Christmas PartiesPosted in : HR Updates ROI on 19 October 2023
With the Company Christmas Party Season quick approaching, it is a time for celebration, and one of the most anticipated events in many workplaces each year is the Christmas Party! It’s an opportunity to unwind, catch up with colleagues and let the hair down after a year of hard work. Morale can often get a lift during Christmas Parties as teams can unite. Creating personal connections outside of the work environment can help improve the general atmosphere and attitudes displayed throughout the workplace. Christmas Parties are also an opportunity for the Company and its Management to show recognition for the work well done by the Company and its staff.
With the Christmas Party often being one of the most important events of the year in relation to staff engagement and motivation, in order to make sure that you have a safe and well-received party we would recommend some careful preparation. It is important to note that employers can be held liable for incidents that happen during a Christmas Party, even if the party is offsite and out of normal working hours.
Here are some of our Do’s & Don’ts when it comes to Christmas Parties:
- Planning – It is important that when planning such an event input from the staff is sought on what they would like to do or how they would like the Christmas Party to be formatted – a quick employee survey can allow staff to give their input, it also allows the staff to feel as though there opinion on such important events are taken into consideration.
- Safety – It is important to note that employers can be held liable for incidents that happen at Christmas Parties, regardless of where the Christmas Party takes place and at what time the Christmas Party takes place. We would recommend once the Christmas Party has been organised that you take the opportunity to remind staff this is a Company Event, and for everyone’s enjoyment all Company Policies and Procedures, particularly the Dignity & Respect at Work Policies, are applicable throughout the night.
- Dignity/Harassment – It important to distribute and request that all staff review the Dignity & Respect at Work Policy to ensure that they are aware the Company will not tolerate bullying, harassment or sexual harassment including any instances that take place during work-related events.
- Logistics – Ensure that the venue is suitable for all employees, including disabled employees, and has an option for all special dietary requirements and suitable transportation is also arranged if necessary.
- Transport – It is important to remember that, as an employer, you have a duty of care towards all employees and therefore you have a responsibility to ensure that they get home safely. This can be done by encouraging employees to pre-book taxis or by providing all employees with a copy of late-night public transport options.
- Social Media – You should also remind staff that if they are engaging in Social Media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp etc. that they should respect their colleagues and management’s privacy. It is always useful to re-issue the social media Policy alongside the Dignity & Respect Policy in the lead up.
- Exclude – Keep in mind that Christmas is a Christan Celebration and is not observed by every religion. Although some employees may not celebrate Christmas, these employees should not be discriminated against and should be given the choice to attend the Company Christmas Party. Ensure that all of your employees are included and consider referring to the party as an ‘End of Year Party’ to be more inclusive.
- Alcohol – Management should remind employees whilst the Christmas Party is a time to enjoy themselves that they should not consume excessive alcohol. It is vital to remind employees to pace themselves and know their limits. Employers should send a reminder to all staff that alcohol should be consumed responsibly.
- Discuss Controversial Topics – An Employer should inform employees to avoid discussing anything which may be controversial during the Christmas Party such as religion, topics etc. as these topics can quickly lead to uncomfortable or heated conversations which may potentially lead to disagreements or even grievances.
Employers should issue clear written guidance to all employees in relation to the expected standards of conduct and also issue relevant policies that must be followed during company events. It is important to keep the tone light as this is a positive announcement and to advise that you are including important safety notices to ensure all employees enjoy the event. This should indicate:
- That employees should consume alcohol responsibly and remember to show due consideration to their fellow employees and members of the public;
- That under no circumstances should an employee drink and drive for their own and others safety;
- That drunk and/or disorderly behaviour, illegal drug taking, verbal or physical abuse, harassment of a sexual or discriminatory nature will not be tolerated and any such behaviour is likely to result in Disciplinary Action, up to and including dismissal;
- That they are at all times expected to observe the policies put in place by their employer highlighting, in particular, the Dignity at Work, Bullying and Harassment, Disciplinary and Grievance, Absence and Social Media policies in place;
- That these guidelines cover not just the Christmas party but the after party and the after-after party too!
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The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.