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Haines Watts Northampton Phone icon 01604 746760

With December just around the corner, many employees are looking forward to the festivities, Secret Santa, and the most talked about event of the year – the Christmas party! For business owners, the idea of encouraging the team to let their hair down, to display their best moves on the dance floor seems like a great use of the company budget. After all, it bonds the team, helps form new relationships and motivates your employees, right?

 

My most accurate response to this is, “well, yes, in part, but no, kind of!” Why? The ultimate optimist, and someone who loves a few drinks myself, sees huge benefit in team social events. The HR professional in me sees floor-to-ceiling risk! Now, I’m not advising you cancel all plans, but let me help you prepare by arming you with some information that can help you create some boundaries. Legally speaking, the Christmas party’s an extension of the office, even if it’s held offsite and outside normal working hours. Here’s a few useful facts to take into consideration;

 

  • 43% of employees who drink alcohol have said there’s too much pressure to drink when socialising with work colleagues, with pressure coming from a senior leader (Drinkaware, 2019).
  • 2 million employees call in sick the day after the Christmas party. Think of the lost productivity! (NAHL)
  • Alcohol does strange things to people and you remain liable for acts of discrimination, harassment and unwanted conduct. Don’t misread any Mistletoe madness.
  • There’s an increase of up to 30% in traffic accidents during December (NAHL). As the employer, you may be vicariously liable for this.
  • Millennials and Gen-Zers are said to be drinking less than the other generations. Social media’s thought to be attributed to this, as drunk photos being posted on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are not welcomed.

 

As a business owner, have you woken up the following day, taken something for the headache and realised one of the above’s taken place in your business? Have you sat with your head in your hands wishing there was a ‘Big Red Button’ on hand, such that someone would be there to help you address the problem? Ideally, we prefer to build a relationship in advance of these incidents but if we’re not lucky enough to be working with you yet, here’s some of the things you should consider if you’re hosting a Christmas party:

 

  1. Remind employees, and brief your management team about the company’s expectations; dress code, behaviour and alcohol consumption;
  2. Consider the next-day attendance arrangements. Do employees really need to be in the office, or can they work remotely?
  3. Control the amount of free alcohol and make sure food and non-alcoholic drinks are provided. Not everyone drinks;
  4. Be prepared to deal with any inappropriate behaviour head-on and in line with your company policies;
  5. Set the social media policy and consider GDPR. Not everyone wants to have their photo on social media;

 

With just a week until December, you have time to address this – If you’d like any help or to discuss the above, please do call us on 01604 746760 or email us on northampton@hwca.com.

Want to know more? Call us on 01604 746760 or email northampton@hwca.com

About the author

Alexandra Marriott

Alexandra's role is two-fold; she partners with CEOs, executives and owner-managed businesses to align their people strategy with their business strategy. With her team, she has a relentless focus on any given destination with the aim of reaching it in the smartest, most commercial and economical way. She’s also a member of the Haines Watts (SEM) Board, where she leads the development and implementation of people strategy, aimed at building and retaining high performing individuals.

Earning her stripes in the motor, retail-leisure sectors and IT managed service environment, Alexandra worked across a portfolio of owner managed businesses and international finance houses, designing solutions that enabled each business to thrive. Taking a gamble in 2010, she set up her own HR consultancy which allowed her to bring her own business ideas to life. This facilitated her joining Haines Watts in 2016, bringing her portfolio and team along with her. After 2 decades in the industry, as a qualified HR professional, she continues to prove that HR is an asset.

Alexandra’s solution-focused, often inspiring others to better themselves and is a strong influencer within the business, pushing fellow board members to make smart people decisions. Recently, having become a mother, she’s now thriving from the challenge of balancing both her career aspirations and family life.

I love spending time with my 'partner in crime' (Peter!), whether this be trying out new restaurants, planning holidays, or just relaxing and having a laugh together. I’m passionate about being fit and strong, both physically and mentally. Regardless of what life throws at me, I ensure I take time out to plug in some music, lift some weights or go for a bike ride.

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