According to a CROP survey conducted for the Ordre des CRHA et CRIA du Québec (ORHRI) in late November, office Christmas parties are gaining in popularity among organizations and their employees.
More and more office Christmas parties
The survey indicates that three quarters (75%) of Quebec workers have an office Christmas party organized by their employer, compared to only 69% in 2006 and 65% in 2005.
What’s more, workers appear to appreciate this initiative. In fact, 69% believe it’s important for their employer to organize a Christmas party.
“And they’re right. Office parties are often a good opportunity to get together outside the formal work environment. Not only do they promote team spirit, but employees also see them as a form of reward,” explained Florent Francoeur, CHRP, President and CEO of the Ordre.
Employer supervision: a definite social responsibility
The organization of an office party naturally implies a certain level of supervision on the part of the employer, just to make sure things don’t spin out of control. According to the survey, 8% of employees reported witnessing unacceptable incidents at their last office Christmas party (e.g. unseemly behaviour, inappropriate words from a boss or co-worker, etc.).
To prevent these situations from arising, employers need to have a certain measure of control over their employee’s alcohol consumption and provide alternative means of transportation for them to get home.
Yet only 36% of respondents said their employer had some control over the amount of alcohol employees consumed at the Christmas party. The lack of an open bar or a limit on the number of drinks paid for by the employer are just a few examples of such control measures.
Furthermore, some 53% of those interviewed confirmed that their employer provides some form of alternative transportation for the office Christmas party.
These findings may seem disturbing insofar as employers are responsible for the regrettable consequences of excessive alcohol consumption during activities they organize (accidents, inappropriate behaviour, etc.). “But we should be careful about jumping to conclusions. These responses could also indicate that employers have become more subtle in theirapproach or have made certain practices so standard that their employees don’t necessarily notice them. Nonetheless, HR professionals can be excellent resources for employers on these occasions,” added Francoeur.
To learn more…
Download the results of the CROP survey (in French only).
Employers will also find advice and some simple tips on how to monitor alcohol consumption at office parties at www.orhri.org/guidexpress (in French only).