From the impending celebrations at our Nation’s Capital to local celebrations including waving our flag proudly from our homes – Canada’s birthday is the biggest celebration this country has seen in well…150 years.
As the climax of Canada 150 celebrations is fast-approaching, it’s a fantastic opportunity to reflect on how employers manage celebrations in the workplace.
Here are five lessons employer’s can learn from Canada’s Confederation birthday:
1. Events are an effective way to build workplace culture and credibility
If our attendance at Stanley Cup playoff games or the Olympics when a Canadian is in the running is any indication of our devotion to Canada, it’s probably safe to say that we live in an extremely patriotic country. Canada’s reputation lends itself to celebrating 150 years of Confederation in true red, white, maple leaf fashion. Typically seen as a friendly and happy country, it would be weird if we didn’t celebrate this occasion.
Public declarations and celebrations of milestones are opportunities for employers to recognize events in a way that builds their company culture and consequently, their credibility. It’s a lot easier to justify your company’s core values when you have acted on them in a public way. Just as Canada 150 depicts values that we cherish, workplace celebrations should do the same.
2. Perks are a valuable tool that often get overlooked
Canadians (and tourists) were thrilled when the Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass was announced. Providing free entry to places managed by Parks Canada, the passes were ordered by two million people by January 5, 2017. People love receiving something that’s free and offers some kind of benefit.
Similarly, employers can easily create excitement in the workplace by offering perks. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming, it just has to be thoughtful. Bringing Timbits into work is often enough to help employees have a better and brighter work day! This will contribute to boosting employee morale and cultivating a happier workplace environment.
3. It’s possible to make long distance work
Maybe you’re a consulting firm like us and have employees working from various locations, or maybe you’re a large company with offices and employees scattered across the country or continent. Either way, the long-distance ties don’t have to kibosh the celebratory plans. Canada 150 is a huge milestone equalling a huge initiative. There’s no way that every Canadian could gather in the same physical space to participate in the same event. As a result, we are seeing many small and some larger celebrations happening from coast to coast which give everyone the chance to join in on the fun.
If having all of your employees together in one place to celebrate a victory or accomplishment is just not possible, that’s ok. The important thing is to communicate the occasion to all employees and to make sure that everyone is given the same opportunity to celebrate in similar ways.
An effective way to involve employees who are in various locations is by providing them with an opportunity to participate on social media or within a company contest. Using hashtags, sharing pictures, and promoting specific content is a great way to make it easy for employees to participate in a celebration despite where they might be in the world. Creating these opportunities can ensure that whether your employees are in Sweden, Saskatoon, or scattered throughout the same city, they can all be celebrating.
4. Use events as an opportunity for learning
Canada 150 has created a platform for respectful and thoughtful dialogue on Canada’s history, including both positive and negative parts of our past. In spite of some conflict, this initiative has provided the opportunity to have these discussions more openly as they relate to an event and occasion.
Maybe your workplace celebration is a good opportunity to talk about where the company started, where it’s moving, and how employees can get on board with plans for the future. Take the opportunity to share meaningful information with employees if and when it is appropriate to the event. Pairing celebrations with applicable content is a great way to engage employees with information that otherwise might not be as exciting for them.
Employers can also focus on creating opportunities through events and occasions to learn more about their employees and to encourage an open communication environment. For example, Canada 150 lends itself to allowing employees to share their backgrounds, where they came from, and any interesting stories that may surround their family history. Doing this can increase employee engagement, making them feel heard and valued, and in turn increasing their happiness within the workplace. Happy employees equals happy clients/customers - an all-around win!
5. Remember the bigger picture
Although an event is typically a time to have fun, socialize, and take a break from regular routine, it can also invite the potential for disagreements. Remembering the bigger picture can help you to remind people of the cause for celebration in order to guide them back to the root of the event.
HR managers can set the tone of celebrations by acknowledging potential areas of conflict before they actually happen. Communicating to employees that everyone has different opinions that are all welcome, but that they need to be shared in a mature and respectful way, is a great approach that ensures employees have the right mindset going into a celebration. With regards to Canada 150, remind workers that it’s not about division, it’s about celebrating where we all came from!
Canada 150 has not been without conflict – whether it’s neglecting to acknowledge darker parts of our history or questioning how much the government spent on the initiatives. However, focusing on Canada’s accomplishments and contributions is a great way to remember the reason why we are celebrating. On this Canada Day, let’s remember to be thankful for the beautiful country we live in and the freedom we live with each day.
If you have any questions regarding how you can help build employee morale and cultivate a better workplace environment, Clear Path is happy to provide you with advice and support. You can contact Clear Path President, Anna Aceto-Guerin at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 519-624-0800.
We hope you have a wonderful, relaxing, and safe Canada Day weekend!
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