How to Avoid HR Disasters at Your Work Christmas Party

The start of summer signals the countdown to Christmas, and many workplaces begin to wind down for the year. Staff are excited to be able to take some time to celebrate with their families, and the work Christmas party is a way to reward them for their hard work.

Christmas parties can be fun, but if not organised correctly can end up being a HR nightmare. We have all heard the horror stories of inappropriate behaviour and the consequences can be severe, while potentially costing people their jobs.

If you are in charge of organising the work Christmas party this year, there are a few steps you can take to avoid a HR disaster:

Choose the Right Time and Place

The right venue is essential in ensuring an incident free workplace event. It is important to understand not all employees want to drink, so a family friendly restaurant is going to be a better option than a nightclub.Employees will have a diverse range of food preferences and cultural backgrounds, and any venue needs to be easily accessible for an inclusive night out. Choosing to have a work

Christmas party on a weeknight, or having an early dinner is a smart way to encourage good behaviour. Most people will leave early to prepare for work the next morning! Be specific about the timeframe when planning your event, for example, if the party ends at 10pm, then after this time it will no longer considered an official work function. This is particularly important in regard of liability so be sure that it is communicated clearly.

Remind Staff of Company Expectations

When organising the party, don’t be afraid to make the company’s expectations clear. The policies which regulate the day to day workplace should remain consistent at any work event.

Alcohol can cause people to act out of character, and while it doesn’t have to be prohibited, it can be monitored. If providing complimentary drinks, make sure there is a limit and include a selection of food so that no one is drinking on an empty stomach. Remind staff in advance that inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated, and offer taxi vouchers or organise transport to make sure everyone gets home safely.

Deal with any Complaints Quickly

Management should be active during the event, to ensure the work party runs smoothly. Having someone accountable will help keep things under control and staff are less likely to make poor decisions when their superiors are present.

It may not be possible to entirely avoid issues at your work Christmas party, but the way it is handled will be key. Follow up any complaints as soon as possible after the event for a quick resolution.

Have Fun!

With some forward planning and clear expectations for employees, your work Christmas party can be a success. Keep the atmosphere light and lead by example, making for a fun filled celebration that is inclusive and comfortable for all members of your team.Cornerstone Consulting are Human Resources professionals. We deliver practical support for businesses located in WA. Please contact us today for more information, and find out how we can help you and your business.