Holiday Parties – Things To Think About

It’s that time of the year…First Thanksgiving, then the Holiday Party season begins. It’s also the time to make sure you are doing things right to protect both your company (from liability) and your employees (from making career-ending behaviors and comments at company-sponsored Holiday Parties). What should you do to ensure your Holiday Party is both safe and fun (as those are often mutually exclusive concepts)?

Some things to consider this year (or at least be wary of at least):

  • Host the party off-site (at a restaurant). By doing so the off-site facility will hold some of the burden when it comes to liability (make sure the location carries the appropriate insurance)
  • If on-site, have a catered event (and make sure the caterer holds the appropriate levels of insurance). This will both limit liability and also the risk of a pot-luck fiasco that might occur from food-borne illnesses
  • Make sure your Holiday Party is “non-denominational”. Sensitivity to others and their individual religious beliefs are very important and show that your company is inclusive of all!
  • Have a team meeting the day before the party, and make sure everyone understands the rules (yes, there must be rules!). The same rules that apply to work behavior/code of conduct (dressing appropriately, violence, etc.)
  • Make sure your employees understand that the event is optional, and attending (or not) will have NO impact on performance reviews
  • Arrange a ride service in the event that someone has “too much fun” at the party…
  • Make sure the leaders in your company understand that they are all “hosts”. They should absolutely minimize any personal alcohol consumption and should stay vigilant in observing the drinking and behaviors of your employees. This should be the employee’s party, not the leaders’ party!
  • Limit alcohol consumption. This is more difficult than first appears, as some events provide employees and their guest to two “drink tickets”. Everyone knows that there are those who will not use their drink tickets, and there are those that will be glad to take their unused ticket…At a minimum, have leaders keep a watchful eye out for drink ticket sharing…and they should not be embarrassed to confront any illicit behavior
  • Do not have an “Open Bar” or have an employee act as bartender. Nothing good will ever come of that!
  • Be prepared to “cut” someone off from the bar and be prepared to use a car service (Uber or other). It is for both the employee’s protection and the companies! You may not be popular that night, but it is done for the right reasons!
  • Make sure there is a varied assortment of non-alcoholic beverages available, and starchy and high protein foods (that slow down the absorption alcohol)
  • Set a time when the party will end and shut down the bar an hour before that. People will mingle (and take their time) leaving, and you don’t want your employees on the road too late
  • For travel home, make sure to provide free car service to anyone who requests it

Remember…while some of these thoughts may appear to put a “damper” on the festivities, they are all made with the intent of ensuring the personal safety of your most valuable resources, your employees. Make sure you review any precautions you decide to take with your employees the day before the holiday so their expectations are set correctly (and they understand the intent is to ensure all are safe and happy).

On behalf of Workway, Inc.

Happy holidays to you, your family, and your employees!