When December comes around, it’s time to prepare for your company’s holiday party. Because some employees may not have attended a company party before, and other employees may need reminders of behavior expectations, you want to send an HR memo with guidelines on how to make the party a success for everyone involved. Here are three things to include.
Employee and Guest Expectations
Include a section on what you expect of your employees and their guests during the holiday party. For instance, employees are not required to attend the event. They may have other obligations or religious beliefs that prevent them from going. Insisting employees participate can be considered discrimination. Stress that the dress code is business casual. Since coworkers, clients, vendors, customers, and their families will be at the party, appropriate attire is required. Remind employees that those who choose to participate should have fun, drink responsibly and behave in a mature, responsible manner throughout the event. Stress that employees have a general duty to take reasonable care of their own health and safety. They also have the same obligation to others who might be affected by their acts or omissions. If alcohol is consumed, it should be done in moderation. Improper conduct such as excessive drunkenness, use of illegal drugs, unlawful or inappropriate discrimination or harassment or violence toward a guest or member of the wait/bar staff will not be tolerated. Disciplinary action will be taken and may result in summary dismissal.
Write a section detailing company policies and procedures for appropriate employee and guest behavior during the holiday party. Due to health and safety laws, as an employer, you’re responsible for your staff’s actions during company events. Even though you’re not in your regular working environment during business hours, any social event your company organizes is considered an extension of the workplace. Refer employees to your written HR policies and/or employee handbook for additional information. Encourage them to come to you with questions or concerns. If the party is mid-week and employees need to be at work the next day, let them know they must show up unless already approved for a vacation day. Overindulging is not an acceptable reason to be absent. Be clear that normal policies and procedures for absences apply. Failure to show up will result in disciplinary action.
How to Get Home After the Event
Remind your employees that they and their guests never should drink and drive. Employees should make prior arrangements to get home, such as by Uber, Lyft, taxi, or bus. You can provide information on local taxi companies near the venue. Remind employees to be careful about how they leave, whom they leave with and where they go when they leave.