The advice from the HR experts is to act now to prevent problems at your office Christmas party.
We’ve kicked off the month December and many are getting ready for their office Christmas party, whether they’re busy organising a celebration or simply attending one. For some, it’s a great time of the year to relax with co-workers and celebrate a successful 12 months of hard work. But it’s important to also remember those who might be anxious about the social event for any number of reasons.
Writing for Fora, managing director of Adare HR Management, Derek McKay, said that’s something HR professionals, and indeed any office party planners, should keep in mind this festive season.
“Organisations have a duty of care to all employees and should take reasonable steps to ensure that inappropriate conduct at these events does not arise,” he wrote.
“To ignore an incident due to the fact that it occurred at the Christmas party may leave the organisation liable.”
McKay recommended steps to take during the lead-up to the party season, such as making sure that staff members are thoroughly briefed on the standard of conduct expected of them.
He referenced the policies a company should have in place already and that employees need to be made aware of, such as dignity at work – covering bullying and harassment – as well as policies around email and social media use, attendance at work and disciplinary matters.
For other considerations that employers need to keep in mind when planning a party – dealing with attendance, food, drink, transport and shop talk, for example – check out the full article here.
On the back of a survey from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions on the subject of sexual harassment in the workplace, consultancy firm HR Team said that employers should act sooner rather than later to prevent inappropriate encounters at social events, such as upcoming work Christmas parties.
HR Team director Breda Cullen’s advice was to “ensure that each employee is made fully aware of the policies and procedures governing their behaviour at the annual work shindig”.
“The findings of the ICTU survey regarding the reporting of sexual harassment during work social events such as the Christmas party may be shocking to many but will come as no surprise to HR professionals. Sexual harassment is the most prevalent claim brought to employment tribunal following work celebrations and parties.”
Like McKay, Cullen noted that having guidelines and policies in place “will clearly set out expectations regarding standards on behaviour at the party”, and encouraged workers to speak up if they feel uncomfortable at work-related events.