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Social events: friend or foe?

How to be clever about your social events

Today we met for our monthly Healthy HR Breakfast and talked about company social events and the implications which can come from such an event. Christmas is around the corner and you and your business are likely to be preparing for your Christmas party. Social events are a great way for employees to engage and build relationships with each other in an external place. The main problem with these events is that many employees will forget that although this is a social event, it is still a work event and there can be a lot of repercussions for their actions.

Employees need to be aware of the standards that are expected of them when attending this event as it is ultimately them representing your company. At no point should the behaviour of the employees cause any damage to the businesses reputation; whether this be drunk behaviour, fighting or sexual harassment to name a few. It is also important to relay the importance of this expected behaviour and ensure that they are aware of consequences that could occur if their behaviour is deemed inappropriate; this could be relaying that disciplinaries and even dismissals could occur.

Ultimately there is also responsibility from the employer to not encourage such behaviour but ensuring that the event is not giving any motive to create such behaviour. One of the most common ones is an open bar. Although this shows to your employees that you are not restricting the budget of the event and allows employees to not have to worry about money issues when attending; it is also an invitation for the employees to drink a lot and get themselves into a state which could tarnish the reputation for the business. A way to deter this behaviour while still rewarding your employees with an open bar could be to operate a one bottle in, one out rule. This effectively means that an employee can only get their own drinks, they must bring back their empty bottle/cup to redeem another and is then down to those serving the employees to follow UK law and ensure that they are not serving a drunk person.

A great way to ensure that behaviour is kept appropriate for not only your Christmas parties but any other social events that your company could participate in, is by implementing a social events policy. If you need help to implement one in your business, then please give us a call on 01173 790818.

Sophie Rowland, 01 Dec ‘17