Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Culture Change within your Organization

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The Pew Research Center notes that Columbus Day is “the most inconsistently observed national holiday in the United States”. Challenging the traditions surrounding the federal holiday is only becoming more prevalent: today 12 states and more than 130 cities have permanently said no to Columbus Day. Instead, they celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day or other inclusive holiday alternatives. As more brands and organizations adopt Indigenous Peoples’ Day, organizations may choose to re-evaluate what holidays align with their organization’s values.

Why does this matter?

Historical figures and holidays, such as Columbus Day, are being re-examined through the lens of current events. The observation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day offers a more complete and accurate history that celebrates the survival and contemporary experience of native peoples. Your employees may have differing opinions on how these days are recognized. Yet, according to a Glassdoor survey, 62% of employees expect their employer to take a stand on important societal and political issues. 

What is a company to do?

Conversations on topics like Indigenous People, immigration, and racial inequity weren’t traditionally held in the workplace. Our Integral Employee Activation Index (IEAI) found generational differences on sharing political opinions: 61% of Millenials feel comfortable sharing their political perspectives with their colleagues, while Baby Boomers are less likely to feel comfortable sharing.

Listening is not enough

Organizations often take pulse surveys; often they do not share the results. Being transparent helps all employees see the cultural factors that shape their organization. An ongoing listening and feedback loop provides clarity on what the organization will take action on and be accountable for.

Understanding the values gap

Our Index found that when employee personal values are aligned with employer values they are twice as likely to be an advocate for their employer. Knowing how organizational values align with employee personal values will help organizations pinpoint gaps, drive employee engagement, and inform business decisions.

Engaging your employees

Research by Quantum Workplace shows that engaged employees are 17% more productive than their peers. Employees who feel their organization reflects their values are more likely to take positive actions such as going the extra mile for a colleague/client, mentoring, and staying with the organization through challenging times. 

Reconsidering your holidays in light of your employee and organizational values will help you build a more inclusive and engaged culture. Whether you observe Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day—or neither—understanding factors that shape engagement will help drive better business outcomes. 

Jess Perez
Associate Client Manager
Believing in the power of people and driven by experience in social justice, communications and marketing, Jess understands the workplace needs of clients and how teams come together within a physical environment to work towards a common goal.
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