3 Ways HR Can Avoid Embarrassing Moments at the Office Holiday Party
3 Ways HR Can Avoid Embarrassing Moments at the Office Holiday Party

3 Ways HR Can Avoid Embarrassing Moments at the Office Holiday Party

Holiday parties don’t usually cause visions of sugarplums to dance in an HR professionals’ head.

It is more like a nightmare that probably looks something like the trailer for the movie Office Holiday Party.

HR nightmare


There is always a concern about those employees who get out of hand and act in ways that embarrasses themselves and the company.  If free alcohol is a part of the mix, then there is a good reason for concern.

But it is hard to host a “dry” party; there’s a strong possibility that attendance would be abysmally low.  Of course, that would defeat the purpose (and expense).

However, there are ways to control the alcohol factor, have fun, and still keep the company’s reputation (and the building) standing the morning after!  Here are our top three tips.

Tip 1: Start the Party at 5pm

When a get-together at 7 or 8pm, there is a gap of time to kill between quitting time and party time.  So what’s a bored employee to do?  Happy hour!  It is easy for employees to be overly confident in their ability to handle “a few drinks,” then arrive at the company sponsored event to continue drinking.  This has disaster written all over it.

By planning your fete to begin at 5:00 or 5:30pm, happy hour is naturally incorporated into your event.  This will eliminate the potential of some of your attendees arriving with impaired judgment.

Tip 2:  Impose a 2 Drink Limit

Controlling how much alcohol is a happy medium between hosting a dry party and having an open bar.  At Blythecooffice holiday party events, we typically have a two drink minimum.  This is easy to arrange (and enforce) with a restaurant or caterer if it is a sit-down dinner or with drink tickets if it is a larger affair.

Advanced notification helps to set the tone for the event with employees.  They know they can loosen up a bit with a little liquid courage but that moderation will be encouraged.  This way, HR personnel won’t have to act like an obnoxious high school hall monitor helicoptering throughout the event.

Tip 3: Buffer with a Significant Other

Opening up the party to include spouses, partners or significant others has a lot of benefits.  For one, it help keep the atmosphere relaxed as employees are meeting their peer’s better halves and not extending the work day with shop talk.

Another benefit of having partners there is the sense of grounding they can bring.  Employees will be less likely to act on a crazy, drunken dare with their partner watching.  Also, their significant others will tend to look out for their best interest and encourage their partner to keep the drinking to a minimum and not do something that could jeopardize their job.

There’s no reason to fear office holiday get-togethers.  What are some of the measures you put in place this year to keep your office party from being a movie sequel?  Share with us in the comments!

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