Twas the office night before Christmas…

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the office
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,
which is not really surprising as the very night before
was the office Christmas party and everyone’s heads were quite sore!

Off in Lapland they had partied as well.
And poor old Rudolph wasn’t feeling too well.
Did he not get the memo on the office policy
that you must turn up for work the next day filled with glee!

Nope his red nose was shining, from too much champagne.
And poor Vixon was blushing; she’d been on the copier again!
The head elf had bought the worst Secret Santa of all
So the PA was cross, shocked and appalled!

Then the big man appeared and said “this just will not do”.
Go grab some coffee we have much work to do!
So they all pulled together through the morning from hell.
Saying Don’t tell HR and all will be well!

And so a happy Christmas to all and all a good night

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very merry Christmas and happy New Year.

We’ll be back on 2nd January 2018…

 

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.

 

HR Revolution’s guide to organising work Christmas parties…

The Christmas period is a challenging time for many companies and business owners alike.  Profits are at the forefront of their minds to ensure sales continue right up to the end of the year and their products and services are the ones consumers want to spend their hard earned cash on.

If you’re caught up with the complexities of planning your approach to maximising sales and profits, you might not have yet thought about whether you’ll organise a Christmas party for your employees.

On paper, it’s a great idea. Everyone enjoys a chance to unwind, and you reward your employees for all their hard work that they’ve put in over the past year.

What could possibly go wrong?

Generally speaking, Christmas parties get a lot of bad press. You’re probably familiar with horror stories involving workers who have taken full advantage of the free bar, and then went on to well and truly disgrace their employers. The truth of the matter here though is that these incidents are few and far between.

Yes, of course things can go wrong. But if you do some thorough planning in advance, you can avoid problems and give your employees the motivational celebration that they deserve.

Download our FREE guide, where we will go through the bases you need to cover so you can round off 2017 on a high note for you and your employees.

Why not give us a call, or visit our website: HR Revolution, we are ready to answer any Christmas related questions you may have +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

HR Revolution, expert CIPD HR professionals, supporting your employees and business.

 

 

An HR nightmare at the Christmas party

Today is the 1st December and the office party season is now well underway.  It’s a time for most employees to unwind, let their hair down and have a few drinks after working hard all year. While most parties pass without incident, people can sometimes let their hair down a little bit too much and indulge in actions and behaviours which cause distress to others and serious headaches for HR.

When you bring together an office full of people who only really know each other in a work capacity and give them loads of alcohol, the results can be unpredictable, but what should you do if one of your employees crosses the line at the office Christmas party?  We’ve put some possible scenarios together and how they should be handled by HR.

SCENARIO 1: Inappropriate advances

A drunk employee repeatedly tells a colleague how gorgeous they think they are and that they’d love to get to know them better. He/she does not report this, but it makes them feel very uncomfortable and they tell a colleague in confidence.

It seems like the employee doesn’t wish to make a scene at the party but is clearly uncomfortable with what has happened – this is highlighted by their need to express their concerns to another colleague. As a result, this should not be discussed during the party so as to no make them feel uncomfortable.  It is always better to wait until everyone is sober before broaching any kind of issue.

The next possible working day an informal meeting should be scheduled to find out what happened and whether it was a regular occurrence.  If, after exploring this, it was found it was a one-off event then I would ask if he/she wishes to take things further, in which case we would have to follow procedure for inappropriate behaviour towards a colleague, and if not, it would just be noted down on file.

Separate enquiries should be followed up with the employee concerned, asking them their recollection of the event and whether he/she feels that the approach they took was entirely appropriate. It would be best to remind them that relationships at work are not encouraged by the company and advise that there would be no further follow up, unless further complaints were received.

SCENARIO 2: Loose lips

A drunk employee lets slip that the boss is planning to make a number of redundancies in the coming weeks. This information is highly confidential but now a handful of people know.

I’m making the assumption here that it would be a Senior Manager releasing this kind of information, which would make the breach of confidentiality more extreme. I wouldn’t act on this information at the party but on the next possible working day it would be necessary to meet with the employee and establish what had happened a the party.

It may be necessary to conduct a full investigation with the individual to ascertain what was said and the reason this might be. It would be wise to speak with those employees that had been told about the redundancies and note their account of the events. At this point we would also ask how far the information had spread and look to gain general reactions. Unfortunately, such information could have a serious impact on employee morale and gossip often circulates quickly, so it is extremely important that it is dealt with quickly and with discretion.

If it can be proven that the employee let slip this information, then we would have to follow the disciplinary process with them, as they have breached their trust by divulging this information. The company itself should look into sending a company-wide email to alleviate any fears and ensure we communicate effectively with staff members. It may also be necessary to follow up on this email to ensure everyone understands and is on the same page.

SCENARIO 3: The fight

As the drink flows two party goers start to have a disagreement. Temperatures boil over and the two start pushing each other and squaring up. Blows are exchanged by both, before colleagues break it up.

Make sure the fight is broken up and both parties are put in separate taxis and sent home.

The next possible working day invite both employees to a disciplinary hearing, where they will receive a warning for bringing the company into disrepute and failing their roles as ambassadors of the company.

Unfortunately, when everyone has had a lot to drink, emotions run high and unresolved issues can turn into full-blown arguments.

Although employees are outside of work hours, they are still representing the company and should behave accordingly. As a result, it’s important to have procedures in place to deal with any conflict that may arise eg. a no tolerance policy towards violence within the workplace, which extends to any organised work event, and the procedure is exactly the same as the one that would arise should employees get in a fight in the office.

SCENARIO 4: Sex in the stationary cupboard

An employee is heading into the stationary cupboard to collect another case of red wine that has been stored there when they discover two colleagues having sex. Embarrassed, they both straighten their clothes and re-join the party. The person who discovered them goes back into the party and tells some colleagues about the hilarious discovery.

In this case, I would not address them at the party, although I may try to defuse the jokes that could arise from the person who discovered them telling other people, as this could result in bullying.

I would meet with both parties separately on the following work day to establish what had gone on and hold an investigation. We don’t encourage relationships within the workplace and it is certainly not appropriate to have sex at a work party. However, it would be necessary to understand exactly what happened and not just listen to gossip. Both parties should be dealt with in exactly the same manner and the person who discovered them in the cupboard would need to be interviewed to establish the facts.

I would also ask the person who discovered them whether they thought it appropriate to tell their colleagues and have a joke about the couple, as this could lead to further issues down the line.

If you want to discuss any of the issues above or need a bit of guidance, please do get in touch with HR Revolution, we’d be happy to help (0) 203 5385311 – www.hrrevolution.co.uk www.hrrevolutionshop.co.uk

Outsourced HRHR Documents | Talent Solutions

HR Revolution HR Documents

Visit HR Revolution’s document shop, for all your HR document needs 

A version of this article first appeared on breatheHR

 

Your Christmas HR questions answered…

Can you believe that two weeks today will be the 1st of December.  Most people think of the Christmas period as a time to relax and enjoy the festivities and I’m sure the office party/lunch/dinner details will dominate office conversation.  But not for business owners and managers I fear, the Christmas period can come with a whole host of issues, so why not this year, plan ahead a little and keep the period problem free.

Read the following Q&As to get the important information you need to know for your business.

Do I have to organise a Christmas party or function for my employees?

There is no legal requirement for you to organise anything for your employees.  There are some wider issues to consider here though. Just because you’re not obliged to do something, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t. After all it is the season to be jolly and organising a get-together could be a great way to thank everyone for their contribution and show them that you really appreciate all that they do for the business.

Cost is always a key factor in thinking about Christmas parties, but you don’t always have to spend a fortune, keep a budget in mind and have a look at all options, there are plenty around.

Everyone wants to take time off, how can I manage this?

Getting this right all comes down to the finer details of your employment contracts. You must take the time to assess the precise terms and conditions that you’ve laid out regarding how holiday can be taken. Generally speaking, employees should know how to request time off, and how decisions will be made by the management team.

If you have certain busy periods, you may decide that you’ll only accept requests for time off between certain dates in exceptional circumstances. If you had a employee who was getting married, for example, then you may reconsider your stance.

Not all of my staff are Christian, what are the implications here?

Having a diverse workforce has a multitude of benefits. You do need to make sure though that you’re conscious of differing beliefs, and the issues that could be at play. Remember that Christmas is a national holiday in the UK, and it’s recognised among many religious groups (including the non-religious) as having a special status. If you have many employees from different religions, it may be worthwhile considering making arrangements to recognise other holidays that your employees may wish to celebrate.

This can seem like a minefield, but it’s very possible to devise an approach that will suit all needs. You may need some help though when it comes to understanding the relevance and important of various different holidays. As such, you might decide to hold a consultation exercise with your employees. Getting everyone involved in decisions that will have an impact on them will ensure that they’re accepted.

Should I give my employees a present?

I’m sure there is no employee in the world that would not gratefully a Christmas present! However there are a few things to consider.

First of all, make sure that everyone receives their gift. This includes anyone who may be away on maternity, paternity, or sick leave.  Also, think carefully about the nature of the gift, a bottle of wine may seem like a good idea, though not so much if you have members of staff who abstain from alcohol. Use your common sense, and get a professional’s opinion if you’re struggling with ideas.

If you need any help with updating your HR policies and procedures, get in touch with HR Revolution and will be happy to advise you or visit our HR document website www.hrrevolutionshop.co.uk, where you can download our ready to use templates and documents.

It’s worth taking a bit of time to do some planning, then you and your employees can have a very merry Christmas indeed.

Outsourced HRHR Documents | Talent Solutions

HR Revolution HR Documents

Visit HR Revolution’s document shop, for all your HR document needs 

 

If HR Ran Christmas!

A little tongue in cheek humour for a manic Monday before Christmas!!

So if HR really did run Christmas, I bet you think it would go a little something like this…

The elves would spend their time chatting about Santa’s remuneration package and abundant holidays. Rudolph would be pulled over on suspicion of DUI and sent for counselling. Santa would be sent to wellbeing classes and retrained on Elf and Safety! God would rest “ye merry gentle people”, and the three kings would be one king, one queen and a eunuch. Charades would require a competency based assessment system, linked to a 360 and feeding into a chocolate reward strategy!

Oh

And sprouts would be compulsory! Ha ha ha

Happy Christmas from a very Christmassy HR office @HRREV!

Don’t be “that guy” at the Christmas party!

Christmas inevitably means a seasonal work party. The tradition of the “Christmas party” is typically a chance for the Employer to thank all their hard working employees for their efforts during the year and give them a good ‘knees up’. It’s also a great way of building internal team relationships.

But beware, don’t be “that guy”…. You know the type, the guy  everyone avoids because they spill drinks over the ladies dresses, that confesses his undying love for the MD’s PA, that kisses a co-worker or that passes out on the bosses lap and do not let them anywhere near the photocopier! Other people may not have had as much to drink as you and they WILL remember the next day and the day after…

After a bit of merriment, some people can get over zealous and distasteful jokes, remarks and colourful language can often be a problem. Beware of jokes, as if they single out one specific characteristic – for example women, this may lead to a potential discriminatory claim. Sexual harassment claims are one of the biggest risks employers can encounter when the alcohol is flowing.  What one person may see as harmless flirting; another could view as unwanted sexual attention. Employers can be held accountable to the behaviour of their employees as tribunals view your office party as an extension of your normal work environment.

If you are concerned about your employee’s potential merriment at the Christmas party here are a few ideas to think about. Before the party you should send out a clear statement about acceptable behaviour and the consequences of inappropriate actions. Remind everyone that it is a work event and that they are still expected to act in a professional manner and in line with the employee policies and that they are representing the company. Don’t forget to have a bit of fun though after all it is a party.

(Oh and ladies you are no saints either, quick tip… steer clear of too short, too tight and too low attire and easy on the snowballs!)

We have our Christmas party next week, so check out next weeks blog about how to survive the day after!

Enjoy one and all the HRREV Blogger