How to avoid a Christmas party HR hangover
Written by Simon Morgan, HR Dept South East London and North Kent
‘Tis the season to be jolly! What better way to thank your staff for all of their hard work over the past year than with a Christmas party? But though the work Christmas party should be a time for colleagues to eat, drink and be merry together, unfortunately they can sometimes cause an HR headache the morning after.
While you can never predict exactly what will happen, your Christmas party is more likely to go with a swing than end with a bang if you follow our top tips on how to avoid a Christmas party HR hangover.
Finding a venue
• Your Christmas party is for all of your staff, so make sure that the venue you choose is suitable for everyone. If you employ anyone with access requirements, make sure that you find somewhere that they will be able to get in and around. Similarly, if you employ anyone under 18, ensure that wherever you hold the party they’ll be able to attend.
Before the party
• A Christmas party is a great opportunity to bring everyone together. Be sure to invite all members of staff – including anyone on maternity and paternity leave, agency workers and contract staff.
• Though you don’t want to be a killjoy, there’s nothing wrong with reminding staff in advance what’s expected from them in terms of behaviour. If you’re holding your Christmas party on a weekday, be clear that staff are still expected to come to work the following day.
At the party
• While Christmas parties are traditionally fairly boozy affairs, some of your staff may not drink alcohol, so be sure there are plenty of soft drinks on offer.
• Though you may want to provide some free drinks to your staff, bear in mind that an unlimited free bar is likely to encourage excessive alcohol intake. Limit the supply of free alcohol to a few drinks at the start.
• If you’re providing food, find out everyone’s dietary requirements upfront and make sure they’re catered for as far as possible.
• Consider asking a few managers to stay sober at the party and take responsibility for dealing with any drunk or disorderly employees.
After the party
• Make sure that all of your employees will be able to get home after the Christmas party safely. You may want to consider hiring coaches or minibuses to ferry people home, or at least provide telephone numbers for local taxi firms.
The work Christmas party is a great place for colleagues to relax with each other and have fun, but there are still expected standards of behaviour – enforcing them may make you feel like the Grinch, but if you don’t, you could end up with an HR headache that far outlasts the holidays.