HR Insights: 5 Holiday Party Best Practices

| November 30, 2022
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Company holiday parties present a variety of liabilities for organizations each year. Everything from choice of venue and
employees’ religious affiliations can create friction even before alcohol is thrown into the mix. Below are some best practices
for hosting a successful holiday party.

1. Update Your Employee Handbook
Prior to the event, make sure your employee handbook is up to date regarding applicable holiday party topics, including the
following:

  • Outlining anti-harassment policies
  • Enforcing a dress code
  • Forbidding alcohol consumption while conducting business
  • Expressing consequences for inappropriate behavior, like overt drunkenness

2. Make it Optional
Generally, if a workplace function is mandatory, employees must be compensated for their time. Depending on the number of
employees, enforcing and tracking attendance may be difficult. With this in mind, it can simply be easier to make the party
optional.

3. Keep it Festive
There are several arguments about the appropriateness of observing one holiday over another. For example, some
workplaces may favor a “Christmas party” over a more inclusive celebration. However, focusing on the holiday spirit—and
avoiding religious celebrations—can help avoid unwanted employee divisions or discrimination suits.

4. Control or Limit Alcohol
Many organizations offer alcohol at holiday parties, but that comes with additional risks. Consider some of the following
methods to help control employee consumption:

  • Offer drink tickets (with a maximum limit)
  • Only offer lower-alcohol drinks, like beer or wine

5. Designate a Monitor
If you decide to offer alcohol, make sure there is a company-designated person to flag inappropriate behavior and ensure
everyone leaves the party safely.

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