We’ve all heard the horror story – The employee who had a little too much to drink at the company holiday party and (fill in the blank). How can a company provide a festive gathering, yet protect the organization from social media embarrassment or worse yet, a lawsuit? Here are a few recommendations to employ when planning your holiday party (or any corporate gathering for that matter!):
• Send out a quick email reminding employees of your social media policy (if you have one). The last thing you want is for embarrassing photos or videos to show up on popular social media sites for the world to see – with your company’s name attached!
• Along the same lines, remind employees that they are under the same expectations outlined in your company’s employee handbook while attending the gathering just as they would be at the office (e.g., harassment policy, general/workplace conduct policy, etc.).
• Host a holiday lunch versus a dinner. Employees are less likely to overindulge in alcoholic beverages at a lunch versus dinner event.
• If you are serving alcohol, make sure you have plenty of food and non-alcoholic choices available for the party attendees. Do not have an open bar – cash bars only.
• Offer free taxi rides to anyone who might have had one drink too many.
The holiday season and end of year is a time to gather and reflect on all of the accomplishments throughout the year. As the leader of the organization, you have a responsibility to keep your employees safe and your company out of hot water. With proper planning and foresight, you can host a fun and safe event that everyone will be talking about – for all the right reasons. Happy Holidays!