5 Things HR Staff Can Do To Avoid An Office Christmas Party Disaster
Christmas is just over a month away (you can bury your head in the snow but I’m afraid that won’t make it any less true!) and so the Christmas party season is about to kick off. Whether your company’s Christmas night is already planned or in the planning stage, these 5 tips for HR Managers could go a long way to making your office Christmas party one of the best employee benefits of the year, rather than leaving you with an HR hangover.
1. Don’t make it compulsory
Good attendance is obviously the key for a top work night out, but by making an office party compulsory there is likely to be a much more pessimistic attitude towards the night. As much as you want lots of people there, you also want people who want to be there and there are other ways to encourage staff to attend other than by making the night compulsory.
By getting staff excited about the event early on, peer pressure will surely encourage most staff to attend and nobody will be blaming HR for having to go out. Remember that the party will eat into your employees’ free time so they have to have the opportunity to politely decline if they so wish.
2. A Friday is a great night to host it
From some of the HR managers I’ve spoken to, the biggest concern surrounding an office Christmas party isn’t focussed on the night itself but on the morning after. Post-night out absences are a big concern for HR people as it can lead to messy disciplinaries as well as lost working time. By hosting your office party at the weekend, however, the Saturday morning hangovers aren’t an HR Manager’s problem (well, apart from the self-inflicted ones!).
3. Make sure to invite everyone!
This one may sound obvious, but it is the most important part of an office Christmas party’s planning.
In large organisations it can be hard to remember to invite everyone to the party, but it is so vital that the HR department doesn’t leave anybody out. Remember that not everyone at the company may have a work email address. Remember those staff that are based in another city as they may well be back home for the holidays. Remember the interns. Remember those on sick or maternity leave. Just make sure you remember everyone!
Although email can be the best way to organise and spread the word around an office party, encourage employees to spread it via work of mouth as well. It could save some HR staff’s cheeks from blushing as red as Rudolph’s nose on the big night.
4. Food glorious food
Whatever the Christmas party event is, make sure that some food is available at some point in the evening. We’re all experienced enough to know that eating is important (and not cheating) on a work night out and a little bit of food can help the night survive a little longer.
5. HR Managers should keep work talk off limits
Obviously the majority of staff will discuss work issues on the night given that it’s the only thing they’ll have in common. That’s understandable and not a problem, but the HR department should avoid work discussions at all costs.
Why is that? Well, many employees have little contact with the HR department when a company is a large one and they may be keen to discuss promotions, pay rises and similar after a couple of drinks. HR managers should move this topic on straight away as the worst thing that can happen the morning after is finding out you’ve made a promise (or even being wrongly accused of doing so) that you have no intention of keeping.
Photo credit goes to PlanetC1