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How can you stop your Christmas party turning into a Christmas hangover?
So, the Christmas party season is now upon us, a time where employers often put on a party for employees. It’s a good opportunity to relax, boost staff morale and spend an enjoyable evening with colleagues - well that’s the plan!
From a HR point of view, the annual Christmas party is seen as a positive time, but it can also bring with it some very prickly issues. How can you safeguard your employees? How confident are you that they will behave appropriately?
It was reported last Christmas that 9 out of 10 employers have experienced an employment issue arising from a Christmas party. Report from 2013.
Some Christmas party tips
So, here are some tips that could assist you in your party planning, and ensure that your event is a positive occasion rather than a Christmas turkey.
- Save the date - consider the date of the party wisely. Is it better to hold the party on a weekend so attendance to work the following day won’t be affected?
- Pre-party communication - circulate a memo to all staff reminding them that the location of the party will be classed as an ‘extension to their workplace’ and that good standards of behaviour are expected from all.
- You might also remind them about the social media policy!
- Assess the risk – conduct a risk assessment of the venue. This way the pitfalls can be minimised or avoided altogether.
- Invite all employees – don’t forget employees on maternity leave or long term sick. You may not have seen them for a while, but they are still an employee.
- Provide or encourage soft drink alternatives.
- Have a responsible person keep an eye out for anyone who can’t hold their drink.
- Consider how employees will get home, can you put something in place that ensures that staff get home without harm.
- Don’t be too serious and have a good time too!
Post-party issues – if you receive a grievance letter from an employee after the Christmas party ensure it is dealt with promptly and taken seriously.
Hopefully these tips will ensure that your party will go without an investigation or a disciplinary meeting - which would not be a great way to start the New Year!
Anita Manfredi of Employer Solutions – QCS HR Expert Contributor
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