I love it when HR people look me in the eye and say, “I’m not responsible for the holiday party. I tell my workers, ‘You do you and be an adult. And if you make poor choices, suffer the consequences’.”
I want to know why there must be consequences. Why can’t we just have fun?
Fine, yes, okay. If you get hammered at your holiday party and commit a hate crime, someone should follow up. But that someone is not Emily, your local HR representative.
For the most part, people behave at corporate holiday parties because employers no longer hold parties. Nowadays, companies are cheap and do a sad luncheon with Boston Market and a cookie exchange. You get a thigh, some mashed potatoes and a pat on the back for being compliant and quiet.
If anyone gets drunk and says something stupid, it’s after hours during a private gathering held by employees. And HR is the last to know about it.
So this year, my friends in HR, lighten up and stop telling people to avoid drinking and having fun at holiday parties. That advice is old advice.
Instead of being grouchy, why don’t you go retro and throw a kick-ass holiday party? (No, not the bowling alley with the attached bar.) Tell your employees to wear a tie, put on a little lip gloss, and call the babysitter and tell her it will be a late night. Get an Uber or a Lyft for all of your employees and stop saying you can’t afford it. How much does your CEO make?
Or why don’t you do a nice luncheon that spares no expense but also simultaneously benefits a local charity? We did that, one year, and it was awesome. Get out the fancy tablecloths, skip the potluck, and ask your employees to eat great food and listen to stories from a local not-for-profit. You’ll be amazed at how much money you raise.
Or book the damn bowling alley, for all I care, but make sure your local HR lady isn’t the one who hands out drink tickets and scowls when people are having fun.
It’s okay to drink. It’s okay to flirt and dance with your co-workers as long as you ask for permission first. And it’s certainly okay to have a little fun during the holidays. Have a ball and enjoy being human. But please just don’t commit a hate crime, okay? Otherwise, you’ll invalidate this post and ruin it for all of us just trying to have a good time.