Workplace holiday gatherings in a post-COVID era may be a good way to reconnect with people, but some people’s social skills may have dulled a bit.
William Becker, an expert in organizational behavior and human resource management at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business, encourages companies to look closely at their culture and establish ground rules for acceptable behavior in light of heightened awareness of sexual harassment.
“The purpose of hosting holiday parties is for employees to come together and celebrate their shared membership in the organization and remind them that it is a work function,” says Becker.
Becker offers these tips for companies to consider:
- Remind employees in advance of social gatherings that the organization has no tolerance for any inappropriate conduct.
- Be extremely proactive when setting guidelines and limiting or monitoring alcohol consumption.
- Make certain employees understand attendance is optional. It should not in any way be considered a condition of their employment.
- Encourage spouses or significant others to attend.
- Hold events in a family-friendly setting.
Becker, whose research interests include work emotion, turnover, organizational neuroscience, and leadership, is based in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area at Virginia Tech.