The Consultant's Desk

The Consultant's Desk
Poring over the details on your behalf

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holiday Best Practices and Experiences

For most people it’s the holiday season, and the HR forums are filled with posts asking, “What should we do for our employees this holiday season?” or, “How does your organization celebrate the holiday season?”  The replies to these posts are diverse.  A few organizations avoid holiday celebrations in order to avoid disparate impact claims from employees.  Many organizations create teams of employees to plan and implement holiday activities, sponsor food drives for local homeless shelters, or allow each department to organize potlucks and gift exchanges
 
My favorite employer-sponsored event was the “adopt a school” event in which the company adopted a nearby elementary or high school, erected a Christmas tree in the location's main lobby, and asked children to create “wish list” ornaments.  The ornaments indicated the child’s gender, age, and what the child wanted for Christmas.  Employees were encouraged to voluntarily pick an ornament, buy one or two items on the child’s wish list, wrap the gift(s), and place the gift(s) under the Christmas tree.  I was surprised to find that many of my Islamic, Wiccan, atheist, Buddhist, and Jewish co-workers participated in the event and found it as touching as I did.  It was hard not to be moved by the children’s wish list items because they were surprisingly practical Most of the wish lists included school supplies, clothes, coats, and one or two specific toys/games. 

For example, the last time I participated in an “adopt a school” event, I chose an ornament designed by a seven-year old girl who asked for size 2 shoes, crayons, pencils, and a Fairy Princess Barbie.  Not only did she get the shoes, crayons, pencils, and a Fairy Princess Barbie; she also got the Fairy Princess's unicorn, several Barbie outfits, and a child-size Fairy Princess Barbie outfit because it seemed unfair to me when I was a child her age that Barbie got all of the “nice” outfits. 

On that note, I’d like to ask you to share some of your best practices and experiences with regard to observing the holidays in your organization.  What works for your organization, and why do you think it works?

Thank you for sharing, and have a wonderful holiday season!

1 comment:

Yvonne LaRose, CAC said...

I look forward to hearing some of the suggestions the readers provide. Maybe some of them would like to be interviewed about how their initiatives turned out during your semester break.