It’s Holiday Party Time! If done well, holiday parties, summer picnics, group lunches, and team building events can improve employee engagement. However, these events present an interesting challenge of guests trying to “let loose” and enjoy themselves while maintaining their reputation. It can be a tricky obstacle. However, when done correctly, party planners can reap the benefits without additional trouble.
During the planning process, consider the best way to approach sensitive topics, such as alcohol, and create guidelines ahead of time. It is important to create an environment that boosts employee morale and retention levels across the board. This can be done in a safe and responsible manner.
If alcohol is part of the party, it is best to select an off-site venue for your event. Select a location that provides a bartender and liquor license. Do not allow employees to self-serve drinks from a keg, have unlimited open wine at the tables, and/or a self-serve bar.
If you choose to limit drinks per person by giving all adults over age 21 two tickets, understand that people who want to drink, find tickets. Another possibility may be giving all guests over 21 a wristband that gets a mark for each drink.
To ensure that guests are not drinking and driving, have transportation options set-up in advance. Ask if the selected venue has contract with taxi companies that can be on standby or consider using services, such as UberEVENTS, to provide guests with the flexibility of door-to-door transportation.
Company holiday parties should have themes that are considered non-denominational. If you intend to play holiday music, avoid selections that include overly religious songs. This should also be kept in mind when considering decorations and activities for the guests.
Corporate planners should consider single event liability insurance. It may be expensive, but it may be worth it in the long run. These policies are designed to protect the policyholder against lawsuits, claims made related to bodily injury of others, and property damage to the rented premise.
As always, make sure your managers have received sexual harassment training. Before the company party, send a reminder to all managers about expected behavior – they should be role models and should set the tone for appropriate conduct.
Sometimes, when co-workers get together to enjoy a party, it can quickly turn into an atmosphere that feels like a college frat party. A great way to avoid this is by allowing employee to invite their spouse and/or guest to partake in the festivities. When selecting the location, pay careful attention to the look and feel of the venue. For example, a bar in Pacific Beach may not be the best choice. Exercise good judgement in party planning!
Managers should make sure guests know that holiday parties are voluntary and they will not be paid for attending. Therefore, don’t ask them to work. If you require an employee or two to assist with the event, be sure to pay them for their time.
Company holiday parties and their aftermath can be the backdrop for harassment complaints and drinking-related accidents and injuries. It is important to engage in careful planning designed to mitigate the potential risks and, hopefully, to avoid these problems. No plan is foolproof, but these tips should help party planners to provide a safe and enjoyable event for all guests this holiday season.