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Learn How to Manage Your Holiday Party

By December 19, 2011No Comments

Most employers are planning to have employee holiday parties over the holiday season. It’s hard to find anyone without at least one holiday party nightmare story to share about a fellow employee – and possibly themselves.

Holiday parties are a great way to boost morale and show employees just how much they are really appreciated. With the holiday spirit in mind, we, as employers, also need to keep our employees safe, especially if alcohol will be served at your party. Let’s not forget we’ve got to protect ourselves and employees from any unnecessary sexual harassment issues, too.

Here are a few tips when planning your company’s holiday party:

  1. Set expectations and communicate. Let employees know what is expected of them and what is and is not inappropriate. Pay special attention to those inexperienced employees who may not have attended many office parties yet in their career. Post your policies in the break room and via email as a friendly reminder.
  2. Limit the amount of alcohol served. Have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available and make sure they are easily accessible. For example, you may have an open bar, but if possible, have a separate table with soda, juice and water available as well.
  3. Define the party’s start and end time, and stop serving alcohol at least an hour before things wrap up. Parties with an open-ended end time are a big red flag.
  4. Consider the Distance. If employees are driving themselves, try to plan something close to home to minimize the distance they have to travel.
  5. Provide transportation. Consider providing transportation from the office to the party and back, or a cab ride home in the event an employee has had too much to drink.
  6. Serve lots of protein rich foods and limit the salty snacks that may increase thirst.
  7. Keep them occupied. Some companies have a gift exchange event, team building or scavenger hunt, or other contests. Our company, for example, always has some type of sharing of positive thoughts about our fellow co-workers that has evolved into a great moral boosting event.

As a final thought, you should know that only about half of all company holiday parties will be serving alcohol this year so feel no guilt if you decide to forgo the spirits.

Happy Holidays to all! Be safe.

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