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Believe it or not, the holidays are coming

October 25, 2017

By Sara Pebbles, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

If you aren’t happy that Christmas decorations are in stores before Halloween then you aren’t going to like what I am going to say next.  It’s time to start planning the office holiday party.    

Last week we released the results to our 2018 Holiday Schedule and Practices Survey.  This survey not only collects data on what holidays Michigan employers are planning to observe next year, but it also asks questions about how they will be celebrating the holiday season at work. This year 77% of participants reported that they plan to have a holiday party, the second highest it has been reported since the question was first asked back in 2005 and the highest in the past 10 years. 

With a holiday party comes some liability to the employer if alcohol is present.  To limit that liability 28% of employers are having an event where no alcohol is served, and 51% are making attendance voluntary.  For those organizations that are having parties with alcohol some of the practices reported include hosting the party at a hotel so employees could stay, paying for employees’ rooms, offering discounted hotel rates, and providing transportation.

In an article published by SHRM in the midst of the holidays last year they suggested some of the following ideas to limit the liability and crazy party stories:

  • Limit the hours: Have an established end time for the party and start it right after work so that employees aren’t able to party beforehand.
  •  Send a respect memo: Remind employees in writing about the company policies on harassment.
  • Plan activities: Instead of just an open bar, plan activities to break up the drinking.

We can’t forget that the holidays are also the season of giving so once you get the party planned you need to determine whether or not you will be providing gifts to your employees.  This year 46% of employers reported that they will not be providing a gift this holiday season.  For those organizations that are giving gifts, 57% said that the average value of the gift would be $1-$50. Twice as many organizations plan on giving a monetary gift as opposed to a non-monetary one, but if you are looking for something other than a check or gift card some of the ideas reported were turkeys, hams, holiday food gift baskets, movie passes, coffee cups, and branded clothing.

Tis (almost) the season for decorated cubicles and secret santa gifts.  Hopefully the holiday party will be fun for all and not an HR nightmare.

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