With the December rush well and truly on as we head towards Christmas, and with end of year parties on the agenda, now is the time to engage with employees and remind them of the policies that will minimise risk to themselves and your company.
The mix of alcohol (and potentially other drugs) and an informal, relaxed atmosphere can be a recipe for disaster if not addressed before official and unofficial events.
It’s wise to remind your employees of your Code of Conduct, Drug and Alcohol and other employment related polices including bullying and harassment before the event.
Employers and senior executives can no longer rely on human resources departments to manage risks at staff Christmas parties, and face bigger potential fines this year under new workplace health and safety rules, lawyers warned.
Here are some things to consider before the big event from “What not to do at the Christmas party” published by the AFR.
Six tips on what not to do at Christmas parties.
1. Failing to set an example: Don’t let the behaviour of management mean all the training goes out the window.
2. Letting drinks flow too freely: Someone needs to turn off the alcohol tap if things are getting out of control.
3. Failing to plan: managers should ensure they have policies and procedures in place and distributed to staff to minimise the risk of bullying and harassment well ahead of the big night.
5. Failing to consider what happens later: Don’t pick a venue without safe access to transport home and consider offering cab charges to those who appear intoxicated or those who have to travel distances at night.
6. Letting a junior person be responsible for running the event: It won’t be them that gets hit with a big fine if something goes wrong.
Some worst-case Christmas party scenarios worth planning for:
Re training and re communicating relevant policies is essential at this time of year. Remember your duty of care as an employer extends to out of hours company sponsored events.