Halloween an opportunity to engage with employees

In amongst all the Christmas paraphernalia, and the fireworks you may have noticed many shops adding everything you need to make a celebration of Halloween.

It’s an event that has almost abandoned its religious origins and simply become an opportunity for both adults and children to have a fancy-dress party and rather than drinking alcohol eating lots of chocolate instead, which they extort from friends and neighbours under the threat of violence and criminal damage.

So, your employees may not arrive at work the following morning hung-over, but they might be sporting the remnants of ghoulish make-up or nursing an injury acquired whilst trying to explain the finer points of the dance routine from the Michael Jackson Thriller video.

These festivals can be a great opportunity for employers of all types and sizes to engage with employees regardless of their religious beliefs or parental status.

Put a carved pumpkin on your reception desk or have a competition to see which employee can carve the best one and make a display of them

You might even be able to add pumpkin soup to the menu or donate it to a soup kitchen!

Simply adding some Halloween themed cakes to the coffee and tea breaks can be the catalyst that helps to break down barriers and start a conversation.

Changing the menu in the staff dining room can be another way to get colleagues eating together and people that eat together tend to communicate more when they are not eating, as well.

When I worked in Canada or with Canadians in other parts of the world they would always arrive at work in fancy dress and alongside maintaining their usual level of productivity spend parts of their day engaged in innocent Halloween style high jinks.

For those employees who have children of the treat or treating age providing the opportunity to leave early so that they can participate in the trek around the neighbourhood in fancy-dress can add immensely to the emotional bank account.

Halloween has been around for centuries, it is part of our culture, even if many of us do not associate it with Christianity. Trick or treating on the other hand is a relatively new import from the United States of America. It is not something that my generation did.

Many of your employees may not be aware how to enjoy trick or treating safely so alongside allowing parents to leave early you can further add to your emotional bank account by making a guide to safe trick or treating available.

Following a few common-sense guidelines can ensure that your employees and their children have a safe and enjoyable trick or treat evening

  • Make arrangement with friends and neighbours that it is alright for your children to knock on the door
  • Don't let chidren go out trick or treating alone
  • If your children do go out alone make sure that they stay in groups of three or more
  • Follow the Green Cross Code when crossing roads, no matter how quiet the road may seem to be
  • Stay on the pavement and walk don’t run
  • Carry a flashlight and batteries and a cell phone,
  • Try to keep one hand free at all times (for holding handrails or catching yourself if you trip)
  • Trick-or-treat at homes that are well-lit
  • Don’t enter homes or apartments; the front door is as far as you need to go
  • Don’t use short-cuts through alleys, yards or parks
  • Walk, don’t run. Unseen objects on lawns or uneven terrain are tripping hazards
  • Don’t accept food treats that are unwrapped or home-made from people that you do not know
  • Don’t eat any treats until you’ve inspected them
  • Respect that not everyone wants to be involved.

Enjoy the evening!

Learn about cultural awareness at the Work Place Learning Centre

During a career as a human resources and employee development professional that started in 1981 Michael Millward has worked around the world in a wide range of businesses from start-ups to major conglomerates. His industry experience includes, local and national government, manufacturing, financial services, retail, distribution, hi-tech, e-commerce.

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