Work parties continue to provide challenges

Work parties continue to provide challenges

It is common for many Australian employers to host parties for staff and clients, particularly around Christmas, EOFY or to recognise achieving targets and KPIs. They have traditionally been seen to have many benefits, including improving staff morale, rewarding employee performance or assisting in building client relationships.

However, if poorly managed, the work party can produce some serious HR challenges that will lead to headaches for some time after …. Just imagine you’re faced with:

  • Property damage

  • Allegations of inappropriate conduct by a manager against a junior staffer

  • Hefty alcohol bill racked up by an employee on a company credit card.

Some clear suggestions that will help to eliminate or minimise those issues.

Prior to the party, remind all staff in person and formally in writing about appropriate and inappropriate behaviour and the consequences arising. Advise them that the obligations are the same whether the function is held in-house or off-site.

If you are serving alcohol, encourage reasonable consumption (issue tickets), offer lighter alcohol and soft drink options as well as food, consider whether you provide transport arrangements to eliminate the risk of potentially driving home. It is strongly recommended that a senior manager oversee the event and monitor and direct people where required. Encourage staff to attend in casual clothing rather than company uniforms.

HR challenges may continue the next working week including:

a)    Post-party termination cleanout following misconduct is now an Unfair Dismissal conference.

b)    A Manager’s inappropriate comment or touching has hit home and requires more action than just another unreserved apology.

c)    The Account’s department is alarmed by a late-night $2,000.00 credit charge post-party.

 d)   The Production Manager is asking if we have a drug policy.

Emotions, energy and ideas can be running high, but we must not forget our statutory obligations, compliance and reasonable management obligations. A failure to follow procedural fairness, consultation or documentation may have a deep impact on your organisation.

Workforce Advisory is here to assist you and step your team through the processes.

For queries, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 0417 622 178, 1300 WAL LAW or

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