Managing HR during the festive period. An A-Z… almost

For some businesses, Christmas is a welcome time to wind down, accept that things get quieter and enjoy the festivities. For many though it is quite the opposite: it’s about to get hectic!

From employees competing for holiday time, to a large spike in seasonal demand, and not forgetting the challenges of the Christmas party, there are plenty of pitfalls for HR to manage every December.

Here’s a look at some of the main areas which may land in your inbox, and how to manage them.

Annual leave – Do you get overwhelmed with holiday requests between Christmas and New Year? Many do! Ensure a fair system of priority is established and communicated in your business, like first come, first served. And if you don’t have holiday management software yet to make your life easier, make sure you stick it on your Christmas list.

Business as usual – While many of us like to get a bit carried away at Christmas, there is still work to be done and a suitable air of professionalism to maintain. Keep an eye on your team through good line management to ensure standards do not slip excessively.

Charity – Christmas is a time of giving and many businesses choose to make a donation in time or money at this time of year. Don’t miss the opportunity to involve your team in this; whether it is a vote on which cause to support or by bringing everyone together with a fundraising activity.

Decorations – Most workplaces will want to get into the Christmas spirit with some tinsel, a tree and baubles, and rightly so. But don’t forget health and safety, with trip hazards and dodgy wiring posing a threat at this time of year.

Inclusivity – While Christmas is mainstream and has a distinctly commercial twist nowadays, its important to remember its roots in religion. Some people will prefer not to take part whether for religious reasons or something personal. As a business it is important you give them space to do this.

Jumpers – Love them or loathe them, Christmas jumpers are something of a modern day staple of the festive season. They are a nice way to bring the team together if you choose a day for everyone to wear one. Save the Children run an official Christmas Jumper Day, which this year falls on 7th December if you want to raise some money for charity at the same time.

Party – The Christmas party is a focal point for staff to enjoy themselves and you to show them your appreciation. But, without checks and balances, they can be a focal point for trouble: harassment, conflict, accidents, unauthorised absence to name a few potential issues. Reminding staff that the party is an extension of the workplace, setting expectations and not encouraging excess drinking are all essential practices before the party starts. For more tips, check out this blog.

Secret Santa – A great bit of fun, but full of innocent or not so innocent pitfalls for the unwary employer. This blog of ours has some useful guidance.

Temps – ‘Tis the season to hire temporary workers. Whether it is for turkey plucking or envelope stuffing or as a tool to help manage annual leave, many businesses need extra staff at Christmas. Make sure you talk to us about their employment contracts and that they receive appropriate training, including health and safety.

White Christmas? – Whether you have a white Christmas or not, we are sure to see some bad weather at some point. Keep your workspace safe by having adequate entrance matting, wet floor signs and a regular cleaning routine, as well as a supply of grit for outdoor walkways.

ZZZ – If you have been rushed off your feet, don’t forget to take sufficient time off yourself to recuperate. You don’t want to start 2024 feeling burnt out.

If you have another question about Christmas HR which we have not covered off here, please do not hesitate to contact us for help. Wishing you and your whole team a happy festive season from all of us at The HR Dept.

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