5 HR Tips for Holiday Office Party Behavior
By Staff Writer
The holiday season has arrived, and with it comes get-togethers and festivities of all kinds – including holiday office parties. If you’ve worked in HR for very long, you’ve likely seen some less-than-great office party behavior. How can you give your workers holiday and Christmas office party ideas that will help them make better decisions this year when alcohol, co-workers and cameras mix?
We sought out seasoned advice from PayScale’s director of customer service and education, Stacey Carroll. Below are her five suggestions to give people in your company for making the best of the holiday office party, rather than ruining both it and their reputation.
1. Two drink limit. Carroll suggests that people limit themselves to no more than two drinks for the entire evening. Certainly, everyone wants to have a good time. And, when alcohol is free, it can inspire folks to go for an especially good time by drinking more than normal. An extra glass of wine can be hard to resist. But with every drink a person’s decision making abilities decline and that can lead to saying or doing things they’ll regret the next day.
2. Meet new people. In the workplace, most workers come in and interact with the same people day after day. The all-company holiday party is a great time to reach out to people in other departments and strike up new friendships. Remind everybody that these fresh connections could lead not just to a happier day at work, but new job opportunities within the company when positions open up.
3. Take a break from work. It’s easy to make work the topic of conversation since that is the one thing that everyone has in common. Avoid doing so. Take the time to ask people questions about their interests outside of work, like their families or their holiday plans – anything to get into a more relaxed mood. The evening is supposed to be about fun and celebration.
4. Remember your place. Are you a manager? Are you new to the company? Even though everyone is having fun and enjoying themselves, remember that the next day your boss is still your boss and those that report to you are still your responsibility. Don’t lose face with anyone by forgetting the “hierarchy” while at the party.
5. Make everyone feel welcome. Find ways to include spouses, significant others and invited guests into the conversation. Nothing is worse than feeling like an outsider and it’s easy for significant others to feel this way at their spouse’s or partner’s work function. Carroll suggest asking co-workers for ideas of topics that you can discuss with spouses and significant others. Where do they work? What do they like to do in their spare time? Did they just travel somewhere?
Carroll says to tell workers: “No matter how fun or festive the work party is, it’s still a work function. While friends and family tend to forgive your slip-ups, like drinking too much and acting inappropriately, it’s different with co-workers. It’s hard to un-say or un-do things. How you act will reflect on you throughout your tenure with the company. It will follow you into board rooms, be remembered by those employees who report to you and be repeated in whispers from people around you for a long time to come. It’s best to treat this like any other work situation and be on your best behavior.”
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