Thanksgiving is over and like Santa’s Elves, our busy season is just getting underway. Unlike our North Pole counterparts though, our busy season starts when the office holiday parties end. We will no doubt soon learn of all the finger pointing at some mischievous boys and girls who may have dipped the ladle into the Egg Nog a few too many times and ended up on the Naughty List (which is discoverable, by the way). Because we do not want to see any of your names in the 2019 lawsuit captions, we will once again provide you with our best sage advice and the reasons for each nugget:
- NO ALCOHOL: Leads to drinking. Just leave the drinking to us.
- No Santa inviting employees to sit on his lap: Leads to lap sitting.
- No music: Leads to dancing.
- No dancing: Leads to touching.
- No touching: Leads to kissing.
- No mistletoe: See above.
- No texting: Leads to evidence.
- No pictures: See above.
Hey it’s not just us. Last week, the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray released the results of its annual holiday party survey which found that only 65% of companies plan to hold them this year, the lowest since 2009, when a mere 62% partied. Keep in mind though that back then, the economy was hurting. In this survey, employers made clear that they have confidence in the economy so the most likely cause of the low party numbers: #wedontwanta#MeToocase. Thank you Harvey, Matt and their cast of thousands.
Among those employers confirming that they are having a party this year, 58% reported that they have addressed sexual harassment issues with their employees this year and another 33% said they plan to do so before this year’s event. As much as it is not the most joyous way to get pumped up for a party, our form of pre-gaming is to send out the sex harassment policy the day before, with an unequivocal reminder to abide by it or else.
Despite our annual rant about alcohol being the root of all holiday hijinks, 48% of employers having parties intend to serve this year, roughly the same as last year. If you are among that group, we recommend professional bartenders, drink tickets and/or beer and wine only. Also, invite spouses and significant others; there is no better deterrent than their watchful eye. And keep the food flowing and have activities (not Twister or spin the bottle) that keep employees from drinking out of boredom. Because we believe in leading by example, last year the KH crew went bowling for our holiday party and nobody got hurt. As for this year, well you can read what we are up to in The New York Times here: https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2018/11/14/us/ap-us-smallbiz-small-talk-holiday-parties.html.
If you are that glass half full employer who believes that all the risks inherent in the annual holiday party are worth it to create comradery and to show your appreciation, hear this: according to a Randstad US survey, 90% of employees say they would rather have a bonus or extra time off than a holiday party. Sorry Santa! In fact, well more than half (62%) feel obligated to attend and those numbers are much higher for younger workers (74% of 18-24 year olds and 69% of 25-34 year olds). Forty seven percent (47%) of those same youngsters want their employers to participate in charitable endeavors during the holidays, while 69% of we 50 to 64 years olds remain wedded to good old fashioned charity begins at home damn it! Happy freaking holidays!
Sorry, we got caught up in the moment. As always, we hope that you all have safe holiday events with your employees, not just from the perspective of avoiding employment claims, but we implore you to take all precautions to keep those who should not be driving off the road for their safety and that of everyone else.