How to Throw Politically Correct Office Parties – Zupnick Associates

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Planning politically correct office parties can be iffy and confusing when you don’t want to offend anyone on your team.

It can be tempting to assume everyone is in the holiday spirit during certain times of the year.

But when you have a large, diverse, workforce, it’s important to make sure everyone feels included, and welcome. 

Here are a few holiday office party tips to keep everyone in a celebratory mood.

Politically Correct Office Party Planning Tips

Here are the do’s of planning politically correct office parties:

1. Keep Religion and Symbolism Out of It

When it comes to diversity, everyone’s beliefs, religious affiliations, and culture are important. And it’s wise to ensure that everyone knows that no matter their background or lifestyle, they’re important to the team.

Omitting religion and cultural symbols is a good idea when you have a diverse workforce. It decreases the risk of offending someone or isolating them.

Instead of calling the office party a Christmas party or holiday party, consider calling it an end of year office celebration or employee appreciation evening.

Keep the religious titles out of the mix and focus on employee success, appreciation, years of service, and other exciting milestones. 

2. Nix the Holiday Party Name

While some might find the lack of a holiday (or seasonal) party disheartening, consider making up for it by celebrating holidays most American identifies with…national holidays.

Have a company-wide picnic during the 4th of July and go all out! Not only will the weather be more amiable during the summer months, but you can plan for fun outdoor activities like bonfires and yard games. 

No one will feel targeted, left out, or unimportant if you plan to celebrate something that is recognized on a national level. 

3. Unless You Know Your Staff’s Beliefs…Extremely Well

It’s not easy to determine what religious affiliations your employees identify with and, as you know, it’s not any of your business.

With that being said, if you do have a small staff, and you’re pretty close-knit, you can celebrate during a certain holiday if you’re certain everyone is on board.

4. Just Ask The Staff

Before you start planning your office party, put the feelers out to find out what your staff really wants, and how they prefer to celebrate. 

You can do this without asking political questions, and using anonymous surveys to get an idea of how your workforce wants to celebrate all their accomplishments. 

5. A Tip About Food at Politically Correct Office Parties

Consider providing a menu before the party for your staff to select their meals according to their tastes. This is important for some religious groups, and it shouldn’t be assumed that everyone likes beef tips or broasted chicken.

Include a variety, while trying to stay within your budget, and always include a vegetarian option, if possible. 

What Should You Avoid When Planning Your Politically Correct Office Party?

Here are a few don’ts for you to consider while you plan your office party:

  • Never mandate employees to attend an office party, and never make them feel bad if they prefer not to attend. 
  • Don’t plan your party around a specific holiday. But also be aware of religious and cultural holidays so you don’t inadvertently plan the party on one.
  • Don’t do gift exchanges amongst employees. Gifts can turn into offensive items if someone innocently gives a Christmas-themed gift to someone who isn’t Christian. 
  • Alcohol is optional and an alternative should always be available.
  • If you have your party around Christmas avoid Christmas music unless you know for certain everyone would appreciate it. Instead, stick with classics, oldies, or even classy elevator music depending on your venue
  • Don’t force people to play games. Not everyone likes to get up in front of their coworkers and play. 

Office parties exist to celebrate togetherness, company accomplishments, and to foster good relationships amongst the workforce. There’s a lot of planning involved, and it can be difficult to ensure that no one feels left out, but it can be done.

When you’re planning an office party for your staff, your main goal is to make sure everyone feels welcome, has fun, and feels celebrated. If you can keep religion and culture out of the mix, everyone will enjoy themselves and look forward to next year’s annual office party. 

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