Oops, sorry maybe I should say Holiday party season is approaching, as we must be inclusive as HR types.
Love them or hate them, Christmas/Holiday parties are a fact of working life. I have been doing a bit of research into office parties of any description, trying to find the best or worst stories. A Google search provides some excellent reading, for example,
As a business owner, are you obligated to provide an occasion that could end up being written about in any number of blogs? I do believe we have moved away from the mandatory office Christmas party, much as many companies have moved away from the mandatory Christmas bonus, as per National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, where Clark receives a Jelly of the Month Club membership for his Christmas bonus.
My question to those individuals who will be hosting such a party…do you WANT to do this? As far as I know, a Christmas party has never been a bona fide obligation on the part of an employer. While I know of employees who complain about a lack of a party, no one has ever said in an exit interview that the reason they were leaving the company was because they were going to another organization that had rocking Christmas parties. I am not saying it has never happened, just that it has never happened to me.
If the owner/management really wants to host a party and will not resent the cost or the inevitable shows of inappropriate behavior, then go for it. Make it all inclusive, invite everyone who works at the company regardless of status (part time, consultant, temporary), make it voluntary, and do a check with the people who will be attending the party as to what sort of event THEY would like.
However, if the owner/management really does not want to host a party or will resent the cost or use the inappropriate behavior to justify some future discipline down the road, then resist the temptation to have a party. There are plenty of other occasions throughout the year to show your appreciation to your employees, and forced socializing does not need to be part of that