How to avoid an HR disaster at your Christmas Party
Posted on 8th December 2021
As the festive season approaches, many organisations will be celebrating with their team. And after the last two years, who could blame you? It is only right that you want to give your staff a morale boost and Christmas is the ideal time to do just that.
But what happens when it all goes wrong?
It is not uncommon for incidents to happen at a work’s Christmas party. A team member may get a little over excited with their alcohol consumption and inevitably, that will not end well.
Will it impact on your reputation as a business? Potentially, very much so.
Whether you are just out for drinks in a bar or have paid for a table at an organised Christmas event, every person attending is representing your company and its brand. When behaviour is an issue, that could reflect badly on you.
How can you stop it from happening?
In truth, it can be difficult to manage. Your team have worked hard all year, and this is their chance for a blow out but that cannot come at the expense of your reputation.
Here are a few tips to managing the situation.
1 – Set your expectations
Once you have organised your night out, hold a team meeting and ensure that everyone understands that how they behave will be seen as an extension of your business. Let them know that you want them to have fun, they deserve this evening, however, inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated.
2 – Prepare in advance
Perhaps a little late for this year but make sure you have a policy in place to ensure staff are aware of your expectations when it comes to social gatherings. Ensure that your expectations are clear and the repercussions that will follow should anyone break the rules.
3 – Stay in control
You deserve this treat too, however, ultimately, your business and the staff within it are your responsibility. Do not be tempted to immerse yourself in any drama and most importantly, stay alert to any potential challenges on the night.
4 – Manage complaints efficiently and effectively
If there is an incident, do not pass it off as a drunken misdemeanour. It warrants an investigation once back in the workplace. If more than one employee is involved, gather all the facts before deciding on the action you should take. Treat it as you would any other complaint, investigate and decide on the appropriate action.
5. Consider alternative events
A Christmas party does not have to involve alcohol. If you are concerned that there may be challenges in a party atmosphere, avoid the situation entirely. A staff Christmas party is not just an opportunity for an end of year blow out, it is a chance to thank your team for their hard work and efforts. That does not mean it has to be traditional party.
What alternatives are there?
A Christmas party can be a fantastic opportunity for some team building and these can be held in house or off site. Here are a few ideas.
➡️ Go to an escape room or take part in a virtual escape room. These are extremely popular and a great way for the team to work together.
➡️ Host a virtual party. With the current uncertain climate, it is not unreasonable to host your party online. That way, you can involve alcohol as team members will be confined to their own space.
➡️ Attend a murder mystery event. It is fun, it gets the brain ticking and it is a controlled environment.
➡️ Go ice-skating or indoor skiing. The perfect way to get festive with no alcohol involved.
If you do decide on a traditional Christmas party, consider:
➡️ Will there be food? If alcohol is involved, it is a good idea to ensure your team are well fed.
➡️ Limit your own alcohol consumption. At this time of year, we are all a little merrier and you do not want to find yourself in a situation whereby you are offering pay rises or promotions. Your staff will hold you to your promises.
➡️ If you have any employees under the age of 18, make it clear that they will not be allowed to consume alcohol at a work function.
➡️ Organise transport. This allows you to not only ensure your staff get home safely, but you will also be able to enforce an end time to the evening.
➡️ Discuss your policy on sickness before the event. If your Christmas party is mid-week, decide whether you will allow your team the following day off. If not, be clear in your expectations about staff sickness in the days that follow.
➡️ Think social media. It is not just what is happening in the room you need to consider. Refer your employees back to your social media policy and ensure they understand the consequences of posting anything inappropriate that could reflect badly on your business.
Christmas is the ideal opportunity to reward your team and say thank you for their hard work throughout the year and at this moment in time, it is needed more than ever. You do not want to spoil anyone’s fun but at the same time, you have a business to protect and one mistake on a night out can be costly for you.
Set your expectations, be prepared but most importantly, have a little fun.
Please do not hesitate to contact email@example.com if you would like to discuss the plan you would like to put in place. Taking HR from 'TO DO' to 'DONE'.
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