4 Tips to avoid HR Landmines During the Holiday Season
It’s mid-December and that means we’re in full-on getting ready for the holiday’s mode. There are work parties happening every weekend and employees rushing to meet end-of year deadlines; not to mention that most people’s personal lives get busier at this time of year so there is more stress brought into the office. To help HR managers prevent HR landmines during the holiday season, we have put together this list of helpful tips.
4 Tips to avoid HR landmines during the holiday season
1. Holiday parties
Holiday parties come with an increased risk of sexual harassment and other harassment claims, especially when alcohol is involved. Here are some tips to reduce this risk:
- Read our post about limiting or avoiding alcohol at holiday parties to prevent alcohol-fueled behavior issues and potential harassment claims.
- Another way to help reduce employer liability at holiday parties is to require every employee and manager re-read the workplace harassment policy and remind them that the rules apply even after hours at a workplace party. Be sure that the employee handbook has a written policy about harassment that includes work-related social events.
- Remind your employees to be careful when posting selfies from work parties because poor employee conduct posted on social media can harm the reputation of a company. Let them know in the nicest way possible that you reserve the right to discipline or terminate employees who breach employee conduct standards.
- If you have employees who need to report to work the day after a work party, remind your entire team that they could be disciplined if they report to work with drugs or alcohol in their system.
2. Secret Santa
Playing Secret Santa can be a great way for employees to have fun and spread cheer during the holiday season. The idea is that some of the gifts will be great and some will be gags. Keep it fun by reminding employees that gifts must be appropriate to avoid offending co-workers. If they aren’t sure, ask the HR manager or choose something else.
3. Time off around the holidays
Most employees would love to have time off around the holidays to spend with family and friends, or just to relax after a long year. Communicate to employees about which days they need to be at work and gather a list of holiday-time off requests to figure out the best way to accommodate your staff. A small business may have the flexibility to offer the day after Christmas off by closing the office, for example and it would go a long way to making employees happy.
4. Decorate the office with safety and inclusiveness in mind
It can be really fun and festive to decorate the office for the holidays. Use these tips to keep it a positive experience for everyone:
- Be sure to be inclusive of all the types of celebrations your employees observe
- Create a small decorating committee so anyone on the team who wants to can get involved
- Make sure that decorations do not cause a safety hazard. Avoid blocking fire escape routes or exits, do not place decorations within three feet of heating elements, and leave enough space in walkways for people to pass safely.
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