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Human resources topics of interest to small businesses.  

Office Holiday Celebrations

By Renée Bucklin

Celebrating the holiday season with the office can be a minefield.  This is not a time to relax your guard or to change your company policies.

Renée Bucklin, of Bucklin Human and Administrative Resources suggests some things to think about:

1. A guest or employee at an event you are hosting who becomes involved in an accident proven to be related to the consumption of alcohol at your event can sue you!  Many companies no longer allow alcohol to be served or are holding events at venues covered by insurance for this type of occurrence.  A couple of suggestions to protect your company:

  • Offer “car service” or alternative means for guests to get home so they won’t have to drive themselves.
  • Encourage the “designated driver” plan.
  • Offer plenty of non-alcoholic beverage choices.
  • Maintain your company’s “zero tolerance” policy for employees coming in to work during the season “under the influence” of drugs or alcohol.

2. Are you considering a gift exchange?  Is Secret Santa a part of the company culture?  Be aware that not all your employees may feel comfortable if gift-giving is not part of their tradition.  A good manager knows their people well enough to anticipate any issues.

  • If you allow a gift exchange, be clear about the value:  set a maximum dollar amount for the gift – don’t set a minimum, which will make those who can’t afford that sum feel ill at ease.
  • Bucklin Human and Administrative Resources suggests having a collection for a family or organization that could use the help.  Select one that has no particular religious affiliation, and one that may have meaning to your employees or company.  Be sure to check with the organization ahead of time for suggested items – i.e., if helping a family, find out the sizes of clothing, types of household items, etc. needed.  A social services organization or related government agency is a good place to identify needy families.

As an employer, your interest is in seeing that any activity in the workplace is appropriate and sensitive to employees who may not be sharing these holidays.

For other suggestions regarding this issue or other human resource matters, contact Renée Bucklin at 401-885-3569.