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Christmas Party Secrets

Love them or loathe them, works Christmas parties are as much a part of our business life as emails, technology and #cakefriday.

In recent years, we have seen a number of businesses opt for a Christmas lunch or a hamper type gift which are very neat ways of avoiding the whole party issue.

If you are opting for the Christmas party, because let’s face it your workforce probably won’t let you get away with anything less, but want to minimise the risk of after party HR challenges, these are our secrets to putting on a good works Christmas do.

Secret Number One – set the scene

It’s a good plan to clearly convey the purpose of your Christmas get together when issuing the invitation.  So, that means, setting the scene.  Usually, a business will put on a Christmas party as a thank you for the team for their hard work during the year.  If that’s what you mean, then say so.  Make it clear that it’s in recognition of their efforts and because it’s organised and paid for by the Company, it’s a work event.  Set the scene without being a party pooper.

Secret Number Two – it’s all in the planning

If you know that John in Accounts and Brian in Despatch don’t get on, take control of the seating plan and distribute them accordingly.  If you know that the young ‘uns will want to dance and the not so young ‘uns won’t, think about zoning your party so that there’s an area for dancing and also a quieter area for people to sit and chat if they want to.  If your team includes a mixture of different religious beliefs, think about how you term the party in the first place.  Is it a Christmas party or an end of year celebration?

Secret Number Three – don’t be the Christmas alcohol fairy

Yes, we recognise that a free bar will make you extremely popular with your staff and they’ll love you forever for it.  So will a solicitor who’s advising a member of your team on their rights after there’s been an alcohol-related fracas!

It’s a much better idea to set a limit for how much alcohol you’re prepared to provide.  If you’re providing the wine with dinner then think about how many bottles is reasonable per table.  Otherwise, you could consider using drinks vouchers so each person gets a certain number of vouchers each to use.

If they then buy their own drinks after that, at least you can demonstrate that you’ve taken a controlled approach to how much alcohol you’ve actually been responsible for providing.

Not taking this approach has seen businesses pay significant fines following alcohol related incidents at or even after a work Christmas party.

The Simple Take: communicate the purpose, take time to plan and don’t give unlimited booze away if you want your Christmas party to go like a dream instead of a HR-nightmare! 

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