Festive parties and social events are a very common way for Employers to say thank you to their team for the hard work they have put in throughout the year. In our experience, 99% of employees are respectful of the situation and appreciate the gesture of a festive event and behave appropriately. However, on occasion, issues do arise which is why preparation is key.
Setting The Scene
On the odd occasion, we have had to deal with issues following a social event, our HR team have picked up a few hints and tricks on how to prepare for an event and avoid these situations. The most common issues our team have dealt with include ‘An Employee not attending work/arriving late to work the day after an event’, ‘Unwanted behaviour at work-related events’ and ‘Drunken/Inappropriate behaviour at a works event’
Preparing for a works Festive event
Whether you have decided to throw a festive party or opted for a quieter bite to eat for your festive celebration this year, it is important to make your expectations of behaviour clear beforehand so your employees know how to enjoy the festivities in an appropriate way.
Before The Event
Ensuring you have a policy in your company handbook is a great start to making sure you are telling your employees what you expect of them in a work social situation. This policy may cover expectations on behaviour, alcohol intake and appearance and should be issued to every employee regardless of whether they are attending a social event or not. You need to outline clearly what your business classes as unacceptable conduct and what consequences are involved i.e harassment, violence, excessive alcohol intake etc.
If however, you also wanted to submit a separate ‘Festive Party’ notice to your employees we recommend it covers the following; State the consequences of arriving late/not attending work the day after a social event, Reiterate your company Harassment & Behaviour policy as this will show that as a business you have taken reasonable steps to present any of this behaviour from happening and finally, it may be worth adding in a separate section regarding alcohol consumption and inappropriate behaviour.
When planning for the event it may be wise to consider the amount of free alcohol you may offer to your employees (if any!). Putting a limit on this i.e 2 drinks per employee will remove the risk of a ‘free bar’ which encourages excessive alcohol intake. With this in mind, it is also necessary to consider those members of staff who do not drink alcohol and ensure the free drinks per person includes soft drinks and any suitable alternatives. Having one or two managers monitoring the event and the activities of staff members is a good way to help prevent any issues from arising.
After The Event
As an Employer, you have a duty of care to your employees at work-related events. Organising suitable ways to get home after an event e.g taxis or coaches and stressing the importance of not drinking and driving should be considered before the event takes place.
It is important to be aware that Employers can be held vicariously liable for the actions of their employees at work parties if it the actions are deemed to have been committed in the course of employment, which is why preparing correctly and ensuring all steps have been taken to ensure things like this do not happen is extremely important.
Dealing With ‘The Aftermath’
As we mentioned earlier, it is not common that we have to deal with a lot of issues following a social event, however, if something does happen the good news is you don’t have to pick up the pieces on your own. Our HR team are experts in this field and know how to deal with all issues that may arise after a festive party in a professional and efficient manner. Simply get in touch with your dedicated HR Advisor if you’re already part of the summ.it family and if not, simply get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help.