What could possibly go wrong?

Yes, December is nearly upon us again. You’ve probably already booked your venue for the annual celebration of your business’ stellar performance throughout the year. You want to thank your employees for their massive contribution and you probably feel like letting your hair down a bit too.

That’s great, but it’s prudent to have a few checks in place before the big event:

  • You no doubt already have strong policies on bullying and sexual harassment. Now is a good time to remind your people of these policies and to review what is expected of people generally when they attend a work-sponsored function
  • You should remind people a few days before the party of how you expect them to behave on the day itself
  • Make sure the venue you choose has a responsible serving of alcohol (RSA) policy that they strictly adhere to
  • On the day of the function ensure that at least one senior manager is present at all times during the function. It’s preferable if that person doesn’t drink at all. You might even solicit the help of any other non-drinkers, if they’re willing to keep an informal eye on things
  • Make sure you serve non-alcoholic drinks and plenty of food and water, keeping in mind any special dietary requirements
  • If anyone seems drunk they should be immediately cut off from the bar and sent home in a cab
  • Have a definite start and end time for your function and make sure people leave the venue when the time arrives. Don’t let people linger at the same venue. If they want to kick on, they should go somewhere else
  • Do not let anyone use their corporate credit card at a different venue. This also applies to you as the business owner, if you decide to kick on somewhere else. The idea is to separate your business from the social gathering, once the official party is over
  • Make sure people can get home easily after the event. You could set up a work Uber account and have a designated person available to book people’s trips home. Cab charges are a good alternative
  • Be sure to promptly and thoroughly investigate any complaints you receive about harassment, bullying or physical violence, as you would normally at any other time
  • Don’t forget, if you do close down over the December break, give employees at least a month’s notice and be prepared to answer questions about paid and unpaid leave, especially from your recently-hired employees who may not have enough accrued paid leave to see them through the annual shutdown.