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 the right way over the festive season.

It’s likely that you’ve got some questions about how you should handle things, so we have answered some of your key HR Christmas questions!

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

Many larger businesses are deciding not to host a big Christmas party and opting for smaller parties within departments. If you do go ahead with hosting a Christmas party, it’s important to consider measures such as taking Covid tests or wearing face masks where appropriate.

Obviously, there’s no legal requirement for you to host a party for your employees. However, 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.  

If you do decide to hold a staff function, 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 also 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.

Should I give my employees 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. However, there are a few things to consider though to ensure that your gesture doesn’t end up backfiring on you. Firstly, make sure that everyone receives their gift. This includes anyone who may be away on maternity, paternity, or sick leave. Secondly, don’t forget to 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.

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. This issue comes down to making sure that your HR policies and procedures are fit for purpose, and very clearly communicated to your staff.

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 importance 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.

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. We can answer your questions and support your business, just get in touch and drop us an email at!