Article: Celebrating Diwali- An annual workplace tradition

Employee Engagement

Celebrating Diwali- An annual workplace tradition

Diwali is undoubtedly the most significant festival celebrated across India. Celebrating festival at the workplace has emerged as one of the biggest employee engagement initiatives. Read on to know more how the celebrations have changed over the time.
Celebrating Diwali- An annual workplace tradition

Traditions are important in organizations just as they are in families. And, nothing is more important than the annual traditions companies establish around the celebration of seasonal holidays. Celebrating festivities at the workplace has become one of the most critical employee engagement initiatives. These celebrations not only bring employees together but it also helps in creating a more inclusive environment across departments and boosts the morale of employees, promotes employee engagement, induces team spirit and joy. Organizations today have adopted newer and innovative ways to celebrate this festival. Read on to know more:


You must have heard the saying,“May the light of the Diwali lamps fill your life with success, happiness, and joy.” Every year, we celebrate this festival of lights traditionally by lightening beautiful clay lamps. Today, the overall concept of Diwali decorations has changed over the years. Earlier, decorations at the workplace meant rangolis, flowers, electric lights, etc. However, today decorations include LED lights, lamps, electrical diyas, flowers, rangolis, paper lanterns, wall designs, and paintings, etc. Everything is decked up, right from alleyway entrances to workstations.

It is common for companies to transform their whole workplace with innovative new ideas to decorate their office, often involving employees. For example, At Ernst & Young,  workstations were renamed to resemble landmarks from the Hindu epic Ramayana.  Times of India went eco-friendly and decorated their office with paper cups streamers and Rangoli with shredded papers.  To know more, click here.

 Shrinking bonuses and bloating coupons: 

The big fat bonus that earlier took care of one EMI or helped plan an extravagant purchase is now replaced with gift vouchers and coupons. Last year, according to a report by ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation conducted an online survey to gauge 1,000 full-time office workers’ opinions and about 500 Human Resources professionals on Diwali festival bonuses and desired gifts. The survey result showed that about 45% of office workers wanted cash or gift vouchers. However, according to the same study, HR professionals confirmed that cash rewards have the lowest impact and do little to improve employee satisfaction and performance.

Beyond Sweets and Dry Fruits:

Gifts are one of the reasons why Diwali is one of the awaited celebrations at the workplace.  Corporate gifting has become a tradition to express gratitude, appreciation and generate goodwill among peers and employees. Gifting box of sweets and dry fruits has become a thing of the past. Deciding gifts for employees is one of the difficult situation to be in. There are some things to consider before you give employees a present they like. Even if you manage to zero down on the kind of gift you want to give, you still have to get the best of the category,- quality, and price.

Companies these days are turning to a variety of new ideas, including Luxury watches, technology gadgets, crockery, designer apparel, expensive souvenir pens, home décor, movie tickets, free holiday packages, and gift hampers essentials for the festive seasons including torans, diyas, aromatic candles, etc..

Celebrations at work:

Companies today have a series of events lined up at work to engage the employee.

Arpita Kuila, Head-HR, NEC India shares, “Diwali is a much-anticipated festival and there is a sense of build up before it arrives. There are a lot of employee engagement activities focused around Diwali.The initiatives are led by either HR or has a team which has people from other teams forming a core group. Sometimes there are events leading to the main celebration day in office, and at other times everything is focused on one day. The things that are regularly done are office decoration, special office sponsored lunch for all, best-dressed male and female employees in ethnic clothes, best-decorated bays, rangoli contest, etc. The sense of team spirit and joy with which people then proceed on leave is the end goal of such celebrations. “

It goes without saying that organizing fun Diwali activities at workplace nurture team spirits.  Many organizations are adopting innovative activities to foster a sense of camaraderie, and team spirit that includes volunteering activities, potluck lunch, flash mob, selfie competition, etc.

Needless to say, HR plays a vital role in making sure that all the activities take place as per plan during the celebration, like organizing the team, getting the budgets approved and forming a core team to execute things promptly. However, one of the most critical responsibilities of an HR while planning any celebration at the workplace is to get the work done when employees are in the festive mood. Managing inclusion is another important aspect of celebrating any festival at the office. An HR needs to make sure that no person feels excluded as a result of celebrations.The decorations, activities, and gifts shouldn’t make persons from different culture or religion left out from the celebrations.

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Topics: Employee Engagement

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