Annual holiday parties are an important way to celebrate the year’s accomplishments and your employees’ hard work. However, mixing business and pleasure can make even the most seasoned HR professional nervous as improper conduct, offensive behavior or other violations can occur, leading to potential liabilities for you.
There are ways you can still throw a great party while ensuring your employees stay off the HR naughty list:
Make attendance voluntary
While most employees enjoy an excuse to kick back and get to know coworkers in a more relaxed setting, a holiday party is not everyone’s idea of a good time. Ensure your employees know that attendance to the holiday event is completely voluntary and if they opt to miss the event, reassure them that their absence will not adversely affect their job or standing with the company.
Limit or Prohibit Alcohol
Alcohol is usually the culprit behind the bad behavior or poor decisions made by employees at holiday parties. Consider eliminating alcohol from your holiday get together or at least limiting its consumption by issuing drink tickets or having a cash bar. Providing a taxi or car service can also reduce the opportunity for major liabilities if an employee gets a little carried away on the spiced rum.
Invite Significant Others or Customers
Just like Santa keeps kids in line, significant others or customers can help keep employees on their best behavior. Encourage your employees to bring spouses or significant others to the event and make the celebration a more family-focused atmosphere.
Address Complaints Immediately
Even with proactive steps, incidents can still occur. Make sure you immediately address any complaints and attempt to settle them as quickly as possible. By paying attention to seemingly small issues, you can prevent them from spiraling into a big liability later on.
Prior to your event, remind your staff of the rules and guidelines in the employee handbook and that all will be expected to be upheld throughout the party. Making your expectations clear can reduce the occurrence of any potential liabilities and will ensure you and your employees are able to responsibly enjoy the celebration of their hard work.