Eight Top Tips for organising an inclusive end of year celebration.

Don’t freak out… it’s not quite holiday season yet. But it’s getting close! And it’s the time of year where a lot of the planning takes place. So, what better time to remind you of our top tips for planning an inclusive end of year celebration.

Make it all about recognition and appreciation.

Remember, Christmas isn’t a thing for everybody, so as we come to the end of another pretty unusual year, make sure you focus any staff functions on bringing people together, celebrate summer, and acknowledging the achievements made over the past 12 months. 

An easy way to keep your holiday celebration inclusive is to put all the focus on the people you’re celebrating. This takes the focus off a specific holiday. Put the energy into the accomplishments that your organisation has made.

Make a committee.

At the planning stages, it’s a good idea to organise an event or social committee that’s as reflective of your workforce as possible – the committee can then be responsible for organising inclusive events.

Ask.

The best way to know what your employees care about, is to ask them. Your committee could survey your employees to find out what holidays they’d like to see recognised, what sort of celebrations people prefer, what times work best for the majority, and so on. It’s a good idea to check in yearly for changes.

Encourage participation.

If it’s the appropriate setting, then you could invite employees to bring in decorations from their faith and background, so that the office can be inclusively decorated. The same goes for food – open up the floor and invite people to bring in holiday dishes from their culture. Or, it could be as simple as dressing in a way that’s special and significant to them and their end of year celebrations.

Food.

And speaking of food, this presents a major opportunity to be inclusive. Make sure your catering plan includes non-pork and vegetarian/vegan options. There should always be attractive non-alcoholic beverages to accommodate those that don’t drink for religious or health reasons.

Make it optional.

‍The holidays can be tough for those who’ve had a hard year, for whatever personal reason. So for some, skipping this year’s celebrations might be what they’re more comfortable with. Reassure employees that as much as you’d love them to, they’re not obligated to attend. And keep tabs on anyone who may need support during the holiday season.

Have a back up plan.

Aotearoa is in a state of uncertainty – we’re not sure what disruption Covid-19 might cause in the coming months. If you’re an office in Tāmaki Makaurau, or you have staff who work remotely in this region, then have a back up plan in place.

It might be your contingency plan is a virtual internal awards night, celebrating 2021’s achievements. Or you might organise and send hampers to all staff – with treats to enjoy for the evening.

Ask for Feedback.

Once an event takes place, you’ll likely have a pretty good idea of how successful it was. It’s easy to see if people are smiling, laughing, and staying engaged. But, it’s still important to know how everyone is feeling afterward.

Send out a quick survey (that you can make anonymous) to get some feedback. Find out if people liked the event, felt like there was enough variety of food to eat, was inclusive, and collect suggestions for the next event.


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2 Comments

  • When I read this talk, I feel I am understanding it with my bones, specifically the over checking the answers to the questions when it is given by a female in engineering fields.
    Anyway, non individual fault, rather the culture of accepting diversities (race, gender, age, color,…) is important to be injected into the companies by managerial boards and government. I wish Sheila and all hard working females an easier way to progress, not more but at least the same as males counterparts.

  • Hi Rose,

    We completely agree that companies have a lot of work to do when it comes to designing inclusive cultures for all. We’re confident that one day, negative experiences like yours and Sheila’s will be a thing of the past. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

    – Megan from Diversity Agenda

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