HR professionals are aware that office parties come with particularly big issues. Dealing with employees behaviour during these parties and facing employees coming to work late the day after the big do, are a few of the situations companies face during the festive season.
How to ensure acceptable conduct at office parties and other work-related social events
- Take all reasonable steps to prevent employees from carrying out particular acts in advance;
- Have a policy on what behaviour standards are expected and what is unacceptable during office parties;
- Monitor staff activities and alcohol intake.
Office parties range from a small social gathering at a bar after working hours to the full-blown parties, usually held at Christmas time, where alcohol flows freely all throughout the event. Such events, while harmless for many employees, even to those who let their hair down, may mean trouble for the few.
Entertainers, ctaering providers and venues should be carefully chosen to ensure accessibility to all and to minimise the risk of causing offence.
Such proactive measures could be the communication of a policy on conduct at work-related social events. Well ahead of the social event, employers should provide clear written guidelines to their employees where they highlight the standard of behaviour expected of them during the events. Such policy doesn’t need to be long, in fact a short policy should suffice the purpose. After being disseminated for the first time, or as part of the employees’ handbook, the policy should also be re-sent via email before each of the company’s social event.
Once the policy on conduct at work-related social events is drafted and approved employes should also be reminded on the Anti-Harassment policy (or other relevant policy) unless it already includes work-related social events.
During the event, a number of top management employees shoud take the responsability for monitoring the activities of members of staff and their alcohol intake. Members of the establishment providing the catering servives of the event should be made aware of who these top managemnt employees are and advised to draw their attention when seeing inapprropriate behaviour or huge alcohol comsumption. The management employees must be prepared to warn any employees who are behaving inappropriately or those who have had too much to drink. They might even have to be prepared to ask an employee to leave.
Employees should also be made aware in advance of the identity of the supervisory top management staff and informed that if they come across any issues during the event, they should report the occurances to any one of them.
One final word…
The aim of these guidelines is not to take the “fun” out of the party but it is to ensure that the necessary measures are put in place which would mean having an enjoyable party without any negative consequences.