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Avoiding Christmas HR nightmares

Hot off the press! We’re featured in the December 2022 edition of The Business Times Northamptonshire, warning business owners to make sure Christmas festivities don’t cause an HR nightmare this year.

Our Founder, Rachel Collar, is advising bosses to make sure their employees understand exactly how they should conduct themselves at festive parties, and the repercussions if they don’t.

Excessive drinking, fighting, and next-day hangovers are amongst the top complaints from business owners after Christmas parties.

She said, “Business owners want their employees to let their hair down, but they’re failing to put plans in place to stop the behaviour that leads to issues.

“It’s always a busy time of year for us – we have to deal with the disciplinaries and formal warnings when people have over indulged and conducted themselves badly. And so much of it could easily have been avoided with the right preparation.

“Employers need to communicate clearly what they expect from their people and have plans in place to stop any incidents before they become problematic.”

Rachel says business owners should re-issue copies of their employee handbook to all staff prior to Christmas parties, to make sure they understand what acceptable behaviour is, and the consequences of breaking company rules.

She said: “A work Christmas party is an extension of the workplace. People should behave accordingly, that means no violence, no harassment or discrimination, and no risky or unsafe behaviour.

“Employers have a duty of care to make sure staff don’t drink and drive, that everyone can get home safely, and that no one turns up to work hungover (or still drunk) the next day.

“Making employees fully aware of this is the best preventative measure.”

She added, “Most Christmas parties go off without a hitch, but in some cases they can take a turn and not only does it ruin everyone’s night, but it also causes a real HR disaster for the next day.

“Pre-empt the risks and make sure everyone knows what is expected of them and it’s likely you’ll avoid any drama!”

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