Office holiday party pitfalls
Holiday parties can be great for team relationship building and boosting employee morale this time of year, but it is wise for employers to realize the potential problems that can stem from bad behavior at company parties. Mountain States Employers Council offers some tips on how to plan a holiday party to avoid the most common pitfalls before they happen:
Managing Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is one of the biggest potential issues at company parties. It is best to hold an alcohol-free event, but if alcohol is served, hold the event at an off-site location with a liquor license. Licensed professionals will check IDs before serving guests and cut inebriated drinkers off, if need be. Alcohol consumption can also be limited by providing drink tickets, allowing two drinks per employee. Holding the event or celebration after hours during the week – instead of on the weekend – is another way to help reduce employees’ temptation to drink too much.
Avoiding Inappropriate Behavior and Harassment Issues
Limiting alcohol is certainly one of the best ways to avoid claims of harassment or inappropriate behavior, the second most common company party complaint. Taking measures to manage the mood and atmosphere of the party during planning is another way to prevent unwanted behavior. Invite employees’ spouses or families to the party, avoid explicit music or entertainment and leave any inappropriate gifts at home. It also helps to set expectations with employees before the party to ensure that they are aware of the behavior that is expected of them.
Keep It a Celebration
Make sure to take steps to ensure that your event is inclusive and welcoming for all employees, regardless of differences in religion or ethnic background. Avoid making the party feel like work by inviting clients, requiring employee attendance, discussing next year’s goals or having work discussions. If employees start to feel like the event is work, it’s easy for companies to get into sticky situations with wage and overtime issues.