossip around the workplace about why a particular person isn’t attending, as this will quickly create a toxic company culture. Similarly, don’t assume that someone won’t want to join for a specific reason. Ensure that an invite is extended to everyone, but do not question or object to any rejections. This time of year can be difficult for many people, and a truly inclusive company culture will respect the wishes of all employees. Any employer that enforces fun will risk damaging their employer brand and creating an intimidating and disrespectful company culture.

Be flexible

A truly inclusive company culture should be flexible. We cannot assume that all workers will want two weeks off at Christmas, especially if they don’t receive time off for other religious celebrations. It is difficult in a society that is primarily centred around Christmas, with clients and customers often shutting down, but leave should be allowed to be taken when it’s important for employees to do so. To enhance your employer brand and employee engagement, you need to be flexible about the needs of employees’ religious and holiday celebrations. Our beliefs and culture can have a huge impact on our lives, and an employer that supports this could be crucial to our wellbeing. Ensuring these celebrations can be acknowledged and respected in the workplace can make a real difference to employee engagement and how you are perceived as an employer, so they’re vital for your inclusive employer brand.

At Talent Works, we help companies of all sizes to build tech employer brands that cut through the noise and resonate with candidates. Through research and creative messaging, we can develop employer brand communications that celebrate who you are as an employer and portray your best elements to employees. This includes helping employers show their dedication to diversity and inclusion, whether they’re a startup or an established tech name.

To learn more about our employer branding services and how we can help solve your talent acquisition challenges in the new year, contact us.

We hope you all have a lovely holiday season, no matter how you’re celebrating. (see what we did there!)