5 Ideas for Celebrating Chinese New Year at Work
Internal Comms & Engagement Expert
23 Jan 2024
Caitlin Kirwan shares five ideas for celebrating Chinese New Year at work, from employee storytelling to leadership messages.
Chinese New Year falls on 10 February this year and will be celebrated by an estimated 2 billion people across the globe, mainly in East and Southeast Asia.
With up to a quarter of the world’s population set to celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Dragon, the time has come for internal comms and engagement teams within global organizations to start thinking about how they can acknowledge this important cultural festival.
What is Chinese New Year?
Also known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year occurs on the day of the second new moon after the winter solstice and is followed by a celebration of up to 15 days.
It’s one of the biggest festivals in Asian culture and is celebrated by people across many different countries in addition to China, including Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Japan.
According to the 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle, this year will be the Year of the Dragon, which is said to represent power, energy, and vitality.
While the Chinese New Year public holidays differ between countries, those based in China are entitled to eight fully paid non-working days this year from February 10 to 17. Families traditionally gather during this time to visit relatives, exchange gifts, and share reunion feasts.
Celebrating Chinese New Year at work
Global organizations that acknowledge Western holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter within internal messaging should ensure Chinese New Year is included in their holiday comms planning.
Regardless of where internal comms team members are located, inclusion needs to be a top priority and the Chinese New Year festivities are a significant cultural event for a large percentage of the global workforce.
Here are five of my favorite ideas to help IC teams celebrating Chinese New Year at work!
1. Share messages from leadership
Short videos from members of senior leadership with Chinese New Year greetings and messages of encouragement are particularly valuable for Asian audiences. Invite senior leaders from all different regions to send you a brief 10 to 20-second selfie video with their well wishes, stitch together, and share for employees to see on your intranet homepage!
2. Encourage cultural learning
Giving employees from around the world the opportunity to learn about the different cultures and backgrounds of their colleagues is a great way to boost inclusion and engagement. Educate global employees on traditional Chinese New Year celebrations with video clips or a bitesize e-learning quiz. For extra engagement, invite colleagues from East and South East Asia to contribute to the learning materials!
3. Facilitate employee storytelling
Create a zone within your digital workspace for employees to share their different family traditions for celebrating Chinese New Year. Encourage video clips, longer-form blog posts, and quick-fire Q&As! Everyone has a unique story or family tradition to share, and this is a great way to connect employees across the globe outside of work-related exchanges.
4. Create toolkits for managers
Managers with geographically dispersed teams need to have an awareness of the different public holidays and days off work that their employees are entitled to. Creating a Chinese New Year toolkit for managers can help them understand which team members will be unavailable on which days, and provide them with materials to host a themed team huddle to celebrate the holiday.
5. Decorate your digital workspace
Why not take the opportunity to jazz up your intranet landing page for the holiday? Banners of lunar lanterns, images that celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Dragon, themed section borders, and colorful backgrounds. It’s time to get creative!
We hope these ideas have given you some inspiration! However you go about celebrating Chinese New Year at work, it’s important to have an awareness and understanding of key cultural festivals in the regions where your employees are based.
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