Change Management Tips

10 Tips to Ensure Your Company’s “Holiday” Party is Inclusive

By: Nikki Thomsen, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

10 Tips to Ensure Your Company’s “Holiday” Party is Inclusive

  1. Consider naming your event an Employee Celebration Party or Year-End Celebration versus a “Christmas” or “Holiday” party, as not all people celebrate a holiday at this time of the year, and the focus should be on the employees, rather than the holiday.
  2. Consider having a planning committee assist with planning the event, and possibly asking for a member of each department to assist with the planning. This will bring diverse ideas and create buy-in for your event.
  3. Make sure that EVERY employee is invited to attend the event, including the new hire that just started at the beginning of the week!
  4. Do not have any specific religious symbols displayed, unless you work for a religious organization, but even if that is the case it is important to remember that not everyone who works for the organization may share the same beliefs.
  5. Use terms like “plus one,” or “guest,” when sending out invitations. Making broad assumptions like husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend is a sure-fire way to exclude people within your organization
  6. Use pronoun identifiers on name tags to ensure that your organization is properly and respectfully identifying both employees and their guest during the event.
  7. If you are serving alcohol at your company event, add Mocktails to your drink lists. With around 1 in 10 Americans struggling with addiction it is important to make those folks feel included and not have to explain why they are drinking water vs. having a tequila sunrise.
  8. Remind employees that this is a company-sponsored event with the expectation that staff act professionally, and that bullying, and harassment will not be tolerated. This is a great time to remind employees of the appropriate way to report work related incidents.
  9. If your organization’s leader is making a speech, they should mention how each department and employee is essential to moving the organization forward, and don’t just focus on one department like the “sales team” during their speech.
  10. Be mindful that not every employee can or will want to attend your company event, this could be due to things outside of their control, such as childcare, mental health reasons such as social anxiety, or socioeconomic reasons (e.g., having to work another job, not having “Party” attire, etc.) to name a few. This however does not mean that they should be forgotten.  For those who are unable/do not want to attend your event, consider crafting an email from the leader to each employee not in attendance….I know what you’re thinking – who has the time?  Well, you can, if you use Microsoft® Word and create an email merge that sends a personalized email (based off of template) to each person.

Follow these 10 tips in planning your year-end celebration event and you will be well on your way to closing out your year with inclusivity in mind.  Visit to review additional resources or contact for solutions with your human resources practices.

About Nicole Thomsen
Nikki Thomsen is an HR Consultant with Insight HRM, as well as the Assistant Director of People & Culture at LifeWays. Nikki has over 17 years of experience within the HR field which have been shaped by the unique experiences she has had while working in local government, non-profit organizations, healthcare, manufacturing, and education. Nikki is a lifelong learner and is always looking for ways to keep organizations ahead of the curve, while operating within the law. Nikki is committed to the advancement of her community and the HR profession; she is currently in her second term of Presidency in the SHRM Chapter – South Central Human Resource Management Association (SCHRMA) while also maintaining her role as Certification Chair.
Related Posts
  • All
  • By Author
  • By Category
  • By Tag