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‘Tis the season” In workplaces up and down the country, people are getting ready for that festive tradition… the company Christmas celebrations.
From the staff party to Secret Santa, mince pies to Christmas carols… employers need to tread carefully to achieve both fun and professionalism with the office festivities.
“Of course employers want to ensure that everyone has fun,” says Matthew from Consensus HR. “The trick is making sure that the event remains professional without anyone being seen as a party pooper.”
Here are five valuable tips for a successful company Christmas:
- Planning ahead. Try and avoid having a Christmas party that precedes a work day so any “recovery” time is not a workplace issue. If that’s not possible, tell employees what you expect of them during the event and the day after. The good folk at Consensus HR suggest sending a lighthearted email/circular to all staff a few days before the event. “Remind employees of the party and arrangements”, says Matthew. “Plus, emphasise that it is still a work event. This means that staff will be expected to behave (and drink) responsibly.”
- During the party. Keep an eye on the level of alcohol consumption. You want staff to have a good time without having to deal with their excesses – at the party and at work the next day. Reminding people gently that they may not feel too good in the morning may encourage them to drink water or soft drinks instead of alcohol. It’s worth a shot.
- The next day. If all these measures fail, what should you do if an employee turns up for work with a hangover? “Call them into the office for a chat. Find out exactly why they are not as spritely as they should be – you never know, they might have eaten a dodgy kebab on the way home!” suggests Matthew. “Aim to gather as much information as possible. Make notes as this meeting will be classed as the investigation meeting if you decide to take disciplinary action.” Sound advice.
- The future. Each case will need to be looked at on its own merits in order to decide if disciplinary action is necessary and the appropriate level of sanction. In many cases, a stern warning will be the most appropriate way to deal with staff. If this is the case, it should be explained to the employee that:
- Their behaviour is unacceptable, especially considering they had been informed of your expectations in advance of the event
- On this occasion no further action will be taken
- If it happens again then matters may be treated more formally
A letter documenting this should be sent to the employee and a copy kept on their personnel file.
- One final note on disciplinary procedures. Matthew advises: “If you need to take disciplinary action, don’t leave it to the New Year. It often proves difficult when remembering the facts.” Especially after yet more parties…
The aim is that everybody has fun – including you! The right balance will prevent you from being seen as a ‘killjoy’. It ensures that employees enjoy themselves but remember that it is a work event.
“This means that everybody is expected to act responsibly and not ruin it by becoming heavily intoxicated and acting inappropriately which could result in disciplinary action being taken,” says Matthew at Consensus HR.
If you have queries about your company’s Christmas plans, or the best way communicate with your employees, get in touch. Contact Matthew at Consensus HR via Matthew@checkthis.co.uk or call 01462 621 423.