End of Year Celebrations – Having Fun Whilst Managing Risk


End of Year Celebrations – Having Fun Whilst Managing Risk

The end of the year is fast approaching and so too is the infamous end of year celebrations such as the company Christmas Party.  After a long and busy year, these celebrations are the perfect time to reward your staff with a fund and engaging event where they can relax a little and enjoy themselves.  However, often these celebrations can go wrong and employees can clown around, drink too much and do and say things they normally wouldn’t. Let’s drink to be merry can sometimes have dire consequences…

If you have heard this once, you will have heard it a million times, be prepared (for end of year celebrations – after all they happen same time, every year!). Reduce your risk of poor behaviour by ensuring you establish, train and continue to remind your team of Drug and Alcohol expectations at these events.

The absence of policies in a business is like driving in the dark without headlights.  Without any sense of direction, you are exposing yourself to high risk situations.  A policy is more than just words on a page that management have conjured up. A policy is a plan and guide for employees and employers to follow throughout their employment.  It ensures that everyone is on the same page and understands company expectations.  Not every business will have the same policies.  It is a great idea if you need policies for an HR business to review what you currently have in place, as they may be irrelevant, inappropriate, misleading or need updating.   There may also be gaps whereby you need a policy, that can be written specifically for your business.  A good policy will be concise and easy to read and understand by any employee at any level within a business. The key messages will be very clearly stated so they are not overlooked when read.  Overwritten and verbose policies can leave the reader more confused than before!

When it comes to Drug and Alcohol policies, these can be varied and can be more strict or relaxed depending on your industry and your OHS obligations.  Having such a policy however means that it needs to be enforced.  This means clearly written, cited by all staff and agreed to – best with a signature of agreement, and revisited during high risk times, such as Christmas.  An employer who does not take reasonable actions to do this in order to prevent employees consuming or being under the influence of Drugs and Alcohol may be liable for the actions of those employees.  This can be both costly and stressful for the employer, the employees and the whole company.

The take away?

  • Ensure you have a Drug and Alcohol policy (HR Central can help very easily and quickly if you require one before Christmas, or at any time for that matter!)
  • If you have an existing Drug and Alcohol policy, read it to ensure it is still relevant and current.  If not get it replaced ASAP, and cited and signed by all staff
  • Remind your staff to read relevant policies and if they have any questions encourage them to ask you
  • Approach events with alcohol with practicality.  Ensure that staff have alternative drinks (soft drinks and water), and that there is plenty of food served at the same time.
  • Revisit or address other related policies that can be appropriate at this time of year, such as Code of Conduct, Dress Code and Social Media Policies. HR Central can help with these too!
  • Finally, consider weaving an event in with an activity that distracts away from consistent drinking.  Try a group sport – volley ball, cricket on the beach, an Escape Room! There are plenty of other fantastic activities that you can organise that better promotes team building, engagement, relaxation and injects some fun and silliness!

Call us if you need policies, or if you have policies and want to know if they are appropriate.  It can help you enjoy the Christmas cheer without the fear!!!

HR Central

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