First published on LinkedIn.
It is officially the last month of 2022!! We made it through another tumultuous year of ups and downs and plenty of ebbs and flows in the industry of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB).
As we close out this year, I want to bring special attention to an aspect of DEIB that is not often discussed – Religion. I asked LinkedIn who they typically celebrate the holidays with and just under 50% of respondents said they celebrate it with a mixture of people who are religious and those who are not. In 2021 Gallup polls, about three in four Americans said they identify with a specific religious faith, while 21% said they had no religious preference.
It's safe to say that religion plays a big role in people's identities. This means it must also be considered in company's efforts to diversify their workforce. Millennials and Gen Zs are the most religiously diverse age group (PRRI Census), so it's important to create a safe space where employees feel comfortable to express their religious identity.
If you haven't already, I encourage you to listen to my podcast interview with Rahimeh Ramezany, DEI & Intercultural Consultant, Trainer, Speaker, & Content Creator, where we discuss Religion as an Aspect of DEIB.
Thankfully, there's plenty of information out there on the different ways we can celebrate which is a compelling factor for greater inclusion (of cultures, traditions and observances)...so educate yourself! There are many different kinds of religious traditions that exist, such as Kwanzaa, which is a Pan-African celebration, and Hanukkah, a Jewish festival – but there are many...many more!
Ultimately, your employees want to feel seen, heard and understood so it's equally important to include some level of representation among leadership. As I share with my clients, 90% of who we engage with tend to be those who are most similar to us. While the most common celebration at the end of the year is Christmas, many people who are not religious celebrate it as well. But many of us may forget that Christmas is not celebrated by everyone. I've seen conversations in the workplace where an employee is given a funny look or – made to feel like they don't belong – when they tell colleagues that they don't celebrate Christmas or Easter.
We can get lost in the societal norms and status quo of the human landscape, which is a dangerous thing to do. This is something we often do unconsciously which is why we need to bring awareness about it in order to change.
And so...I invite you to celebrate different communities' unique traditions and encourage companies to engage with your employees by recognizing diverse observances to further spread representation and awareness.
Be safe and stay healthy...See you all in 2023!
It's my honor to announce that I will be a speaker at South by Southwest in March 2023 in Austin, TX. My topic will be 'Driving Diversity Forward with Data'. Tickets available now! Hope to see you there!
DECEMBER OBSERVANCES & HOLIDAYS:
This month is filled with diverse observances, so do your research and be intentional about how you communicate this to your employees before creating any social media posts or external messaging.
December 1: World AIDS Day commemorates those who have died of AIDS and acknowledges the need for continued commitment to all those affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
December 3: International Day of Persons with Disabilities is designed to raise awareness in regard to persons with disabilities in order to improve their lives and provide them with equal opportunity.
December 8: Latina Women's Equal Pay Day
December 10: International Human Rights Day was established by the UN in 1948 to commemorate the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
November 27 - December 24: Advent is a Christian season of celebration leading up to the birth of Christ
December 18 - 26: Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday lasting 8 days and nights celebrating the victory of the Israelites over the Greek-Syrian ruler Antiochus, about 2,200 years ago.
December 25: Christmas
December 26 - January 1: Kwanzaa is a universal celebration of African-American heritage.
Until next year...Enjoy the upcoming holidays and HAPPY NEW YEAR!