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HR Do’s and Don’ts to enjoy the festive period

Christmas party bust ups, strip clubs, getting wasted and mistletoe merriment… read our guide to avoiding Christmas chaos.

Paula Squire, Head of the Taunton Employment team will guide you through the HR minefield of managing staff over the festive period. If you like what you hear, then do also let us know if you can make our festive themed Christmas HR lunch club, whether in person or online – click here for more details.

I love the festive period! My decorations will go up in early December (Okay…mid-November) and I am the first to attend the Christmas Jumper day in the office. But I also know that employment lawyers and HR teams can be seen as the “fun-police” of a Christmas party, the crusher of an office romance and have a policy to dampen even the strongest Christmas cheer. So, sit back with your mince pie and let me guide you through the festive period as a reminder of actions you can think about before enjoying the fun yourself (although not fully, we need set an example, right?!):

  • Do – Remind your staff to enjoy the festive period, but not too much! A Christmas gathering is a lovely way to say thank you to your staff. But remind your staff to watch their behaviour as it is a work organised event and to drink responsibly.
  • Don’t – forget those who do not drink, for example, for cultural reasons. Remember to ensure good non-alcoholic drinks and food to balance any free bar. Also consider nominating a member of management to refrain from alcohol to deal with any incidents or emergencies that arise.
  • Do – be prepared to deal with any inappropriate behaviour in line with your company policy and be consistent in how you apply this. Remind yourself and your team of what you need to do with incidents of unwelcome advances and banter that may be offensive which can occur at such events. Your email to staff before the event will become all the more important if something arises. So write it with this in mind.
  • Don’t – Take staff to strip clubs….bad idea. Ensure you have a good equal opportunities and harassment policy!
  • Do – be flexible over Christmas time off. Whether you close over the festive period or face more requests than normal for time off, do ensure your time off rules are clear and fairly applied. Remember that different religions may not celebrate Christmas the same way. Staff may want to swap public holidays over the festive period for days that suit their religion. Facilitating this can be a great way to show inclusivity.
  • Don’t – forget to invite all staff, whether on maternity, paternity or other special leave or long term sickness absence to your festive fun.
  • Do – remind staff of your wellbeing initiatives. Christmas can be a stressful time of year and with added time at home and pressure to fit in work before time off. This can cause additional stresses, so do be mindful of all these issues and ensure they have support for staff. You could remind staff of your EAP schemes or your wellbeing support together with tips for keeping well over the Christmas period. This can be helpful and ensure your staff are reminded of support during the holidays.

Please get in touch if you wish us to help with your email to staff, advice or training of how to deal with issues noted above. Enjoy the festive period!


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