There are plenty of articles currently available providing invaluable HR and employment law advice just for the season. So, just in case one more is needed, here is my holiday related wisdom for HR folk everywhere.
- Employees sometimes do stupid stuff. At Christmas time and otherwise.
- Just deal with it.
- Resist the urge to worry too much about vicarious liability, discrimination and constructive dismissal. Although it is probably a good idea not to put any mistletoe up in the office.
- Resist the urge to write any sort of policy.
- Resist the urge to put any sort of disclaimer about behaviour in any Christmas party related literature. If someone wants to punch Bob from Accounts on the dance floor after 12 pints of beer then they will do it anyway. See points 1 and 2.
- Resist the urge to write special rules about absence from work after social events. See point 2.
- Apply Christmas common sense.
- Avoid sprouts in an office environment at all times. This is especially important in small or poorly ventilated offices.
- Never, ever, buy Secret Santa presents from Ann Summers*.
- Enjoy yourself. Put a tree up. Eat some Quality Street. Wear a Christmas jumper. And if you feel yourself turning into the HR equivalent of Ebenezer Scrooge, then just watch this…..
*Yes, this did happen somewhere I used to work. Yes, it resulted in a formal grievance.
Snowman picture courtesy of @AATImage
Thanks Gemma. Timely reminder for us all to enjoy ourselves a bit and not be the fun police! My Christmas jumper is ready for Friday – National Christmas jumper day I think?
So agree Gemma. The only advice needed re work social events is: (1) You’re at work (2) Enjoy yourself (3) Don’t be an idiot
I love this christmas song! And is that snowflakes on your blog? Awesome!
Spot on Gemma!
I like the general notion but totally disagree with point 5. Reminders about standards of behaviour are the backbone of being able to effectively deal with the fall-out when someone does punch Bob from Accounts! The action itself may well happen anyway but that doesn’t mean a responsible employer should just accept this as par for the course.
My issue with such warnings is the implication within that employees are stupid. Most people are fully capable of understanding that such behaviour is no more appropriate on the dancefloor as if would be in the canteen. Whether you have formally stated ‘the party is an extension of the workplace’ or not any employer would still be reasonable in taking action. Most people don’t need to be told how to behave. Always in favour of addressing them / writing policy for them rather than the minority.
Refreshingly common sense advice.
And can I add for the benefit of law firms:
11. Resist the temptation to send out annoying press releases warning about the legal consequences of getting Christmas parties wrong in an effort to promote your employment law department. We’ve seen them all before year after year and apart from casting a dampener on the Christmas spirit they are BORING!
Common sense and a picture of Worm’s head as well.
Add some advice to managers
Your role at the party is simple: turn up, pay up, leave early and always remember it is the inalienable right of every employee to moan about their boss, get over it
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