How to avoid a sticky situation at your Christmas party

Wednesday November 29, 2017

The work Christmas party is almost upon us. This can often be a time for staff to blow off steam and boost morale. But it can also be fraught with danger and end up costing you in workplace disputes and uncomfortable romances.

You might not be an expert party planner, but you should have an idea of the kind of event your staff would like to have. It’s important that it’s relevant to your workforce. And just as with your other reward schemes and benefits, if it’s not what your employees want, your money is wasted.

What you’re doing will earn you plenty of brownie points with the staff. It’ll bring your team together (some of whom may never have spoken!) and will reinforce a positive working environment going into 2018. Expect the best to come from it, but we also think it is sensible to prepare for the worst.

It’s not always fun and games

Nine out of ten employers have experienced employment issues from a Christmas party. Drunken behaviour, drug use, harassment, arguments – whether online or off. It’s all a far cry from the Christmas spirit and your company policies.

Even fights! It’d be a real shock if one were to kick off, but if you were going to point to a date in your calendar when they’d be likely to happen, the booze-fuelled Christmas party would be a prime candidate.

HR tips to make your Christmas party a success

Here are a few useful HR tips to help you get the best out of your Christmas party:

  • Remind everyone about their behaviour – You aren’t a horrible boss for doing so; you’re just making sure you reinforce the rules.
  • Make sure everyone is included and invited – They can be great team building events and a good way to say thank you for staff efforts over the previous year.
  • Ensure under-18s aren’t drinking.
  • Be aware of religious sensitivities.
  • Drinking the bar dry shouldn’t be the stated objective of the evening.
  • If there is an issue, use common sense – Note down what’s happened and take appropriate action. Regardless of the situation, don’t sack someone on the spot!
  • Be mindful that Christmas can be a difficult time of year for some people.
  • No mistletoe – It just asks for trouble!

Most events go without a hitch. But if you really are worried about potential workplace incidents, don’t ban the party altogether. Why not host it after the New Year is in? You’ll still give your team a morale boost, plus many will be doing Dry January by then!

Need HR help?

Fear the fracas? Stressed about scuffles? Good HR practices can help you to prevent them – have clear policies in place and ensure staff understand that the event is an extension of the workplace.

If tensions do boil over, we suggest you seek professional advice and support when launching your investigation.

For advice on having a successful and incident-free Christmas party, contact your local HR Dept.

Preventing People Problems

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