Bah Humbug…..

As featured in December 2016’s Northern Insight and Accent Magazines.

Ah Christmas. There’s a nip in the air, everyone’s jolly and filled with happiness and the kids are excitedly counting down the days til’ Santa comes to town.

However for HR departments, it can be a real nightmare. How? Let me explain.

Think Christmas at the office and what springs to mind? The Christmas party of course. Undoubtedly a great time for team building and raising the moral and a few ‘spirits’; it can be a little easy for some people to overdo things.

But it’s not just alcohol to consider. As always, a big part of HR is inclusion – and making sure everyone has the chance to get involved, no matter their beliefs.

Be it ensuring a venue with access for any disabled employees, providing specialised dietary meals in the case of eating out or even just ensuring everyone – including part time staff or those who may be on maternity / paternity leave – get an invite, everyone must be catered for.

At the same time as including everyone in the plans, it should be noted that under no circumstances should it be made mandatory to attend – it may clash with holidays for other religions or they simply may just not want to go. Forcing the issue with mandatory attendance will only negatively affect morale both in and out of the workplace.

So how do you go about preventing the issues before they even become a problem? One solution is to include Christmas parties – and all out of office events – in your company policy and staff contracts.

Areas such as staff behaviour should be covered in the document as well as a reminder that events out of the office reflect on the company as much as during work hours; so should be treated as such.

That said, it is Christmas and no one likes a Grinch so do allow staff to let their hair down, just responsibly.

As always, if there’s any aspect of HR that you need advice on, call Howe Consultancy on 07921 256 981 or drop us an email on