Whoever says holiday season, inevitably talks about the office party. Be careful not to slip up. To avoid this, the Order of Certified Human Resources Professionals has some recommendations.
A special time for a company’s employees, the office party allows for a celebration between colleagues of the year that has just passed. For the employer, it’s also a chance to thank employees for the work completed over the last twelve months. But for the party to proceed smoothly, some basic rules must be followed to protect the physical and moral integrity of employees. Because if there’s the slightest problem, the employer will be held responsible.
Before the party, several actions can be undertaken. First, inform employees how the evening will take place: time and place, detailed schedule of activities. Make sure that transportation to and from the event proceeds safely (escort service, designated drivers). It will also be necessary to give a reminder of company policies of civility and harassment and give examples of behaviours considered appropriate or not.
To achieve this, several means are available to the employer. Avoid having an open bar, offer a number of restricted coupons to the guests during the cocktail, limit the number of bottles of wine served during the meal, offer a broader selection of non-alcoholic drinks, inform servers not to continue serving an employee showing signs of intoxication, distribute breathalyzers, etc.
A watchful eye
At the first signs of nervousness in a discussion, the employer should not hesitate to intervene. To ensure smooth running of the party, people in positions of authority can be designated. They will be empowered to intervene to ease tensions and avoid displaced attitudes (fights, breakage, harassment, etc.). In the event of a serious discrepancy, disciplinary measures should be subsequently applied.
For more information and advice, the Order of Certified Human Resources Professionals has made a special Christmas Party kit available on its website.