The Spirit of Christmas at Knox Taxation and Business Advisory, in Boronia, is building.
We’ve had an exciting and productive year, and particularly as we’re continuing to expand our Business Advisory offerings, with a new package of information that we hope to release in the coming weeks. We love working with small businesses and will be offering more and more specialty services, and even greater access to the advice of our in-house and trusted professional networks in the New Year.
One of our trusted professional specialists is our HR Consultant, Sheena Kane. Doubtless, most of us are now in full-flight either planning or attending Business Christmas Party events, where the intent is (usually) to have a round or two of drinks, nibble on some canapes (okay, that’s a posh way of saying bickies and dip, with a few olives on the side), and wind down from what’s been either a tough year, or a year of exponential growth. It’s also a time to thank our staff, our clients, our mums and dads, and our contractors for making everything we do happen in some way or other.
BUT……. Every spirited occasion can also be a time for caution. Whether you’re serving bubbles, beer, bourbon or wine, Sheena has presented some timely advice and we’d like to share it with you:
What could go wrong? It’s just a nice little gathering of co-workers, having a few drinks….and we’ve all heard the horror stories from there. So, what should a company who wants to respect itself in the morning do?
First of all, and last of all, limit the alcohol. It seems to be the root of most evil when Christmas Party problems arise. There are a number of ways to do this, including:
• Have your function at a licenced premises, where their staff have Responsible Service of Alcohol training. That’s a good start.
• Set limits at the bar, per person. That can help too.
• Make sure that there are plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives available.
• Put somebody in charge who is respected by your own staff, and who has been given permission to step-in and tell someone, “I think you’ve had enough”. All too often everyone watches a co-worker over-indulging and doesn’t know what they can do about it.
• Ensure that plenty of food is available to help fill tummies with something (besides alcohol).
• Remind everyone, whether by email, and/or a meeting, that this is a work function, and the usual policies apply. This includes fun killers such as sexual harassment policies, bullying and harassment policies and expected codes of conduct. Again, it’s alright to monitor the party, and pull someone aside who is crossing boundaries. You may also want to remind employees of this if you have a work Kris Kringle. There are lots of nasty KK stories and claims from this one… (One person’s idea of fun can leave another totally distraught).
• Establish a goal to make sure your employees get home safely. Can you afford taxi vouchers or perhaps hire a bus? If you’re a small company, can you nominate designated drivers that you can trust? Otherwise, the provision of overnight accommodation is a big luxury, but an option used by some companies when they can afford it.
Other things to think about
As a Business Owner, you have a higher duty of care to younger employees. Too often I’ve seen young people at their first work Christmas Party where they can drink, usually without limit, and it does end badly. Pair them with a responsible buddy.
Permission should probably be sought before posting pics of everyone on social media, too. It might seem fun to the company’s social butterfly, but not everyone wants to be a star (and some personnel may have very good reasons for not wishing to publicise aspects of their lives in any kind of public platform).
What about a plain old barbeque? Run properly, with a few drinks supplied, this can be one of the best ways to see in Christmas with your work mates!
Don’t let the horror stories put you off thanking your employees for the year gone by. But, if you do have any questions, or need to update your policies, please call Knox Tax, and they’ll put you in touch with me, so that you’re covered – just in case!!
Our HR Expert at Knox Taxation and Business Advisory
So, our shared advice to you from Knox Tax is:
By all means celebrate with each other, commiserate if you need to, and do have some fun at your end of the year functions – but don’t throw caution to the wind – and most especially if you’re the CEO or Managing Director. Just as you should plan a strong financial basis for your business, you should also plan for a celebration that keeps everyone safe, so that the 2017 year begins on a high after everyone has had a refreshing break – without being regretful that somebody did or said something at the Christmas party to raise more than a few eyebrows. The cost to you as the boss, and your business, can be irreversible.
And remember……Everyone loves a party, but the best parties are those where you all get home safely and remember what a great time you had.
Coral Page – Principal