Human Resources Tip of the Month

Holidays, Parties and Business, Oh My


The time of year is upon us when holidays abound, gift giving is in full swing, end of the year festivities are all around, and parties are on everyone's calendars. Holiday parties within the workplace and shared gift giving can be great ways for employees to socialize, build morale, and allow for employers to express appreciation for a job well done. With some creative ideas and planning ahead businesses can have successful workplace celebrations while avoiding many of the traditional pitfalls that can often arise.

Ghost of Holidays past:

Stories of holidays past that have gone wrong in the workplace can still be remembered for those who have experienced them. At the very least poor decision making at workplace gatherings can lead to long term embarrassment, at its worst it can be career ending. Keeping a few key guidelines in mind when attending a workplace event can make all the difference, allowing for pleasant memories, good times, and no haunting visits from The Ghost of Parties Past.

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Ghost of Holidays Present:

One of the first things to remember is that even though it is a celebration it is still a work function. Keeping that in mind makes it easier to maintain appropriate behavior at the event, how you carry yourself at the function is still a representation of who you are.

In a 2012 survey 79 percent of workplace parties were planning on serving alcohol. Becoming intoxicated at a workplace opens up oneself to acting in a manner that could get them in trouble. Drinking in moderation at an event helps you to maintain pleasant and appropriate workplace interactions, and reduces liability to the company and its employees. If an employer is concerned about excessive use of alcohol being an issue they can:

    1-  Limit the party to a few hours

    2-  Serve plenty of food and end the service of alcohol 30 minutes prior to the end of the party.

    3- Invite spouses and significant others as people will usually behave more appropriately if they have accountability with them.

Another thing to keep in mind while attending workplace parties is how to dress. Business events are not the time to break out “club” attire. Find out beforehand what kind of dress is expected, getting dressed up and looking nice is perfectly acceptable, however avoid wearing revealing clothes or being under dressed.

Keep your conversations positive and avoid “talking business” all night. Leaving problems within your job at your job is important also. The company Christmas party is not the place to air your grievances and complaints to whoever will listen. Keep away from office gossip during holiday events and monopolizing conversations and speaking over others is another mistake often made during workplace socials. This can be a great opportunity however to introduce to new people and interact with your boss and co-workers with the stress of the job. 

Ghost of Holiday Future:

By adhering to a few simple and common sense guidelines companies can not only create great holiday parties now but for years to come, boosting morale and rewarding employees for their hard work and commitment. 

Helen M. Sorrentino is the owner and Managing Member of HR Practices, LLC, a Human Resources consulting firm. She started the company is 2009 to respond to the needs of the small business owner with an employee base between two (2)-fifty (50) employees in New Jersey and New York City.

Helen has 20+ years of experience in Human Resource management working within diverse industries such as engineering and manufacturingapparel, biotechnical, printing, music and telemarketingIn past her HR roles she provided support to all levels of management in training, organizational development, coaching, planning and all areas of Human Resources.  These companies ranged from an employee base of less than forty (40) employees up to seventy-five hundred (7500) employees and represented such industries as engineering, apparel, telemarketing and biomedical.

Helen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kean University; a Master of Arts from Montclair University and a Master’s of Science degree in Human Resources Management from Upsala College.  Helen stays current by taking continuing education courses via seminars and webinars encompassing state and federal labor law compliance, policies/procedures, health care reform and all areas of employee relations to recruiting and background checks  to terminating employees to responding to EEOC, DOL, Wage & Hour, OSHA and ICE audits

HR Practices LLC is currently a member of the below professional organizations:

A few of the industries represented by HR Practices’ clients are; apparel, medical billing; doctors’ offices; biotechnical; printing; electrical contractors; non-profit organizations, day care business; cosmetics, physical therapy and other consulting businesses.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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