Christmas Party conundrum?
Should we, shouldn’t we? So many organisations are asking themselves what’s the right answer here and to be honest it’s a moral maze. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. For me, this type of issue is why you need both a purpose and a code of ethics. Get these right and they will be your guiding light for these challenging decisions. If your purpose has a strong outcome based statement particularly steeped in customer first ethics then you should be able to test your thinking against your purpose.
For example, if you are in insurance and your purpose is to help customers protect the things they care about, imagine the party happened and there was a major weather event the next day. The COVID infection rate spread at the party and you had a major spike in sickness just when your customers needed you most. If your purpose has meaning for your people, the decision not to party will be both easy and completely understood by the colleagues.
Another approach might be more values based. ‘We care about our people’ - on so many office walls but mostly without meaning or action. Well time to think about what values you should measure yourself against when making the decision. If you conclude that the health and welfare of your teams are the most important factors then again the decision is easy.
There is no right or wrong answer and the government guidance is bordering on the pathetic.
Finally a good moment to think about inclusion - Christmas is a Christian faith event, not all colleagues are of this faith. Some people with certain neuro-diversity or disability issues find the idea of a crowded party extremely challenging. And of course, trying to ‘police’ behaviour especially with alcohol involved is fraught with danger. Ask yourself, what the worst headline you could read about your business in the papers the next day? Brand reputations are hard won!
I feel like the Grinch who stole Christmas re-reading this but be guided by your purpose and bring to life the values of your organisation. Trees planting and/or charity support might be the better substitute followed by a mega-do when the pandemic is under control again.