Christmas Party HR – Enjoy (and survive) this years Christmas Party. christmas party hr

Christmas parties can be a well-earned chance to let off some steam and an opportunity to congratulate the workforce for a year of hard work.  However according to the CIPD Christmas party hangovers cost UK businesses £740 million in lost productivity in 2012. There is a lot anecdotal evidence amongst the HR professions of post Christmas Party disciplinary hearings as a result of inappropriate behaviour often fuelled by alcohol.   Employers are responsible for their employees.  This applies in at the Company Christmas party in the same way as it does in the workplace. Consequently, the usual day-to-day expectations of behaviour still apply even though you are away from the workplace. If someone is behaving in a way not tolerated during the working day, it should not be tolerated out of hours.

You should take the needs of all your employees into account including making sure the venue is accessible to all, providing non-alcoholic drinks and making sure that those who don’t wish to attend are not treated any differently to those who do. You should also extend the invitation to all your staff – including those on maternity leave.

Laying ground rules prior to the party can help save problems later. Let your staff know what is expected of them and have the supporting policies in place.

Read our Christmas Party HR rules:

Rule 1:

Make sure staff understand the company rules still apply no matter where you are, or how late it is. This means that the usual day-to-day expectations of behaviour still apply and inappropriate conduct is still a disciplinary offence! 

Rule 2:

If the following day is a normal working day, make sure staff are clear about expectations for attendance and make early arrangements for any leave requests.

Rule 3:

Don’t encourage excessive drinking. If you’ve supplied drinks, employees may regard this as an excuse for over indulging and offensive behaviour.

Rule 4:

Don’t encourage drink driving, in fact you must positively guard against it. Consider arranging transport home for staff.

Rule 5:

Remember your duty of care to staff.  Keep a watchful eye on those who may have over indulged and may be vulnerable.

Rule 6:

The use of any controlled drugs is an offence. Make clear it is gross misconduct, wherever it occurs.

Rule 7:

Avoid discussing staff performance or career prospects; this is a night out not a performance review meeting! And a promise made on a night out could be regarded as a verbal contract.

Rule 8:

It’s great to share social activities and give a flavour of what your company is about. But make sure staff are clear about your social media policy. Staff should be reminded that the lines between public and private can become blurred, so anything posted at, or about, the Christmas party, is effectively a company posting. Consequently, posts must not contain libellous, defamatory, bullying or harassing content. Posts must not compromise the company’s reputation or expose it to legal risks.

Finally, once you’ve got the ground rules in place, don’t forget to have a great team night out! Christmas party HR doesnt mean you cant have fun.

If you need advice on anything mentioned above please contact Sean McCann at People Based Solutions on01925 425957 or

People Based HR