Remember Why We Party

Last Friday, Office Christmas Party hit movie theaters nationwide, and by most accounts, it was pretty darn successful.  While this post contains some minor spoilers, the central premise of the movie is one my HR friends can and should rejoice over – we need to party!

We Party Because We Value Employees

One of the characters complains that he works at a company that doesn’t value its employees.  His company won’t reimburse him for meals while he is traveling, and he’s certainly not going to receive a holiday bonus.  He wants to work with a company that values its employees and shows it by rewarding hard work.  Parties can do this.  Managers raise a toast to the people they work with, buy them a nice meal, maybe even throw in some door prizes like iPads, steaks, or even a bonus cash booth.  Showing appreciation for all the hard work, dedication, and energy employees give is important.

We Party to Celebrate Our Team

It doesn’t matter what kind of year we’ve had, a party brings everyone together to celebrate.  If the year was great, we have lots to celebrate.  If the year was not-so-great, then we celebrate that we made it.  When we bring people together outside of their cubicles or off the manufacturing line, the team gets stronger together.  At the end of the movie, the team comes together to save Christmas for more than just their branch, but for everyone.

Yes, Employment Attorneys Are Nervous

Employment attorneys are a skittish bunch.  We’ve all heard or dealt with horror stories that come from company parties.  Whether it is busted ear drums, inappropriate gifting, or one (or several) too many drinks, the horror stories have real consequences, like lawsuits.  We don’t wish these situations on our clients – especially not the ones in the movie – so we recommend drink tickets, day-parties, and harassment policy reminders.  But this advice is not meant to detract from having the party or the true value of the party.  We worry.  As long as you are reasonable and mindful, the chances a holiday party goes as off the rails as the movie is incredibly slim.

So, this holiday season, party.  Demonstrate your commitment to employees by bringing them together and celebrating their contributions.  Just be careful out there, and don’t jump any bridges.

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