Staff Parties vs COVID

10 November 2021

It’s soon that time of the year again and most of you will be planning ahead to organise events for your staff to celebrate the festivities. These last two years have been difficult with limited physical interaction between employees in many workplaces. Same may be said for direct interaction between management and staff. Now that many restrictions have been eased or lifted, it is much easier to ensure that our employees are given recognition for the hardships endured during the pandemic.

We must remember that in many cases our staff have been under constant pressure during these terrible last two years. The fear of physical contact, the reduced hours, the reduction in their pay checks have all loaded pressure and stress on them. Many firms also faced the risk of shutting their doors adding stress on the same employees. It is a fact that valid human resources have become a valuable asset, the costs of recruitment have also soared and therefore it is advisable to encourage team building. Team building increases loyalty towards the employer and increases the possibility of retention. There is no better time to do this so think ahead and do your best to make your employees feel valued in your setup.

But remember that you must still follow closely the directives issued by the health authorities. While small organisations with a small staff headcount will find no problem to organise drinks, dinners or other activities, larger firms will need to think about venues and precautionary measures. For large numbers, directives for gatherings similar to weddings must be followed.. Many venues will help in this organisation process – they would surely have all the relevant info and guidelines! If a vaccine certificate is required, you should leave this for the venue to check upon entrance and in the absence of a vaccine certificate they may ask for a test proving the guest does not have Covid. It is not advisable that you gather this info and remember to not end up in some discrimination dispute related to vaccination – some employees may not be able to get vaccinated due to their physical condition!

It is also advisable to take note of all attendees, whatever the number so that in a worst case scenario, contact tracing will be made easier but do remember data protection implications. While this is obligatory for large numbers, it would also be advisable for smaller numbers. Offering transport to and from the party venues especially if alcohol will be served at these events is surely advisable and do remind your employees of your harassment policy!  This would further the feeling of caring by the firm towards its employees and would also prevent the possibility of staff members getting hurt when driving after drinking or acting irresponsibly with colleagues.

There are many solutions on the local market for the organisation of such events. Our country boasts excellent restaurants, adequate venues and catering firms with a high level of expertise.  There are also many firms specialising in providing entertainment and animation. Most of these also allow the guests to interact with their performance providing a good humored ambiance and memories to cherish for years after.

Bottom line, it is advisable to invest adequately in your staff if you want to ensure not losing valuable human resources. Remember how many resources and how much money and time you have invested in their formation and training. Also keep in mind that at present, Malta is registering a shortage in adequate staff in most industry sectors. New recruitment will therefore most likely be a long and expensive process. Retaining staff which has been trained and nurtured for a long period of time adds to the non-physical assets of your firm and promotes growth. Rewarding your staff is therefore always a win/win situation but always do it within the parameters of the law😊