This post is from my friends at SocialMonsters.org
Hosting a company party can be a great way to get to know your co-workers on a new level and help bring about unity in the workplace. However, certain HR concerns can come up when meeting outside the office. There are various safety and legal precautions that will help your home-hosted gathering run smoothly.
Distribute memos before a gathering, reminding employees to be responsible and establish an expectation of moderation and professionalism for your event. This will help set an informal tone for the event, without letting things get too unprofessional.
Be sure to make it clear that attendance is not mandatory and will not affect their good standing in the company — parties are not for everyone, and it’s best to avoid making anyone uncomfortable by having to attend. Don’t take any sort of attendance at the event.
Make sure to schedule your event for a weekend, or at least after normal working hours. Friday and Saturday nights tend to work well, as employees will not have to come to the office the next day. When distributing invitations to employees, include clear start and end times for the party — an event that runs to the wee hours of the morning can easily turn into an HR nightmare, especially given the shockingly high link between office parties and workplace infidelity.
Include families too
Consider hosting the party as a family affair, and encourage employees to bring their spouses and children. This can easily act as a reminder to attendees to be on their most wholesome, appropriate behavior, and when many children attend, it is easier for them to keep each other company.
If the event is a pool party, placing appropriate safety signs is highly advisable — they can help build safety awareness and also potentially lessen liability that a guest acts irresponsibly while in the pool.
When it comes to serving alcohol, it’s best to keep it professional at your company gathering, especially since people will most likely be driving home following the event. One way to casually minimize the amount of drinking being done is to serve a glass of wine with dinner, but to skip the before-dinner or after-dinner cocktails. Requiring employees to purchase their own drinks can also help decrease the amount of alcohol that they consume at the party.
Another good rule of thumb is to let the caterer know that they should avoid serving additional alcohol to anyone who seems visibly inebriated. In the event that an employee does become intoxicated, make sure you have an alternative form of transportation ready to get them home safely, such as Uber.
Make sure you have non-alcoholic drinks available, like fresh juice and iced tea, for those who do not drink or would prefer not to do so at a work event.
If any complaints do arise at the party, be sure to investigate them thoroughly to minimize the human resources headache that could easily follow.