“Obviously with alcohol, not only do inhibitions get lowered but lines get crossed without people realising it and people become less aware of what their behaviour is doing to others,” Orth said. “As much as you as the employer or as the HR manager want to kick back, relax and enjoy yourself, it’s a good idea to maintain some level of control so you can deal with any situation that arises. If it’s a big party you may want to consider having security there.”
Orth suggested monitoring the intake of alcohol, either using tickets, or having someone serve alcohol rather than leaving it open and accessible.
When it comes to planning your event, the first questions to ask yourself are what do you want to achieve with your event, and what are the organizational values of the company as a whole, said Holly Cybulski, Seneca College professor at Seneca College and owner of HC Consulting.
If your company is very family-oriented then exploring an event that is family friendly could be advisable. If your company has a philanthropic focus then you can develop a charitable aspect of the project.
“It’s important to look at all the angles and aspects like you would with any organizational project. As the leaders of an organization why are you choosing to host this event? Once that’s decided other elements will start to fall into place,” Cybulski added. “Do you want this to be an evening out, or do you want to have a thank you brunch? Working back from that core purpose will ultimately define the details of that event.”
Whether it’s about recognizing accomplishments, team-building, or giving a forward-thinking message, remember that despite the fun element this is still a business.
She also reiterated the idea that if you’re offering alcohol you need to know how guests will be getting to and from your event. Budget for some form of transportation, whether it’s shuttles or taxi chits. And don’t forget to have contingency plans for your contingency plans.
“I highly encourage individuals to introduce other elements that are team building and interactive activities, especially in bigger organizations where different departments may not know each other,” Cybulski said. “It’s not just about having a party, there are strategic ways to thank your teams and your staff.”