While many businesses provide leave for public holidays related to Christian based faiths, what do these days look like for employees that have other religious denominations?
Major religions of the world including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism, Christianity, Taoism, and Judaism all differ in how their religious beliefs are practiced, what behaviours are acceptable and how significant milestone events are celebrated.
A recent example was highlighted in the mainstream media when the Australian Cricket team halted their post-game celebrations to include Muslim cricketer Usman Khawaja. As a devout Muslim, alcohol is not part of his life. Seeing the obligatory podium champagne spray, Usman departed the stage to avoid any contact with alcohol. In a show of leadership, the Australian Cricket Captain, Pat Cummins, halted the champagne celebrations, so that his teammate could feel comfortable and be part of the team’s moment in the sun. It was an act of cultural awareness and meant an integral team member could bask in the team’s glory and not feel left out.
So how does that example apply to BridgePoint Group?
The BridgePoint Group team has a wide diversity of cultural backgrounds and most likely, always will. With that in mind, the firm has implemented a ‘public holiday-trading’ program for all employees at BridgePoint Group. It is a simple program which allows staff to swap out the normal Easter, Christmas, Anzac, Australia day public holidays for alternate leave days; which individuals can swap to celebrate their individual religious or other personally meaningful events.
Staff can remain connected to their culture and communities and be their ‘whole self’ at work. In a city as culturally diverse as Sydney, it is really important on a number of levels.
Employees get a lot of joy from celebrating their cultural moments within their communities. That allows them to express their sense of identity and improves their work-life balance. This is a benefit in terms of motivation in their roles but furthermore in each individual’s place in their community.
Another key benefit is that cultural diversity is shared with other employees. By sharing their customs, the BridgePoint Group team becomes aware and learns how different cultures practice their significant observances. It is a growth experience for everyone and brings harmony to the workplace.
BridgePoint Group is very proud to announce public holiday-trading as a policy and part of every employee’s contract.
Neil Parker says “Diversity in the workplace has a multiplier effect. This is a simple change that costs us nothing and it’s just another way we can show our people that we care about who they are. By celebrating the cultural diversity of our employees, we are allowing them to personally develop and become engaged in their own cultural communities. We bring a level of knowledge and understanding to our clients, many of whom have different cultural beliefs and backgrounds. It may be as simple as sending a gift or well wishes around significant moments in the client’s year. Or understanding how different cultures celebrate significant events. Cultural diversity can help us improve our service and communication with clients. Our staff love it too. We hope that it attracts like-minded people to join the BridgePoint Group team as well.”