Now we’re well into 2023 post Pandemic, workplace events and socials are back in full swing. We’ve all been there, fun nights at the pub with our colleagues, team building days or more formal company dinners. It’s not only just fun to socialise with coworkers; it’s essential to establishing trust and building a bond with leaders and other employees.
However, there are situations when workers can’t or won’t attend business events due to family obligations, prior commitments, or even shyness, which may put them at a disadvantage at work. They might experience a sense of exclusion, see a decrease in production, get less face time with the boss, and in certain situations, this could affect their career advancement.
So, how can businesses ensure that their events are as inclusive as possible?
Schedule events at various times
Holding for example, most of your work social events in the local pub opposite the office after hours, will soon alienate a proportion of the workforce such as working parents or those on flexi-time. Of course, it’s important to include some evening events, but holding them at different times of the day such as a breakfast meeting or lunchtime gathering or simply strolls around the park to break up the day, can make a difference to who can attend.
Don’t focus every event around alcohol
While individuals who drink may enjoy sharing a glass of wine or a beer with coworkers, be mindful of those who don’t drink alcohol. Whether that be due to personal or religious reasons, remember that not every occasion has to revolve around the often-enticing cocktail.
Offer widespread catering
Offering a wide range of different food options is important. From dairy-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, vegetarian, vegan, non-alcoholic options there are many different dietary requirements to consider. Opening up the conversation about any dietary requirements before the event or social will allow you to plan a venue that caters for all.
State the intentions
Be specific about the purpose of the event, whether it’s to welcome a new employee, focus on team building, holiday gathering, or purely wanting your employees to socialise. That way staff can choose whether or not to attend and decide if it’s worth the cost of arranging childcare or missing their gym session. Managers should inform employees when it is important for those to attend an event.
Be mindful of the language used
When it comes to inclusivity, a lot of mistakes are made unintentionally. These errors are made accidentally, of course, but if we are unaware of certain cues, we risk making someone feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. Often the language we use can impact how included someone can feel.
Using inclusive language and reminding employees to be mindful of the language they use can eliminate biases, slang, and phrases that discriminate certain racial, gender, socioeconomic, and ability-based groups of people. By speaking in a way that everyone can understand and find welcoming, you may find this connects the team and makes employees feel appreciated.
Choose an accessible venue
Despite our best efforts, we occasionally fail to consider employees who have limited mobility. It’s a serious error that might result in unpleasant circumstances. Ensuring your venue or activity is accessible to all who suffer mobility issues is key to inclusivity.
When planning any form of event, it is essential to be aware of your employees’ preferences. Ask the employees what kinds of activities and programmes they enjoy. The team has the chance to venture beyond their comfort zones thanks to collective input.
To find out how hr inspire, Hertfordshire’s leading HR consultancy, can help you navigate workplace inclusivity, speak to a member of our HR team today – we pride ourselves on bringing your business the benefits, protection and experience of an entire HR department.