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Did HR Kill the Company Christmas Party?

The Society Of Human Resources reports a huge decrease in the number of Christmas parties in 2015. Has the Grinch, HR, Legal Department or the CFO stolen Christmas for employees? With 30% of HR professionals saying a party was not happening this December—that’s a 12% decrease in parties from 2012—will we see the end of the Christmas party by 2020?
The Death of the Christmas PartyI was happy to see this social media update from an amazing Vancouver branch of a great Canadian company. It featured a post-Christmas-party hangover breakfast with Bailey’s Irish Cream. Now that is a Christmas party when the employer continues to break out the booze and food 12 hours later!
Getting back to our question, is the Chief Financial Officer or upper management responsible for budget cuts that are killing off the party? It turns out that only 6% blamed the lack of a party on budget.
Is it the Legal Department? Is the fear of a lawsuit from an employee driving home drunk or an assault happening when the tequila bottle comes out? It turns out that in Canada there are only 176 court cases containing the words “Christmas party alcohol employer” versus 29,792 that contain the words “employer employed fired.”
For me, the company Christmas party has always been the right and the fun thing to do. It is so much fun to see the partners of the people you work with, learn more about them, and just cut loose once a year. Have I crossed a line at a Christmas party? You bet I have, but I learned from it just like any manager or employee should do. It didn’t involve a kiss or an argument about politics, just some dance moves that might have flowed from the tequila.
We can talk about culture but the only real measure of a company’s Christmas party is if there is a spousal Christmas party conflict, whose party gets chosen? Do alumni crash your party or head home to bed? Do new employees realize that they work with some really fun people?
Hopefully you have had a great Christmas party or will have one in the next week. If not, get out your HR toolkit and point to employee morale, retention, and “the right thing to do” to make sure you have a Christmas party in 2016!

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