Hosting events with your employees is a key part of showing your appreciation and ensuring morale stays high. However, it's also important that you set the right tone for these social gatherings to make sure staff don't act poorly or unprofessionally.
But with Christmas approaching, how do you encourage employees to behave during events without becoming a Scrooge?
Set clear rules about leave
If your company stays open throughout the festive period, it's important to set clear rules about when employees are able to take time off. Of course, it's likely that you will be closed on any National or Bank Holidays, but many people want to use their annual leave to get more time off.
For managers, this can put you in a difficult position if you have multiple people wanting the same days off. It's worth noting that many industries are quieter over the festive period so you may be able to have more staff off than your normal policy. The most important thing is to make arrangements ahead of time so people are able to adjust their plans.
Ensure it's fair and simple
It's up to you how you sort it, but one of the fairest ways can be to set up a chart or spreadsheet and allow everyone to put their preferred days off in. You may also ask them to prioritize whether they want New Year or Christmas off. This will give you all the information you need to make decisions about time off over the festive period. Of course, it's important to inform people that just because they've asked for a particular day off, it doesn't mean they'll get it.
You should also consider holiday years, as you may need to give priority to those whose annual leave expires at the end of December.
Be flexible but fair
For many companies, remote working offers a happy compromise for employees that want to take more time away from the office to be with family or friends over the festive period but don’t want to use up too much of their holiday. You should consider all options and try to come up with different solutions to ensure all members of staff are as happy as possible with the situation.
It's also crucial that you don't show any favoritism. If you are at a stalemate, look at who had the more favorable time off last year or toss a coin.
It's a good idea to introduce a policy for Christmas parties or work-related social events outlining what is acceptable and what isn't. You may think this will make you look like a Scrooge but it's actually about ensuring all members of staff feel comfortable and able to enjoy themselves.
You can also issue a statement before the event to ensure that all employees understand what your company's policy is. This may concern matters on disorderly conduct, consumption of alcohol, and sexual, racial, or any other types of harassment.
Managers may also want to highlight that the company can be held legally responsible for employee conduct at social events, so certain precautions are absolutely necessary.
Although Christmas may be a big focus for many, it's important for employers to remember that not everyone will mark this event and that their focus may be on other celebrations. In addition, some members of staff may not drink alcohol or eat certain foods so it's important that your social events cater to these employees - and make them feel as valued - as everyone else.