What HR Managers Need to Know About Corporate Holiday Parties

As holiday season is in full swing, and with it the holiday parties, it’s an important time to remember to be mindful, and celebrate responsibly among your peers and colleagues. So, as you plan your holiday work gatherings, here are some tips and lessons learned from expert HR managers to help guide and create a safe, happy holiday celebration for all:  

  • Don’t require attendance.

  • Remind employees that normal company rules of conduct apply during the party.

  • Designate someone to monitor the party and coordinate with event staff.

  • Check with your insurance broker about your business policies regarding alcohol-related exclusions.

  • Watch the alcohol. Most holiday party misconduct happens when alcohol is served, especially when self-served.

  • Don’t host a BYOB party. Hire trained professionals to tend bar.

  • Be sure to provide non-alcoholic beverages, like water, tea, soda, etc.

  • Consider a week-night celebration. This way, employees are less likely to binge.

  • Avoid putting out punch bowls that could be spiked with alcohol.  

  • To prevent drinking from being the focus of the party, provide food and entertainment.

  • Consider hosting your office party off-site at a professionally managed facility with hired and trained bar staff.

  • If the company is providing alcoholic drinks, consider issuing drink tickets in order to limit consumption so that things don’t get out of hand.

  • Shut down alcohol service at least one hour before the party ends, and set a solid agenda for the night’s festive events.

  • Arrange for designated drivers to be on-site.

  • Avoid decorating with mistletoe. It could unintentionally lead to all sorts of harassment issues and complaints that will be plopped on your desk in the morning.

Make sure that you know your company’s liabilities before planning a holiday party to keep everyone full of cheer and safe this holiday season.