How Should a Multigenerational Organization Celebrate the Holiday Season?
The holiday season is upon us, and many organizations are already well into planning their yearly holiday festivities. While the expensive, elaborate, and lavish celebrations of the past may be gone (largely due to smaller budgets and changing priorities) most organizations still find some way to celebrate the holiday season and the end of the calendar year.
However, it is important to recognize that different generations may have different expectations when it comes to these celebrations.
Generational Differences and the Holiday Season
Baby Boomers, for example, often see the year-end holiday party as a reward for a job well done. They appreciate awards that recognize the organization’s achievements as well as individual rewards for their accomplishments. Your organization’s holiday party can be a great way to recognize the effort and successes of your team and reward them for all their hard work.
Younger generations, who are more likely to see the holiday season as a cultural affair than a religious one, may expect something different. Millennials and Gen Zs may be turned off or upset by a celebration that has a strong focus on one religious or cultural group at the expense of ignoring or excluding others. For example, our National Gen Z Survey, Gen Z: A Generation To Look Up To found that Gen Zs have a strong desire to be a part of inclusive environments, with 69% of respondents agreeing with the statement “I want to live and work in a diverse community.”
However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t want to celebrate at this time of year. It means that they are more open to celebrating the concept of a “festive season” than they are any particular religious holiday.
Younger team members may also find more formal events (such as sit-down dinners and awards banquets) too stiff and stuffy for their liking. Instead, they may be more interested in a unique celebration, such as “team building” events at video arcades, laser tag venues, or axe throwing parties, etc… just make sure no one gets hurt!
In addition, Millennials and Gen Zs place a lot of value in community and social responsibility. Many from this cohort want to be part of an organization that incorporates an aspect of charity or social purpose to their holiday festivities. A fundraiser or organizational act of kindness (such as raising money or donating items to a charitable organization) is a great way to have your team demonstrate kindness during this season.
Planning a Holiday Celebration for Everyone
Coming up with a creative way to balance the wishes and expectations of the different generations in your organization may seem like a difficult challenge, but it is also a meaningful and important one. If your team feels valued during the holiday season, appreciated for their hard work all year, and they enjoy themselves at whatever event you organize, this greatly benefits the organization. Team members will have higher morale, be more likely to collaborate and work well with others, and they will be more engaged at work when they return from the holidays.
As president and co-founder of n-gen People Performance Inc., Giselle is dedicated to building strategies and programs that target, motivate and engage a multigenerational workforce. She is a sought after resource to industry leaders, having worked with 18 of the top Fortune 500 companies. Over 60,000 people globally have experienced an n-gen workshop or presentation. She has devoted more than fifteen years to researching the impact that generational differences have on organizational performance. Giselle has co-authored two books: Loyalty Unplugged: How to Get, Keep & Grow All Four Generations and Upgrade Now: 9 Advanced Leadership Skills. She has a Master’s degree in communication studies from the University of Windsor.