HR diverse organizations have a particularly heroic time organizing staff gatherings during the holiday season at the end of every year. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and a myriad of nationalities of staff who contribute to the business year-round should have their customs honored in some way. The year 2020, as we all know, is particularly challenging because of the massive move toward Working From Home (WFH).
ZOOM Fatigue, though, has become a real phenomenon. Companies, forced to change the venues of their work from in-person office meetings and operations to virtual sessions, have not fully adjusted to the different requirements of online engagements. The result is people stressed, overworked, even burned out. ZOOM Fatigue.
So EmployDiversity is offering some ideas that are either alternatives to Zoom or are using the video conferencing platform only peripherally.
For instance, HR departments can send holiday gifts boxes to staff. If they know, for instance, that some employees are Jewish, they can take effort to send a package of Kosher goods. It doesn't matter whether the staff are observant or not; the gesture will not be lost on the non-Christian colleagues.
For team members either spread across the United States or throughout the world, photo pin-ups are a great way of sharing pictures of your family, hometown, or adopted town.
Each team member can take pictures and videos that show off how the hometown celebrates such as tree-lighting ceremonies, regional holiday eats, subzero swims.
You can create a shared channel in Slack just for the photos, or create a company account on Pinterest where you pin the pictures. Staff can write a sentence or two about where the photo was taken and if the scene has specific meaning to them they would like to share.
Anyone in the company can do this: staff can dress up in clothes that represent their heritage, whether European, African, Asian, what have you. Or, if they prefer, they can dress up in something seasonal. Take a snapshot and post it on a corporate channel that everyone in the company shares and can comment on.
Staff can choose to record songs they sing that come from their home countries. Or, they can just be favorite songs, songs staff love to sing in the shower when no one is around, or in group sing-alongs. Ham it up! Have fun with it. If staff is too embarrassed, they can post a link in the company's social media channel to a youtube video of a song that makes them feel warm and fuzzy.
Write an old family recipe to share with others. The recipe can be something that represents your heritage or history, and it can be sweet or savory. Accompany the recipe you post with a video or audio description of how to make the dish and what it should taste like. HR can also arrange a time for willing participants to talk about the recipes and to swap stories about the when's and the why's their family eats the dish. Of course, recipes can include drinks, like egg nog or spicy Gluehwein.
Staff "pin" traditions from their own cultures or ethnic backgrounds in a company social media channel. The traditions, though, can be real or fake — coworkers have to guess which are genuine customs which are just made up! At the end of the tally, whoever got the most customs wins a small digital prize while whoever took the bait and guessed the most wrong customs wins a booby prize! If done through video conferencing, this game can be a real laugh!
Not every family celebrates the holiday season in conventional ways. Ask staff to share some of the uniquely off-beat ways they celebrate the holidays and why.
For instance, perhaps one team member's family lights a Disney-themed menorah. Or perhaps the family of one African-American employee assembles a poetry anthology every Kwanzaa. Or maybe a Mexican-American family plays Star Wars movies all day every Christmas.
Let staff have fun reflecting on and sharing what lights them up during these very unique season holidays!