Your Christmas HR Questions Answered

Date: Wednesday, 20th November, 2019

As the Christmas party season draws ever closer, it provides an opportunity to reflect on the successes of the past year and of course to relax and have some fun with colleagues.  It is a season of fun festivities and for many, it really is the most wonderful time of the year!

However, it’s around about now that managers and business owners start to think about the nitty gritty, practical issues that they’ll have to contend with to keep their workforce engaged, motivated, and problem-free right the way over the festive season.

It’s likely that you’ve got some questions about how you should handle things. You’re in luck, because we’ve got the answers!

  • Do I have to organise a Christmas party or function for my staff?

Obviously, there’s no legal requirement for you to host a party for your workers. There are some wider issues to consider here though. Just because you’re not obliged to do something, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t. Organising a get-together could be a great way to thank everyone for their contribution during the past year.

If you’ve agreed to a Christmas party in your employment contracts though, it’s a whole different kettle of fish. As well, if you’ve offered this perk for many years, it could be argued that it’s an unwritten agreement.  

One of the key worries amongst leaders is always cost. You don’t have to splash out a fortune though. Think outside the box, work with what you have, and don’t be scared to try something a little out of the ordinary!

If you do decide to hold a staff function, you don’t need a policy specifically to cover your Christmas party, however you should gently remind your employees that it is a work function. They need to understand that the rules of the workplace will still apply and a level of professionalism is required!

It is worth making sure you have a complaints process in place on the off-chance issues may arise during the party that need to be dealt with.  Make sure you document all incidents, no matter how small, in case further issues arise at a later date.

  • Everyone wants to take time off. How can I manage this?

Getting this right all comes down to the finer details of your employment contracts. You must take the time to assess the precise terms and conditions that you’ve laid out regarding how holiday can be taken. Generally speaking, staff should know how to request time off, and how decisions will be made by the management team.

If you have certain busy periods, you may decide that you’ll only accept requests for time off between certain dates in exceptional circumstances. If you had a staff member who was getting married, for example, then you may reconsider your stance.

This issue comes down to making sure that your HR policies and procedures are fit for purpose, and very clearly communicated to your staff. If you think that you might be missing the mark here, it could be time to work with an expert who’ll be able to get you on the right track.

  • Not all of my staff celebrate Christmas. What are the implications here?

Having a diverse workforce has a multitude of benefits. You do need to make sure though that you’re conscious of differing beliefs, and the issues that could be at play. Remember that Christmas is a national holiday within the UK, and it’s recognised among many religious groups (including the non-religious) as having a special status. If you have many employees from different religions, it may be worthwhile considering making arrangements to recognise other holidays that your staff may wish to celebrate.

This can seem like a minefield, but it’s very possible to devise an approach that will suit all needs. You may need some help though when it comes to understanding the relevance and important of various different holidays. As such, you might decide to hold a consultation exercise with your employees. Getting everyone involved in decisions that will have an impact on the workforce will ensure that they’re accepted.

  • Should I give my staff a gift?

It’s the season to spread a little cheer, and you might decide to reward your staff with a gift. This could be a great idea. There are a few things to consider though to ensure that your gesture doesn’t end up backfiring on you.

First of all, make sure that everyone receives their gift. This includes anyone who may be away on maternity, paternity, or sick leave. You might decide to have the gifts delivered, if it seems appropriate.

As well, think carefully about the nature of the gift. A bottle of wine may seem like a good idea, though not so much if you have members of staff who abstain from alcohol. Use your common sense, and get a professional’s opinion if you’re struggling to find a way forward.

If you take the time to get things right, you don’t have to turn yourself into a Scrooge this Christmas with the worry of what to do for the best for your workforce.

To have an informal chat about your obligations and things you might like to consider, get in touch with us today.  Email hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or call 0203 538 5311

 

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