It’s that time of the year. Companies reward their hard-working employees with the illustrious holiday party. These parties range from a potluck on a Friday to an elaborate black-tie affair at the Four Seasons. No matter where the event takes place, HR is always asked to provide some tips and guidelines for behavior at the party.
First of all, this is one of the most embarrassing parts of my job. The fact that one professional has to set guidelines for appropriate behavior for a group of other professionals is absurd. Hey, Pat, this isn’t a tailgate or an off-campus kegger. It’s a work function. Paid for by your company. For one time out of the year, show a little respect.
But because I love to have to tell grown adults how to act while outside their home, I’m giving you my three simple tips to a successful, termination-free holiday party. Follow these and you can show up and leave with your dignity intact.
Say, “Thank You”
Before you hit the open bar, find your boss or the person responsible for hosting and thank them. I don’t care if you’d rather drink turpentine and pee on a brush fire (name that movie for $100), find that person and give them a sincere thank you. You can put aside your differences for one evening. There’s no need to overdo it and give them a fruit cake, just a simple acknowledgement of the event will do the trick.
Bosses, I can’t believe I even have to say it, but make sure you find your employees and thank them for all they’ve done. If you’re hosting the thing, take a few minutes, grab a mic, and thank the room.
It’s a party, not a conference. Mingle, talk to people, and laugh. You’ve spent all year with this group and spent a lot of hours solving the world’s problems. Spend some time to get to know your co-workers. Share a story or dance the jitterbug. Hell, learn The Floss and impress Syd in IT.
Know When It’s Time To Go
Nothing good happens after midnight. It’s true. Know your limits. Enjoy the party, do a little break dancing, and hit the road. If you’ve had a couple of cocktails, you will regret the Fireball shots at the after-pary. Trust me. And, most importantly, keep your hands to yourself. If you see your bro acting a “bro-sy,” do him a favor and take him with you.
Make sure you saved enough battery life in your phone after all the Snaps and IG story uploads to dial up your favorite ride-share app. Kick it old-school and order a cab. If you’ve been responsible and have been enjoying a soda and lime all night because you have a long morning run or you just like your mornings headache-free, grab the keys and enjoy a nice drive home.
Employers, make sure you reimburse any and all travel to and from the party. If you choose to provide alcohol, this is a no-brainer. This is not the time of the year to go on the cheap.
The corporate holiday party brings all kinds of potential HR nightmares. They also bring a lot of fun and celebration. Save yourself and your friendly HR guy a little embarrassment and humiliation and follow these simple steps. You’ll thank me in the morning and we’ll have more pleasant conversations on Monday.