The HR nightmare before Christmas

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Christmas is a wonderful time of year – full of cheer, goodwill and sparkly lights. But, for businesses, it can have a hugely disruptive impact. With staff holidays to negotiate, as well as the consequences of adverse weather, there’s a lot to contend with! Here are 4 common HR issues that tend to arise over the festive season and how you can deal with them.

1.Bad weather

December is a notorious month for causing transport-related issues and preventing employees from coming into work. You should have a clear policy regarding this in your employee handbook which outlines what’s expected of staff in these circumstances. For example, you should make it clear whether unpaid leave will be given if a staff member can’t make it into work or if they can use holiday to cover it.

2.Dress code

Many businesses operate a relaxed dress code to let employees celebrate occasions such as Christmas Jumper Day. However, you should always be explicitly clear in letting your staff know dressing up is optional. This is especially important for any staff members who don’t celebrate Christmas.

3.Planned shutdowns

It’s a good idea to review holidays around Christmas time, to ensure all your employees have either taken their holiday or (if you allow it) to make sure they’re carrying over any remaining holiday into the new year. You should have given employees as much notice as possible about closures over the Christmas period, so they can save any holiday days they must take during this time.

4.Christmas party

If you’re deciding to organise a Christmas party, it can be helpful to outline any behaviour expectations (via an email or note) before the event takes place. It’s easy for staff to forget that the normal standards of professional behaviour still apply here, and it can serve as a good reminder of the formal consequences people can face if they don’t behave appropriately.

With proper planning and procedures in place, you can minimise the disruption that the Christmas period can cause to your business and to your staff. Having happy employees means a happy business, so don’t wait until the last minute to get organised – make sure you notify your staff of your plans well in advance.

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