‘Tis The Season Of The Christmas Party – How To Ditch The HR Hangover

‘Tis the season of the Christmas do. Festive music, tinsel, mince pies… and the seemingly inevitable next day headache for the HR department.

It’s a prospect that can fill even the most festive of employers with dread.

So, how do you throw a successful Christmas party and ditch the HR hangover?

Like most things during the yuletide season, it’s all about planning. You wouldn’t leave it until Christmas Eve to do all your shopping (Okay, but that was only once) and throwing a work party is no different.

Give yourself ample time to sort the details. Christmas parties are an extension of the workplace, so it’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure that everybody is considered during the planning.  Is the location disability friendly? Are there non-alcoholic drink options available? If food is involved, does it cater for people’s dietary requirements? Taking individual needs into account will ensure that every employee can enjoy the party equally and fairly.

Don’t make it compulsory. It’s normal to want to encourage comradery within a workplace, but some peole just have an incurable aversion to Wham! and that can’t be helped. Making it optional ensures that attendees actually want to be there and will create a better atmosphere all round.

While parties are a great way to celebrate a year of hard work, it can be easy to get carried away with the Christmas spirit and forget it’s still a work function. Consider reminding your employees of your company policies, especially on conduct, disciplinary and social media, to minimise the chance of someone spoiling the festive fun.

If you offer an open bar, organising designated drivers or other transport can be a pre-emptive strike against having to deal with less-than-sober, stranded employees later in the evening. You should also be prepared to ask individuals to take it easy if you feel the drinking could go to far, no one wants to be the office Grinch but it’s important to remember that you’re still an employer and have an obligation to keep things under control.

And finally, as a rule employers and managers should avoid discussing the four P’s with any employee during the party – performance, pay, promotion and personal feelings. In the more relaxed setting of a party, and perhaps after a few drinks, discussing these topics tends to be a risky business. Keep this kind of talk during work hours to avoid saying something that might be regretted the next day.

Every business is different, but by following these tips you can make your Christmas party should be a moment to remember and not a night to forget!


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