It’s holiday season and with Covid-19 restrictions largely behind us, many companies are bringing back the company holiday party. Holiday parties are a great way to show appreciation for your workers and help them connect in a social setting without the conversation being centered on the latest work deadline. While lots of people associate alcohol and late-night shenanigans with fun, these are risk factors for an HR nightmare – you never know what will happen when heavy drinking is involved. There are several ways that HR can guide holiday parties to ensure that they’re fun for everyone while reducing company liability.
How HR Can Help Make a Successful Company Holiday Party
As HR experts, we recommend the following tips for hosting a fun and successful holiday party:
- Pick the party hours wisely
There are a few ways that hours can be adjusted to help reduce the risk of out-of-control employee behavior. 1. Limit the length of the party to about three hours with the last call at least 30 minutes before the party ends. 2. Plan the party right after work so employees can’t “pre-party” before the event and show up intoxicated. 3. Plan a mid-day party with a fun family activity.
2. Limit alcohol
Give employees two drink tickets each and tell the bartender:
- Not to serve straight shots of liquor
- Stop serving employees who appear intoxicated
Another idea is to only serve beer and wine and not have hard liquor available or to forgo alcohol altogether.
3. Provide rides
Offering rides home paid for by the company is one of the best ways to prevent drunk driving accidents that can come back to haunt the company. Providing a shuttle or paying for Uber, Lyft, or taxi rides are all good options.
4. Send out a memo before the party
Send employees a written memo before the party that outlines the company’s policy on harassment as well as any relevant dress codes. Management should also remind workers that everyone is expected to act respectfully at the party (HR shouldn’t be solely responsible for ensuring appropriate behavior). Providing specific examples on inappropriate behavior may be a good idea, such as:
- No kissing on the lips
- No asking a co-worker out on a date
- No physical touch without consent
- No telling a co-worker how hot or sexy they look
5. Invite spouses and partners
While it may cost more to invite spouses and partners, they can temper some of the worst behavior at employee parties. For one thing, it’s a lot harder to have a scandalous kiss with a co-worker on the dancefloor with your partner at the party.
6. Plan some fun (but appropriate) activities
One of the ways to prevent people from drinking too much is to give them something to do. While you will want to avoid party games that encourage people to reveal personal secrets or that require physical contact, activities like Bingo or a white elephant gift exchange can be good wholesome fun.
We hope these tips are helpful for ensuring that your company holiday party runs smoothly and that you have a shaka holiday season!
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