FRIDAY HR FAQs – Should you set a task at interview?

In essence there is no right or wrong answer to this question, it’s a decision you will need to make based on what competencies and skills you want to assess during the meeting.

As part of the selection process, employers may conduct numerical testing or ask candidates to complete a technical questionnaire to establish their level of knowledge on a certain area of the job.  These are quantitative approaches and provide easily comparable results between candidates.

If you want to find out about a candidates communication skills, how they approach scenarios, what their level of enthusiasm for working in your industry is, or whether they prefer following a process or their gut feeling, then setting a task for the interview could be beneficial.

Tasks require the candidate to come prepared to talk about a particular area of the job or company during their interview. Setting a question accompanied by background information in advance for the candidate to prepare a response, will encourage creative thinking. Your candidate can then plan a well-rounded argument with the benefit of being able to research the topic and fully understand the brief.

Allowing candidates to come prepared with an answer to a task will no doubt help you to get the best out of them and reduce the risk of uncomfortable silences from springing tricky questions on them.

That’s not to say that challenging, on the spot questions should be avoided at interview, and this approach is tried and tested and allows the interviewer to see how the candidate thinks on their feet and whether they react well under pressure.

should you set an test at interview - hr revolution - outsourced hr

However giving a candidate the chance to prepare and hopefully excel on a particular topic is also a useful interview technique, as it can reveal other important qualities and traits about them.

Interviews are generally seen as nerve-wracking, with the employer doing the grilling and the candidate often crumbling under the pressure.

So it’s important to remember that the interview scenario should be an opportunity for you to build rapport by speaking openly and honestly with your potential new team member, and so you should want them to do their best and hope they leave the interview feeling positive about working for your company.

Consider using an interview task to dig a bit deeper into why a candidate wants the job. The right task, which focusses on a plausible work scenario or issue, can reveal what the candidate’s ideas are about the industry, their plans to develop their position (or even wider team and business), and how their previous experience has set them up for the challenge.

You may want to suggest they prepare a PowerPoint presentation or bring handouts, as these will also give you an insight into their writing style, presentation skills and also how committed they are to getting the job depending on how well they prepare.

If you have any handy hints, tips or real life experiences we would love to hear them, please reply in the comment section below.

Or get in contact:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

HR Blogger

How to really switch off from work when you go on holiday…

Holiday season is well and truly underway, time to take off from work to relax and recuperate, however, for many, booking annual leave can cause stress and anxiety.  However, holidays are vitally important as they help us to stay balanced, healthy and stop us drowning in work related stress.

I think it’s fair to say that most of us will spend some point of our holidays worrying about work, checking emails and picking up bits of work when we should be relaxing, pretty pointless really.

Fear not we have some solutions, so read on to find out some helpful hints on how to switch off from work and come back refreshed and revitalised, you’ll then be ready to cope with whatever work has to throw at you!!!

Try not to leave anything half done it’ll only make you stress while you’re away, finish off any loose ends and leave a handover document if you’re not able to get everything done.

how to really switch off from work when you go on holiday 1- outsourced hr - hr revolution

Tell people that you won’t be checking emails then set up an out of office email, how long you’ll be away, and who people should contact if they need anything urgently.

Get some perspective, you are not indispensable while you are away, other colleagues will cover for you, in much the same way you would cover for them this does not mean they will get your job!  If they were better than you, they would already have it and going away for 1 or 2 weeks is not going to change this…

Switch off your work phone, I know it’s tempting, but don’t message your work wife for all the office drama that you may/may not be missing while you’re away. Technology is such a massive part of our lives today, that we are constantly distracted, you don’t need to know any work goings on, wait until you get back!

Do nothing, give yourelf permission to completely switch off, a recent study published in the Psychological Science journal suggests that sitting back doing nothing can boost your skills, productivity and commitment, allowing you to re-focus and reduce stress…

I for one will be practicing the above when I go on my annual holiday in a few weeks time, I’m going to switch off, kick back and enjoy my holiday guilt free!!!

If you need and HR advice or guidance give HR Revolution a call and see how we could help: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

HR Blogger

 

No cost morale boosters for the workplace

The sun is set to shine this week (once we get over the storms!)… could it be that summer is here?  But when the sun is shining, most of us can easily think of dozens of things that we’d rather be doing than sitting at a computer in a stuffy office.

The summer months can be a tricky time for employers; employees are likely to be jetting off on holiday, and those left holding the fort can feel demotivated and restless.

To stop this, we are giving you our top 8 tips that you can implement for your employees to make a real difference in productivity and the general mood and feel within your business.

Why not pick a couple, and get to work, you might be amazed by how much difference they can really make!

1. Find out what your employees really want

It’s easy to jump to the assumption that a pay increase is what will really make the difference, often though, this isn’t actually the case. The best way to find out what you employees are looking for, is really simple; ASK them! Next time you have a team meeting with your employees, ask questions about what they’re currently dealing with, what their biggest challenges are, and how improvements could be made.

2. Support a local charity

There will be causes that are close to your employees’ hearts, for a variety of reasons. Think about how you can support charities and get your employees in some fundraising (not forgetting team building) activities. From sponsored cycles to fun runs, there are many options that you could pursue.

blackboard-board-close-up-908301

3. Say thanks

Think that boosting morale is about huge gestures and complicated initiatives? Not at all, never underestimate the value of thanking your employees for their contribution. It might seem like common sense but it is something that is overlooked in the day to day running of a busy business.

4. Gym membership

At this time of year, many of us are thinking about how to improve our health and fitness for that break on the beach! As an employer well-being is vital if your employees are to make a solid contribution to the business. Consider how you could create a partnership with a local gym or fitness facility to kick-start a healthier lifestyle. Involvement should never be compulsory, so take into account personal preferences, and don’t make employees feel obliged to get involved.

5. Encourage taking a lunch break

In most offices now a lunch break involves a sandwich hastily eaten in front of the computer. This can decrease creativity, and leave your employees feeling lethargic. Why not lead by example by taking a your lunch break away from the office, maybe lunchtime walk, or checking out a new local café, and encourage your employees to do the same.

6. Ice creams anyone? 

Everyone enjoys an ice cream when the temperatures are soaring. Why not treat your employees to a cool treat during the afternoon – who doesn’t love a Magnum!!!

Ice cream 2 - outsourced hr - hr revolution

7. Get the creative juices flowing

Creativity is something which should be harnessed and encouraged in the workplace. So what can you do to shake up day-to-day routines and inject some creative thinking? What about a chill-out zone, with ping-pong and pool tables, or quiet areas that are conducive to creative thinking, or encourage employees to learn new skills or get involved in new leisure activities.

8. Introduce short daily meetings

Email can be a wonderful tool for communication in the workplace, but there’s no substitute for proper face-to-face communication. Try holding brief meet at the start of every day, so employees can get a feel for what everyone else is working on, and be reminded that they’re working towards a common purpose.

There’s a huge amount of value that can be taken away from trialing and testing different initiatives to boost morale. Every business is different, so it’s really important that you take an approach that works for you and gets the best possible results.

If you’re concerned that low morale could become a serious problem, then you need to take action right away, give HR Revolution a call: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

HR Blogger

Tips for less workplace stress

Following on our theme of Stress Awareness Month, it probably comes as no surprise that research often finds that work is the most stressful factor in peoples lives and this can be caused by a number of things, such as poor management, an excessive workload or being set unrealistic targets.

Stress-related absences are one of the biggest costs to businesses every year, so most could really benefit from taking a closer look at the way they manage their people, especially how they cope in stressful situations.

Below we have put together a few tips that business owners/managers can do to improve the way they manage their employees ensuring they are not the cause of any unnecessary stress and frustration.

Listen

Taking time to listen to your employees is imperative as it not only makes them feel valued, it can have a massive impact on their performance and productivity. An employee might be trying to tell you how a different approach to a task could be more efficient or cost effective or they may have a creative idea that could help you solve a long-standing problem. It can also alert you to an employee who may be struggling with a personal issue or heavy workload and who needs more support.  Taking the time to listen is invaluable and ensures you really take in what your employees may (or may not!) be telling you.

 

Be available

As as a business owner/manager, supporting your employees is part of the day job – and this can only be done effectively if you are available and approachable. Make sure your employees know it’s alright for them to ask questions or seek advice if they’re unsure about something. Also if you are often out or in meetings, let them know your movements so they can plan the best time to catch you. A couple of minutes spent answering a quick question not only gives them reassurance that they are doing the right thing, but will save trouble further down the line if they were headed in the wrong direction.

Be trustworthy

Make sure that your team knows they can trust you and have your support even if things don’t go to plan. If people are afraid they will be unfairly blamed for anything that goes wrong, they will be constantly operating in a state of anxiety and won’t do a good job. Equally, make sure credit is given where it’s due and that you acknowledge the work of your team when things go right. Don’t make promises to people if you’re not sure you will be able to deliver, if you operate with honesty and integrity your employees will do the same.

 

Be open and direct

Uncertainty is the cause of much of the stress and anxiety in many businesses and if you don’t let your employees know what is happening they will speculate, gossip and often wind themselves up into a frenzy over a rumour which is completely unfounded.  If there are changes on the horizon, tell employees what you know – or if you don’t know, let them know when you expect to know more. Open and honest feedback on performance is also vital, employees will want to know how they are doing and if they need to be doing anything differently. Don’t just wait for the performance review to come around, if you give people feedback on an ongoing basis they will be clear about what their priorities are, secure in the knowledge they are approaching tasks in the right way and that you will support them in any areas where they may need further development.

Show empathy

Even though you are in charge of a team and you need to make sure they get the right results that doesn’t mean you can’t show kindness and sympathy where appropriate – show your human side! Many business owners/managers are uncomfortable displaying any kind of ‘emotion’ in the workplace and shy away from difficult or personal conversations with employees. However, stepping outside of your professional role and communicating with people on a personal level will help you build a much more motivated and engaged team. Remember be as flexible as possible when people are dealing with difficult personal issues – and if someone’s performance is not up to scratch, make sure you look a bit more deeply into what may be behind the issue.

If you need any further help or guidance about how to deal with stress in the workplace, give HR Revolution a call: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

HR Blogger

 

 

Tips for creating a positive workplace

We all know that the environment you work in has a big impact on how you feel, so it’s probably no surprise that as adults we spend over two thirds of our life at work!! a very sobering thought indeed…

So it is really important for employers to create a positive, healthy workplace, where employees have mutual respect, feel valued and appreciated as these things all strongly contribute to creating happy employees.

Listed below are ways to help achieve this:

Acknowledge accomplishments

It is a proven fact that employees respond to praise and appreciation expressed through recognition of their good work, because it reinforces their work is valued.  When employees feel like this, their satisfaction and productivity rises and they are motivated to keep up or improve their good work.  Doesn’t everyone appreciate a ‘pat on the back’ to make them feel good, I know I definitely do!

Positive Communication

Make sure you communicate, as we know feedback whether good or bad is fundamental in the workplace.  You need to discuss regularly with employees what they have accomplished and what is going well in their job, helping them to feel connected and part of a team. Delivering feedback ensures your team strengths are being highlighted and made good use of, and of course gives employees direction on what they can improve on.

Celebrate employees

Look for ways to celebrate with your team whether it’s an employee birthday or recognising a milestone or achieving a goal. Honoring wins and milestones improves morale by encouraging the person recognised and showing team members that important events are noticed and praised.

accomplishment-achievement-adults-1059118 - happy employees

Reward good work

As an employer you may not always be able to reward by means of a pay-rise, but there are alternative ways to reward your employees, implementing exciting incentives that give the employee something tangible to work towards, such as a competition to win a gift card – which are low cost and give the employee the choice of what they want.

If you need any help or guidance about creating a positive workplace, give HR Revolution a call: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

HR Blogger

 

 

Why wellbeing should be part of your HR strategy

We are hearing more and more about the need for wellbeing in the workplace, but what does it really mean? Surely, wellbeing means healthy eating, keeping fit and that is something as individuals we are responsible for ourselves.  Why should employers pay out for wellbeing benefits or consider it as part of an HR strategy? Shouldn’t it be the individual’s responsibility?

Well the short answer is, YES we should all, as individuals, want to keep fit, have a good diet and ensure we get a balance between work and life so that we remain happy and healthy in our lives generally; but there is an element of responsibility that employers should be taking to ensure that they promote a healthy way of working and living, which in turn promotes a positive workplace, healthy bodies, healthy minds and ultimately more engaged employees.

We all want to work in a fun, vibrant and positive working environment and with the right supporting management styles this can easily be achieved and doesn’t have to cost your business a fortune.

Stress is one of the leading causes of long-term absence in the workplace and costs businesses thousands each year. So why not try to combat some of the stress of the day to day working life by adding some healthy and energy building ‘downtime’.

As an employer, providing support for your employees (which also includes your line managers) is really important and it helps keep everyone moving forward in a healthy and productive way and by improving you and your team’s wellbeing you will see some serious benefits to your business!

To help combat workload pressure, we’ve put together a list of ideas, which include some very simple and FREE wellbeing benefits:

Mental Wellbeing

  1. Offer spaces in your office to take time out – a kitchen or sofa area – Office space comes at a premium, so if this isn’t possible then allow your employees time out and/or regular breaks to relax.
  2. Be available and have your line manager trained and available for employees to talk to.
  3. Provide an employee assistance programme – which can be set up and run internally or is often included with private medical or general health assurance packages. These programmes give employees a help line to call for employment, financial or medical queries and very often include counselling. This will help them, but also allow them to do this confidentially with a trained counsellor.
  4. Provide healthy eating options in the office; fruit and herbal teas such as mint, green or camomile alongside your normal caffeinated drinks (tea and coffee) will help encourage your employees to be healthy inside and calm the mind.
  5. Have water freely available.
  6. Build a no blame culture that gets to the bottom of problems and finds a positive way forward rather than pointing the finger and raising anxiety levels. This will help employees identify areas where they have made mistakes and allow their line manager to work with them to rectify it and put in place measures that mean it won’t happen again.
  7. Ensure all your employees have proper job descriptions and are aware of what their role is and the KPI’s or targets that they will be measured against. It’s never nice if you aren’t shown what to do and if they aren’t aware of what’s expected, how can you expect them to achieve anything. By being open and upfront you will lower anxiety/stress levels and ensure the team are all pulling in the same direction.

Physical Wellbeing

  1. Allow your managers the ability to be open and acknowledge health problems. Employees must feel confident in approaching HR to discuss the issues affecting their performance at work.  If they are able to ask for help without being penalised you will have a much healthier environment and you will be able to deal with the problems head on.
  2. Offer Flexible working. Flexible or remote working is a straightforward way to improve wellbeing. Surveys have shown that employees would happily take a pay cut and work part-time to spend time with their families but some employees aren’t aware it’s an option, so if it is, let them know. You are more likely to lose talented employees due to lack of remote working or flexibility in hours.
  3. Have a sickness policy that allows employees to take sick days and doesn’t force them to come into the office when they are unwell. Remote working can help with this if they are able to work but would prefer to be recouping at home at the same time. It will save them spreading germs and cut down the time they feel unwell as they have time to rest away from the office.
  4. Create a wellness programme to support employees when they are unwell but also help boost them when they are well and working hard. Including a wellness programme when hiring is a very positive thing and is often the deciding factor when accepting a new job.
  5. It is predicted that one third of UK adults will be obese by 2025. By including a physical wellbeing programme you are helping to lessen that ratio. Joining programmes that help with physical wellbeing not only helps employees health, it supports positive mental wellness and builds team support as employees will feel more included in the community within the business. It also helps retention as they are working with like-minded people and enjoy the comradery.
  6. Your Physical wellbeing programme can include; discounted gym access, onsite fitness courses, personal training sessions, mindfulness and yoga classes, stress management and nutritional classes. Adoption of healthier working should allow for regular breaks from screens, 5 minute stress-busting walks, downtime and break out areas in the office.

Let technology take the strain

Build in technology to help organise, simplify and support workloads.

  • HRIS: In the HR industry we recommend using a good HRIS portal (HR Revolution partner with breatheHR a fully web-based HR admin solution, read more about breatheHR here) to help track and log everything linked with your employees including holidays, absence and training along with employee documentation. All in one place with easy access for line managers and employees.
  • Hiring Software: If you are hiring on a regular basis sign up to some of the recruitment portals that offer free process platforms, websites such as Indeed or Reed offer free advertising, tracking and response platforms to help co-ordinate everything and take the pressure off.

We would encourage all employees to start utilising the health and wellbeing provided by their employers, this includes line managers and owners, who are notorious for not taking time out for themselves, if they burn out, who will steer the ship forward then?

If you need any further advice or guidance to come up with ideas that you feel will work within your environment give us a call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

As you’ve seen from the lists above these ideas don’t have to cost anything, but they will add huge value to the general wellbeing of your team and ultimately the business.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

HR BLOGGER CTA

 

Need to grow your business? 5 ways to keep your employees happy!

One thing we hear time and again at HR Revolution from our clients is that they can’t seem to hire enough of the right people!

The crux of the problem is that you need enough of the right people to grow your business but those people are much harder to find these days!  With a clear shortage of good employees, the first step that business owners need to aware of is making sure they keep the talent they already have.

In the past when the economy was down, few companies were hiring and employees would put up with a lot to keep a job, however, that is not the case now!  Employees who’ve had bad experiences will be on the look out for something better!

Here we cover 5 ways in which to keep your employees happy:

1. Communicate Constantly

It is crucial to keep everyone in your company informed of what’s happening.

Delegating tasks to an employee without explaining the reason behind the workload or its purpose can become problematic. Issues with misunderstanding, demotivation or frequent errors can arise from this, which makes it important to explain why completing ‘A’ will benefit ‘B’.

Clarity for the employee is rewarding, it makes them feel trusted and dependable. The last thing you want to find on your desk is a letter from an employee venting their lack of job satisfaction alongside an urgency to leave.

The workplace has no room for tough love; communicate why certain behaviours and standards are expected, you are all in the business together and the best way to tackle an employees mistake is through calming explanations of what to do next.

2. Encourage New Ideas

If an employee has suggestions to help the business grow, listen to them. Employee feedback is a way to know that your team actually cares for your business. You could email everyone on your team that your door is always open to new ideas, you may be surprised at how much co-operation and creativity that could ignite.

Even if you get unwanted suggestions remember to respond positively, you can thank them for taking the time to send through their ideas and that you’ll consider them. Remember it’s a way to make everyone feel appreciated and important.

3. Reward Appropriately

Compliment efforts with rewards and praise. You can equate how much effort is exerted to accomplish a goal, but sometimes a simple thank-you and recognition can be good enough. Making your employees feel valued can be done in two forms:

Verbal

When an employee performs a task well or reaches a goal, let them know how pleased you are with their work. There’s nothing wrong in expressing a complimentary word or two; in fact, your employee will be much more motivated to do their tasks over again no matter how challenging it can be.

You know John Smith from accounting? He’s the guy who sits at the back of the office and rarely gets a mention among his colleagues. Read his stats and then tell him he’s doing a great job and how his work has been an integral part of the success of the company.

Tangible

Now this is what it’s all about, give employees a concrete reason to succeed. It can be in the form of a bonus, free tickets or gift certificates and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Your employees will be pleased at the thought of their efforts being reciprocated, which empowers them to do more. It’s a Win-win!

group hug

4. Promote Balance

Results or time? There’s no competition here. Results will always win, hands down, don’t demand unnecessary overtime from workers for the sake of it and then proceed to compliment them in the next team meeting for not having a life. Compliment when  things get done at the right pace and in the right amount of time. Praise work quality hours over who quickly works for quantity!

That’s not to say there won’t be a time when extra hours will be required to appease the workload; but as a leader, it’s vital you get your troops to work smarter. Not harder.

And besides, an employee who works normal hours and enjoys a healthy work-life balance will ultimately be the happiest. He or she will most likely be up early in the morning and ready to produce more outstanding work with a smile. After all, you didn’t push them to work till silly o’clock.

5. Motivate

It’s vital that you constantly remind your employees to strive for the best.

Fostering motivation increases their productivity during working hours, which in turn increases everyone’s satisfaction, and all of this results in happiness. And happiness? Well that results in success…

If you need any further advice on how to keep your employees engaged, happy and successful get in touch, call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

HR BLOGGER CTA

New Year – New You – improve your mental wellbeing at work in five easy steps

Happy New Year, another year is over and we start 2018 afresh.  However, according to a YouGov survey last year, three in five employees have experienced mental health issues in the past year because of work; below we outline five steps that can be taken to improve wellbeing in the workplace.

1. How to identify your triggers

Mental health charity Mind says, working out what triggers stress or poor mental health can help you foresee problems and think of ways to solve them.

Take some time to reflect on events and feelings that could be contributing to your poor mental health. You might be surprised to find out just how much you’re coping with at once.

Triggers may well be problems with certain tasks at work, one-off events like doing presentations, as well as regular issues such as attending interviews and appointments.

Also be aware that not having enough work, activities or change in your life can be just as stressful a situation as having too much to deal with.

2. Manage your time

Managing when and where you work can be helpful, since 2014, all employees (not just parents and carers) have had the right to request flexible working for any reason, and this can include switching shifts, working different hours and sometimes working from home.

Working from home, for example, can mean you skip the commute and instead spend that travelling time with your family, exercising or even getting up slightly later (while still getting to work on time).

3. Switch off that mobile phone

Unlike in France where employees have the right to disconnect, in the UK many people feel they can’t switch off, which can be detrimental to mental health.

There’s no such thing as work/life balance, most people think about home life when at work and work life when at home so they become integrated.  But that doesn’t mean that you need to be “constantly on”; scrolling through work emails or your work social media accounts 24/7 doesn’t give your brain a break and can lead to problems.

When you leave work, actually leave work, this means turning off your work phone. Like a laptop, we need to switch ourselves off and recharge and it’s vital not to have your work phone near your bed at night, as it interrupts your sleep.

4. Eat, sleep, exercise – repeat

When you’re not at work, pack in plenty of healthy, nutritious food, sleep and exercise. We all know that these things can boost our mental and physical health.

Being outside can help, going for a 15-minute walk during the day helps clear the mind according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, even if it might be difficult to take breaks at work when you’re stressed, it can make you more productive.

5. Don’t be hard on yourself

Of course many people have demanding jobs and when you’re caught up in a cycle of relentless hours, it’s easy to be hard on yourself.

Often we don’t need our boss or colleagues to give us a hard time as we’re good at doing that ourselves.  If you’re struggling at work, give yourself some space. This could mean taking a few days off, requesting flexible working or getting some support outside of work but once you’ve had some space, you can make good choices.

If you need any further help or guidance on wellbeing in the workplace, get in touch with HR Revolution, give us a call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

HR BLOGGER CTA

A version of this article first appeared on theguardian.com

 

 

Office parties – a word of ‘festive’ warning!

For HR departments and employment lawyers alike, it is as much a Christmas tradition as turkey and mince pies. Every December we bring out articles on the perils of holding an office Christmas party, so as not to disappoint here are this year’s top tips.
Venue
It’s worth thinking carefully about the venue for your Christmas party. Is it accessible to all? including those with a disability? Can people get home easily? Choosing a venue that might encourage people to ‘drink and drive’ is clearly not advisable. So consider whether you have good public transport links or ready access to taxis.
Invitation list
When compiling the invitations be as inclusive as possible, no one should feel left out. Remember to make an effort to invite those who are currently away from work, whether because of maternity leave, sickness or any other reason. If employees are encouraged to invite their partners along, allow for the reality of unmarried couples and same-sex relationships.
Party planning
Think how you can make the party appealing to all. Organising an event based solely around the consumption of large quantities of alcohol will no doubt please some of your employees, but it could well be a turn-off for others. In particular, be sensitive to the religious and other beliefs of your employees; make sure there are plenty of non-alcoholic drink options and any food on the menu contains a vegetarian option.

Also be mindful of any guest speakers or entertainers you choose to use. There is a very well-known Employment Tribunal case circa 1996 that arose out of the booking of the ‘stand-up comedian’ Bernard Manning. You can probably guess what went wrong there!

Discussion topics
When a lot of alcohol has been consumed, people become less inhibited and more likely to say (or do) precisely what is on their mind. As a result, the risk of discrimination and harassment claims rears its ugly head. So make sure people understand that this is a work event and a level of professionalism is still required. Oh, and if you’re the boss, remember that alcohol and conversions about pay rises don’t mix!
The morning after
Make sure people understand whether they are required to be in work the day after the Christmas party. If they phone in sick, carefully consider whether it is genuine sickness or the result of over-indulgence. Then consider whether disciplinary action is required.
Policy revision?
You don’t need a policy specifically to cover your Christmas party, but it is worth considering whether your existing policies on conduct, harassment etc. are clear about what is expected of employees in this context. Take a look at HR Revolution’s Employee Handbook, it helps set out core Company expectations in terms of general conduct and includes all of your integral UK policies and employment legislation.
Lastly; enjoy, let your hair down and have fun!
Finally, and before we begin to sound too much like the equivalent of ‘Scrooge’, the Christmas party is a chance to come together, celebrate a successful year and thank your colleagues/employees for their efforts. It is also an opportunity to have fun. So having taken some sensible precautions, relax, unwind and enjoy yourself. You deserve it!
If you need any help or advice with any issues discussed above or updating any office policies all found in our comprehensive Employee handbook, why not get in touch HR Revolution and make sure your office Christmas passes without incident.

Give us a call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.