Avoiding compliance issues at your work holiday party

John Sherman

Are you hosting a work holiday party, but want to make sure everything goes to plan this year?

The festive holidays are nearly upon us, which means tis the season to be jolly! Not only is it one of the best times of the year for social gatherings with family and friends, but it is also a time of celebration for many companies and businesses.

It marks the end of the business year and this means thanking employees for all their hard work over the last 12 months. Of course, everyone really loves the free food and drinks at the holiday party - this is normally the highlight of the year for many people!

We’ve all heard the stories that float around the office the following week about the time someone had a little too much at the work Christmas party.

While these stories can be harmless and funny, often things can turn sour pretty quickly at a work holiday party, especially when alcohol is involved.

Intoxication and employees going overboard when it comes to alcohol can lead to serious problems for your company. We aren’t just talking about spilled drinks – we mean safety concerns, bad behavior and harassment claims.

Too often we’re seeing complaints and problems at holiday parties, which takes the fun away from the festive occasion. The worst thing is that these situations could be easily avoided.

Not only are adverse events departing from the holiday spirit, but it also means that your company is liable for anything that happens between employees – it doesn’t matter that it didn’t happen during normal working hours, you are responsible.

So, how can you make these problems less likely to happen? Well, we think it’s all about changing the setup of your holiday party and making sure everyone knows exactly what’s expected of them. Let’s have a closer look.

Change Your Focus

What’s the first thing a lot of employees think about when you mention the holiday party? It’s got to be the unlimited alcohol.

While you want to reward your employees for their hard work, it doesn’t mean you need to give them unrestricted bar access. Now, we don’t mean ban alcoholic beverages altogether – we’re just saying everything in moderation.

There’s no doubt we can see a link between intoxication and unacceptable conduct. So, just forget about the open bar this year. Why not provide drink tickets so everyone can enjoy their fair share without overdoing it?

Even simple adjustments, such as serving a full dinner or limited the wine on the table, will make sure everyone stays in the festive spirit and nothing bad happens.

Another way to ensure a fun and happy holiday party for all your employees is to switch it up and focus more on having different games and activities. After all, this is a social event – it’s a great time for employees to bond and get to know each other.

Drive the Message Home

One of the best ways to have a successful holiday party is by reminding employees what is expected of them beforehand. This is the simplest way to point out what’s acceptable conduct and what will not be tolerated.

This way you can set the tone and create a safe environment for everyone. Let’s not forget that the work holiday party is about having fun and celebrating the end of the year after all that hard work!

So, how can you do this? It’s pretty easy actually – e-learning online courses. Let’s face it, a lot of your employees won’t read the boring and long email you send around warning about inappropriate behavior. This means you’ve got to get creative.

Thankfully, e-learning online courses do this for you. All you’ve got to do is select the ones you want.

Just like we use e-learning online courses for employee inductions and ongoing training purposes, they’re also exactly what you need to remind everyone about acceptable conduct at the holiday party.

The great thing is that it’s instant to add to the LMS, cost-effective and engaging for employees. Why send around a lifeless email when you can choose an animated and colorful video that employees are going to remember?

e-learning courses can be general and explain the rules and regulations, as well as highlight your own company policies that everyone should comply with.

It’s going to bring to light the key points that should be in the back of employee’s minds when they are at the party. This can avoid the risk of unpleasant and unacceptable situations occurring.

Often telling a story is an easier way for people to digest the information and it brings to life what can actually happen in real situations. Sometimes this is all that’s needed as a deterrent.

Plus, another benefit of e-learning online courses is that you can choose courses with quizzes at the end and track employee’s process to see who’s completing the compliance courses and how well they’re doing.

By changing the focus of your work holiday party and reminding employees before the event of the company rules and policies on unacceptable conduct, you can minimize the risk of bad behavior and harassment from happening.

This way you can have a celebratory holiday party where you can toast to the accomplishments of the year and make sure your employees feel appreciated. It’s all going to boost the morale in the office and promote a happy New Year for all!

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