Christmas party tips for HR professionals

December 8th 2019 | Posted by phil scott

Christmas party tips for HR professionals

Christmas party tips for HR professionals

It’s December and party season is here. Over the next few weeks, businesses will most likely be hosting a Christmas party for their employees.

Large or small, the office Christmas party is a time for a company to thank and reward staff for their hard work over the year and a great opportunity to boost staff morale and team spirit.

After a lot of hard work and planning from those who have put together the Christmas party, it goes without saying that the company wants to have an event that is fun, enjoyable for everybody and problem-free.

But, from drunken arguments to ill-advised workplace romances, a badly managed Christmas party can end up being a real headache for HR departments.

So, in order to ensure it’s as smooth running and successful as possible, here are some things to remember when organising and running a Christmas party.

Be inclusive

When planning the event, including the venue, food and drink and any activities, remember to make sure that the style of the party is as inclusive as possible to all the different staff and accommodates different needs and requirements.

This is as simple as incorporating dietary requirements in advance and having plenty of variety of non-alcoholic drinks available so that everybody is comfortable to eat and drink at the party with no concerns.

It could also mean creating a party that’s made up of different stages so that it appeals to a broad cross-section of employees.  For example a team building off-site activity followed by dinner and then by a party with a DJ would appeal to a broad group of employees and offer something that can be enjoyed by lots of people.

Invite everybody, but make sure that employees know there is no obligation to attend – it’s a choice and it’s important to understand that people for various reasons may be unable to come or choose not to.

Plan ahead

For a company-wide event, don’t leave anything to chance.  Plan the Christmas event as far in advance as possible, from beginning to end, including the finer details.

Most importantly, tell employees in advance what the party will be like and what they can expect. This will help get people interested and excited about what’s coming up, but also can highlight and hopefully solve any potential problems that could affect any employees. If any individuals have any questions or concerns about the type of party or event, they can discuss this in advance and come along on the day comfortable and ready to enjoy the celebration.

Set expectations

While the office party is a celebration and a chance for employees to relax and enjoy themselves, it is sensible to remind staff members about expectations for behaviour at the event and remind them of company policies for this.

Points to address can include:

  • Behavioural boundaries and what is deemed unacceptable
  • Expected behaviour surrounding alcohol at the party
  • Notice that harassment of colleagues will not be tolerated
  • A reminder about discrimination towards colleagues
  • Reminder about employee expectations of using social media
  • Explanation of the consequences of crossing the behavioural boundaries or harassing colleagues, eg disciplinaries

After party behaviour

It makes sense to give staff a heads-up about what’s expected of them the next day so there are no surprises on either side.

Will the company give everyone a later start the next day?  Will the business be comfortable with a very relaxed working environment the day after? Or does the company staff expected to book a day off work in advance?

Giving guidelines before the event about what the next day at work may look like is a good idea to ensure individuals understand what’s expected of them at work and can plan ahead so that the next day goes smoothly for everyone.

Hosting a company Christmas party is a great way to celebrate the end of a year of hard work and say thank you to employees for their dedication and contribution.

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