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How HR Can Ensure Respect When Honoring Employees’ Influential Figures

Mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents and close family friends helped shape us into the people we are today. Some of us hold those titles personally, and look to create a positive effect on others’ lives. Recognizing these holidays at work is a simple way to help your employees feel engaged.

However, honoring these influencers can have its ups and downs. Organizations should be aware not every employee has someone to honor on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or similar celebrations. Not every employee celebrates the same way; some may be experiencing loss or dealing with personal battles.

For HR professionals, it can be a challenge to try to mold your festivities to fit all employees’ needs. When these holidays occur, ensure your team is prepared to handle these potentially delicate personnel situations if they pop up during the celebration.

Celebrate good times

As Mother’s Day swiftly approaches, many employers opt to send flowers or treats to mothers within their workforce. Yet, some of those mothers may be struggling with loss or other challenges.

Instead, consider celebrating mothers, motherhood and mother figures with a card station that allows co-workers to make cards for each other and for employees to create handmade greetings for loved ones. A callback to their elementary school days, this fun activity can double as a quick brain break for your workforce, too.

Other celebrations, like baby and wedding showers, can also cause undue stress, as some of your workforce may have experienced a divorce or loss of a child.

To ensure employers stay thoughtful in every situation, off-site festivities can help acknowledge the happy couple or new parents, while keeping in mind that not everyone may find joy in these celebrations. If off-site is not an option, establish the party as optional and create a no-gift policy.

We’re all in this together

Though these holidays offer chances to boost employee morale and engagement, it can be difficult to please all people. Instead, simplify your celebrations by sending a companywide email discussing the importance of this day and encouraging people to honor those who have positively affected their lives, just as you offer praise to your employees who positively influence others.

Another option is to host a celebration at your business that commends all employees and the people they revere in their lives, rather than focusing on a specific individual. Consider offering a special treat and flowers for all, as your workforce takes a few minutes to admire others and themselves.

The workplace is a great spot to honor employees as influential figures, but it’s important for HR to ensure sensitivity exists in the celebration and make efforts to drive inclusion for all.