Although we’ve come a long way when it comes to making the workplace more inclusive for people no matter their race, gender, sexuality or disability, there are people who think that their place of work still has a long way to go.
As we dive head first into the party season it is common for workplaces to forget that “Christmas” is not applicable to all employees. A recent survey has revealed that one in five people believe their current company lacks inclusivity, and it also discovered that over half of employees had witnessed discrimination or a lack of inclusivity whilst at work, and Christmas celebrations can contribute to this feeling of exclusion in the workplace.
Lack of inclusivity at work can be caused by factors such as unequal pay and insufficient support for disabled employees but is also caused by non-inclusive company socials.
Although equal pay was found to be the top witnessed cause of inequality in UK workplaces, with more than a quarter of people are aware that a colleague is being paid more than another in the same job role, the study also found that 17% felt they either witnessed or experienced needing to avoid company socials due to the pressure to drink alcohol- something that is condemned in Islam.
There are many religions that also don’t even celebrate Christmas, such as those of Jewish, Hindu or Islamic faith. Workplaces need to be mindful of this in order to ensure all employees feel included during any celebrations during this time of the year.
Jonny Edser, Managing Director and Founder of Wildgoose, that conducted the research, said: ‘’It’s clear that there is a long way to go in order to make everyone feel inclusive in the workplace. From our survey, we’ve identified the areas that need improvement. The results this year do show an improvement on last year, where 27% of employees said their workplace wasn’t inclusive, compared to 20% this year. However there is still a long way to go until everyone feels they are treated fairly in the workplace.
“Workplaces need to ensure their celebrations and socials are planned with everyone in mind. It is easy for alcohol to become a huge element of company socials but it is vital that the whole thing doesn’t revolve around drinking. Leadership teams ensure there are activities without alcohol which invite all to participate. There are plenty of indoor team building activities which are not Christmas themed, allowing all to have fun without feeling unseen or excluded.”