How to avoid holiday safety, gift and cultural blunders
The holiday season is in full swing, and along with it department celebrations and observations. But before we don our ugly sweaters, plan our potluck lunches and hang our decorations, here are a few things to help ensure a safe, ethical and inclusive experience for all employees.
There’s joy in safety
To keep our facilities safe, Asante’s holiday decorations policy has a few rules:
- Decorations, including artificial Christmas trees, must be noncombustible.
- Natural decorations such as plants and wreaths are allowed with approval by Facilities.
- Miniature lights are OK only if they’re battery-operated.
- No lit candles or placing decorations near heating sources, electrical devices or sprinkler heads.
- Don’t use extension cords or power strips for decorating purposes.
- As fun as it sounds, don’t cover entire walls, ceilings or doors with decorations.
- Keep fire doors, exit corridors, signs (including patient room signage) fire extinguishers and fire alarms clear of decorations.
- Don’t run electrical cords across aisles or corridors.
There’s joy in belonging
It’s a good reminder during this time to help all employees feel acknowledged and respected. Consider the following when planning holiday celebrations:
- Learn what matters to others. Some holidays are for joyous celebration, others are for somber reflection. Solicit input from your team when planning your holiday events.
- When organizing team potlucks, show respect for all by heeding dietary restrictions members may have.
- Keep decorations mindful. Christmas trees and Santa hats are part of the season, but so are other traditions such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Include what matters to all team members.
- Make celebrations optional. Not everyone observes the same holidays, and some may appreciate being able to gracefully decline.
There’s joy in giving — within limits
Patients and supply vendors often want to show their appreciation by giving staff members gifts. In general, receiving gifts is frowned upon for ethical reasons, but there are a few exceptions. According to Asante Compliance and Integrity, employees may accept:
- A gift from a vendor if the total value is less than $100 aggregate for the year.
- Perishable foods, such as fruit baskets and cookie trays from vendors. These can exceed the $100 limit if they’re intended to be shared with the employee’s department.
- Token non-cash gifts of appreciation from patients valued under $75. These may be something like handmade goods, flowers or fruit baskets). If the gift is larger, suggest the patient or family member instead make a donation to Asante Foundation.
Keep in mind, employees and physicians can’t accept anything given with an expectation of preferential treatment or to influence decision-making. Cash gifts or equivalents such as gift cards or gift certificates are also prohibited.
Finally, we can take joy in knowing that after the challenges of the past three and a half years, we can once again come together in person to reconnect and celebrate the season.
If you have a question, please contact the author or relevant department directly.