Proper Etiquette and Behavior for Company Events and Parties

company party celebration

If the phrase “please, keep your shirt on” has ever been uttered at one of the company holiday parties, then someone wasn’t practicing proper business etiquette.

Holiday events and company parties are a fantastic way to relax, mingle with co-workers, and boost office morale; but such occasions have to be handled carefully and responsibly. As with any party, there is always the chance of someone having “a little too much fun” and making someone else uncomfortable—or worse: they could hurt themselves or somebody else.

The point is you have to go into such events with a clear plan in mind to mitigate any possible damage and reduce the likelihood of anyone getting out of hand. It’s an extension of the workplace, which means a certain level of decorum has to be observed, or else employers could be liable for damages or complaints made as a product of these otherwise “fun” occasions.

An example of a holiday party gone wrong

An employee—who we’ll call John—had one too many drinks at the company’s annual holiday party. So, while the event was in full swing, John found himself…

  • Letting the boss know she “has a nice ass” and that “her husband was a lucky man.”
  • Sharing inappropriate jokes while coworkers, employer, prospects, and current clients were around.
  • Taking his shirt off to “show off his tattoos.”

This bad situation finally ended with an ultimatum: John could hand his keys over and accept a ride home, or he could be terminated. Thankfully, John had enough sense to give up his keys, but not before the company learned several very important lessons.

The importance of having a plan for company events

If the company had had policies in place, they may have been able to avoid a lot of that unpleasantness. It’s vital that employees know the protocols to follow in casual situations at the office and they should also know to behave in a manner befitting the workplace. Parties and other “fun” events aren’t a carte blanche (blank check) for wild, shirtless times. Remember: to reduce company liability, you have to take precautions to ensure any social events are handled appropriately.

Three tips to handle social events successfully

Following these three steps can help prepare you and your employees for a successful social event.

  1. Explain to employees what kind of decorum they should exhibit during company events. This gives everyone the chance to become aware of expected behaviors, and how possibly to handle unexpected behavior from coworkers.
  2. Be careful to monitor employee behavior during your company events. It’s your job to make sure no one is being harassed, threatened, or acting inappropriately. Unlawful harassment guidelines might apply.
  3. If you see something, take appropriate action to safely remove employees from the situation. This is where having an HR department or HR firm present can be exceptionally beneficial.

Being able to throw social events for your employees is a great way to show them your appreciation for all the hard work they do throughout the year. More than that, they can demonstrate that the office is more than just a workplace.

Call us today to work out your party plans BEFORE you’re liable for anything going wrong. The consultation is free—but failing to protect your company and employees could cost you big.

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