The holidays are upon us, and that means holiday parties! Many employees anticipate the fun and festivity of the company holiday party all year. What do you need to consider to ensure a fun, respectful, safe and “risk-free” party? Take these tips into account.
Prepare for the party
1. Make sure the venue and service providers are properly licensed.
2. Communicate expectations to employees before the party via memos and/or meetings. Make sure to include the following in your communications:
- Attendance is not required as a condition of employment. Attendance is voluntary, and no compensation will be paid for this time.
- Company policies apply to work events even after hours and during unpaid time.
- Excessive drinking and illegal drugs will not be tolerated.
- Outline what steps will be taken to ensure a safe event.
- Appropriate dress code policies apply to the holiday party.
- Reiterate your sexual harassment policy.
- If employees exchange gifts, be clear about what is considered appropriate for business associates. Include acceptable price ranges.
3. Remind supervisors of steps they should take if they overhear incidents of harassment or other inappropriate behavior.
1. Make sure everyone knows not to conduct business during party time. This is especially important for managers and if suppliers or customers are included.
2. Be aware of cultural differences and do not allow any discriminatory behaviors.
3. Consider the appropriateness of the decorations, food, and music and make sure it won’t be seen as offensive to any group.
4. Be wary of mistletoe. Play it safe with a photo booth and costumes instead.
5. If you serve alcoholic beverages, follow some of these tips to limit your risks and your guests’ safety:
- Do not have an open bar. People drink less when they have to pay for their own drinks.
- Use a ticket system to limit the number of drinks served to individuals.
- Only serve alcohol for a short period.
- Provide a meal or heavy appetizers.
- Have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available.
- Instruct the bartender to refuse service to anyone who is visibly drunk.
- Card everyone or provide wristbands to everyone over 21.
- Have a plan of who and how to address any insobriety.
6. Don't play favorites. All eyes are on the leaders of the company so be sure to make everyone know how valuable they are.
7. Have fun and enjoy being with your employees!
The party's over
1. Consider having alternative transportation for those who need a lift. Uber, Lyft, etc. are great options.
2. If the party is at a hotel, you might negotiate a reduced rate on a couple of rooms, just in case.
3. Investigate any complaints that arise from the party. Failure to respond to allegations could lead to greater liability than the original complaint. Conduct a thorough investigation.
Holidays are a special time of the year for most of us in the United States. But not everyone is happy. Be mindful of those employees who have suffered a loss in the past year and will be celebrating without a loved one for the first time. A little bit of empathy on your part can go a long way.
Also remember that it really is a season for giving so help your employees give to others by including them in any company charity initiatives.
Enjoy the season and remember, if you need any help in communicating about the party, policies, or expectations, please give us a call.