In our post about why we’re thankful for HR last month we talked about the struggles and challenges of working in HR and why the job is so important. This is especially true during the holiday season when seasonal struggles make an apearance and we all depend on the HR professionals in our organizations to navigate through them.  We asked a few of our favorite pros how their companies navigate the holiday season and then compiled their answers to help you do the same:

Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah

It’s interesting that we still have to talk about how to respect each other during the holidays, but every year it’s an issue. For navigating this tough area, keep three things in mind: Be inclusive, don’t assume everyone celebrates the way the majority does, and don’t ignore it in hopes that you won’t have to deal with it. You may want to recognize each specific holiday, or to just keep it general, but just remember that by not including everyone, you’re making a conscious decision to exclude some.

Time off

Some companies manage just fine with employees taking holiday time off because things slow down during this time of year, while others struggle to maintain the workforce they need. Every company deals with it differently but the common thread is that preparation is key. If you’ll be employing temporary workers, arrangements will have to be made far in advance, and if you’re putting restrictions on employees taking vacation time, you’ll need to let them know months ahead of time. Be transparent about the company’s needs and why you’re setting the restrictions, but be as generous as you can be.

Charitable giving

Whether it’s corporate donations or employee-organized charitable giving, the subject usually comes up as people start to feel the holiday spirit. Establishing standards for choosing organizations to donate to can help, and you may want to consider gathering a small group of employees to sort through suggestions throughout the year. Additionally, establishing traditions of giving to a specific non-profit every year can eliminate any confusion.

Showing gratitude

We may not be in a day and age when Christmas bonuses are the norm (though they’re always nice!), but every company should offer gratitude in some way during this time of year. There are so many options, from holiday parties to small gifts, to early release, which all show you care and you’ve put thought into how to show that.

No matter what the holiday season brings, HR should be the constant during the chaos. Happy holidays!