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- An employer could be held responsible for inappropriate activities that occur during the annual holiday party.
- Mark F. Kluger, attorney and partner at Kluger Healey LLC in Fairfield, N.J. recently said, “More bad behavior occurs at company holiday parties than any other time of the year.”
- With the combination of pent up feelings about co-workers, the holiday season, and alcohol can often lead to inappropriate behavior. Ranging from sexual harassment to expressions of intolerance.
Everyone loves the annual holiday party. Free food, drinks, and good times with your coworkers. It truly feels like a reward or token of gratitude from your company for a year of hard work. But what if your company told you they weren’t having an annual holiday party? Would this cause complete uproar? Or could it present an opportunity to still achieve what the holiday party is supposed to accomplish?
Why You Would Want to Cancel the Annual Holiday Party
Why would you want to cancel your annual holiday party? Seems like a crazy idea, right? They’re meant to serve as a time for you to spend time with your coworkers, cut loose, and enjoy a nice holiday beverage. But the annual holiday party for a lot of companies has not been that. Instead the annual holiday party has turned into a liability for companies.
An employer could be held responsible for inappropriate activities that occur during the annual holiday party. Mark F. Kluger, attorney and partner at Kluger Healey LLC in Fairfield, N.J. recently said, “More bad behavior occurs at company holiday parties than any other time of the year.” With the combination of pent up feelings about co-workers, the holiday season, and alcohol can often lead to inappropriate behavior. Ranging from expressions of intolerance to sexual harassment. Another employment attorney, Adam Gutmann, recently said "given the prevalence of the #MeToo movement, some employers are giving common risk factors [at holiday parties]-namely alcohol-additional thought."
Here at Validity we don’t believe you should immediately cancel your annual holiday party. If your company’s annual holiday party is serving the purpose that it should, then there’s no reason to cancel the party. But have you recently considered why you’re having an annual holiday party for your company? If it’s no longer serving the goal that your company intended…you may want to explore other options.
Why Do We Have the Annual Holiday Party?
Every company is obviously different. Some companies choose to have an annual holiday party to enhance company culture. Other companies choose to host an annual holiday party to reward their employees for their hard work that year.
Whatever the goal of your holiday party might be, we can all agree that you hope the holiday party is a time for people to be together and enjoy each other’s company. It’s a time for connections to be built, and coworkers to become closer. If your annual holiday party is no longer achieving this goal, or the initial goal you set out for it to achieve, then it’s time to consider alternatives for your annual holiday party.
Holiday Party Alternatives
If your annual holiday party is no longer serving the goal that you intended, or if you just want to explore other options rather than the traditional holiday party, check out the list below:
- Community Service Projects – The holidays are a time for giving, right? Then why not have your office participate in a community service project. Give your employees the day off, put them in groups and request that they spend the day shopping for toys and gifts for underprivileged families. Or as a group decide to donate your time and get out into your community and give back. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, clean an area in your city. The ideas are endless. Just doing an activity together is what matters.
- Company Scavenger Hunt – This idea is one of my favorites. Have your company do a city wide scavenger hunt. Everyone breaks into groups, explores the city, take pictures and participate in the scavenger hunt. Even have there be a prize at the end. This idea gets coworkers out to enjoy the day together, and work as a team. It’s an awesome team building exercise.
- A Not So Secret Santa Gift Exchange – This is a great idea to use for your employees to take the opportunity to get to know a coworker they usually wouldn’t have the opportunity to do so. How it works is each person in a department gets a gift for a coworker in another department. When you have to choose a gift for a single person you have to learn about them. Figure out their likes, dislikes, and what they would want as a gift. This idea forces people who usually wouldn’t interact to interact and learn about each other. It’s truly a lot of fun!
The goal for any holiday event that you plan should be to bring employees together. Push your employees to interact, or spend time with someone in another department. Someone they normally wouldn’t spend time with. This will enhance your company’s culture, but will also bring you and your coworkers closer together during, and past the holiday season.
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