How to Organise a Staff Christmas Party – The Definitive Guide

Published on Mar 29, 2017

Christmas party organisers make or break reputations. As a whole, the event will either confirm negative held views of an organisation that have been building up over the course of a year, or embellish them and build upon existing positive attitudes.

The behaviour of staff members during the extravaganza can tilt careers to the stars (think of the positive networking opportunities) or turn it on its head, as a drunken five-minute indiscretion can bring about a year of embarrassment and humiliation!

Then there’s the reputation of the Christmas party organiser. Get it right and you’re the darling of the company, get it wrong, and management may well be questioning your professional capabilities. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that as the organiser you really have got all your bases covered.

How to Organise a Corporate Christmas Party

We’ve compiled a definitive guide to help you organise an awesome Christmas party, that at worst will enhance your reputation – possibly making you one of the most popular people in your organisation, and at best help to manoeuvre you into a possible promotion situation.

There is a big difference between organising a corporate Christmas party and organising a social work event. While doubtless you’ll be thinking of what venue, food, entertainment and music you will be offering, there’s a whole host of ‘behind the scene’ issues to take into account.

Below, is some advice that we’ve compiled that will ensure that you, your company and employees are protected when it comes to creating the ultimate party, whether it’s a themed Christmas party a shared Christmas party or if you desire the stars and the moon at an exclusive and bespoke Christmas event.

Christmas party organisers – Letter of the Law

Did you know that businesses can be held responsible for the behaviour of their staff at a work event that is held outside normal hours? So if you get into a situation at a Christmas Party where a colleague behaves inappropriately towards another member of staff, say in a sexually or violent way, the company can be liable.

Thus make sure that your company has all the correct procedures in place covering harassment and bullying, discipline and grievance and discrimination, otherwise it is quite possible that either you or a colleague will be representing the company in a tribunal possibly facing hefty compensation claims.

It’s also a good idea to produce a ‘Christmas party policy’. While this may seem a bit po’faced, it’s good insurance, as not only does it provide evidence that as an organisation you have taken steps to ensure against any misdemeanours, it sends out a very clear message to staff that inappropriate behaviour of any description is a disciplinary offence.

Corporate Christmas party organisers – The Right Venue

While you’re on a roll it’s also a good idea to carry out a risk assessment of the Christmas venue that you are planning to hire, before you hire it. Look out for potential hazards – maybe you want to avoid Christmas venues with lots of stairs or any that have outside lakes, ponds and fountains.

Maybe a dedicated party venue is a safer option, Christmas party organisers in London should make sure of policies and procedures have been thought through and are in place, venues such as London museums, art galleries, zoos and botanical gardens offer a unique Christmas venue, just double check first!

How to organise a Christmas party – Small talk

Make sure that managers are briefed fully on what subjects to avoid while nibbling on their canapés. Subjects such as wage rises and promotions should be avoided at all costs, and by the way any promises made could actually turn out to be contractually binding. So in all keep to the small talk! If you’re having a sit down meal, be sensitive about where you place staff to avoid any potential conflict, so get your managers onside to help you with place settings.

Corporate Christmas party organiser – The Truth Serum

Free food and drink are always very appealing to staff, it’s often seen as a just reward for the year’s hard work. However, many conflicts and inappropriate situations can be avoided by controlling the amount of alcohol on offer. Make it clear in your party policy that drunken behaviour will not be tolerated, and make sure that along with the (limited) alcohol on offer you also provide soft drinks and hot beverages.

Christmas party organiser – Getting Home Safely

Make sure that staff can get home easily and that no one drives if they have been drinking. Free coaches and buses at the end of the night is a good idea, but if you can’t stretch to that then make sure you are holding the event in an accessible place and book local taxis fleets for the end of the evening. The welfare of staff is your responsibility, and you need to demonstrate that it has been considered.

Christmas Party Blues – The Morning After

Organise it in advance. You need to make it clear what you expect from staff the morning after the night before. Tolerance on late arrivals is one thing, but a no-show is quite another. Once again, these expectations need to be written into your party policy.

Organise a hassle free Christmas Party – Advice for staff:

  • Even if you don’t want to, it’s a good idea to attend your Christmas Party. It can prove to be an excellent networking situation.
  • Avoid going to the pub beforehand, and don’t be late.
  • Make a point of actually talking to staff and managers you don’t know. It can help to later perceptions of you.
  • Avoid contentious issues when talking to other staff members.
  • Dress appropriately. Avoid clingy, short and revealing clothes – after all you are a professional and this is still a work situation.
  • Don’t get drunk.
  • Don’t ask the boss for a pay rise or make unguarded comments about other staff members.
  • Avoid ‘slow dancing’ or any untoward behaviour.
  • Make sure you have sorted out your transport home.

Enjoy yourself appropriately and remember that it’s your professional reputation at stake.Maybe the best advice is to use a Christmas party organiser – they have the knowledge of the best Christmas party venues, the best options and some unique insights on what will work for you and maybe even more important what would not work for you! But then we will say that – wouldn’t we!

Give us a call on 08450 251 251 for more advice and guidance on organising your Christmas Party in London or around the UK.