How to approach religious holidays in your business.
Equity and inclusion are hot topics right now, and they should be. We live in a world filled with people with diverse backgrounds and to be successful in business (and I'd say in life), we must consider every person's needs in our business strategy. There are several ways that inclusion positively impacts your business.
First, consider the desire to attract the best employees to your business and how this affects your daily operations and your overall success. If you have the best General Manager you can afford, you have peace of mind that your business can be handled without your constant oversight and the success of your business will show it. You know you have a trusted person at the helm who can make decisions with your best interest in mind. It is unusual that a business is best served by a specific type of person with a specific belief system. Hire based on character and qualifications, train skills if needed. Making recruitment a blind process may be helpful, but it may be as simple as having a second interview with a different person in your organization to get another perspective on applicants. I always recommend reviewing applications in the order they are received.
Second, it attracts customers when they know that their specific needs matter and that you, as a business owner, value equity and inclusion. A demonstration of your core value of inclusion is that your staff is reflective of your local community and your customer base. There is a comfort in commonality. You don't need to do a demographic breakdown and check boxes as you hire, but I will reiterate that attracting and hiring the best employees will naturally create a diverse group that will be able to identify with your customers on a variety of levels. If you are missing a demographic that is prevalent in your community, consider that your recruitment strategy may need some work.
Lastly, it's the right thing to do. Ultimately, when anyone applies for a job, they want to be treated fairly. As a consumer, we want to be valued and we want to support businesses that have integrity. Given these truths, we need to make sure that our businesses show our value of both our employees and our customers. Equity is being fair. I think we can all agree that we try to be fair to others and prefer to be treated fairly as well.
So, as we approach the holiday season, and you are deciding whether or not you want to celebrate religious holidays in your business, which ones, or not at all, consider the message you are sending. If you are a Christian business owner, you may be inclined to celebrate what is familiar to you. Take a moment to think of your customers, employees, and community. Show care and appreciation to those groups of people too. You may also elect not to observe any holidays as a business if that better suits you as some businesses see increased traffic in December and others slow down. I recommend making a conscious decision on how you want to observe holidays.
On that note, happy holidays to those that celebrate this time of year!