“Woo-Hoo! Dude, I’m so hammered! Where are we going after this?”
You turn your head in horror and can’t believe what you’re witnessing with your own eyes and ears. This loud, public drunkenness from an associate would be obnoxious and offensive enough at a bar or at someone’s house. Yet it’s not happening at either of those places.
He’s acting this way right in the middle of the company holiday party.
Unfortunately, we see stories of far too many employees using the holiday party as their opportunity to feel like they’re still in college. What they’re painfully learning the day after is that this sort of behavior can be grounds for termination.
What’s Changed In Management’s Eyes?
Whether a matter of employee safety, liability issues and not embarrassing the company in general, businesses are taking a much harder stance on how people consume alcohol at work events. According to a recent survey from the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), almost half of all the companies surveyed said they would take steps to better control the amount of alcohol consumed at their company parties. Yet for all the limits on drink tickets and cash bars, some employees still find a way to get out of control. Yes, some of those people are 20-somethings, but not always. Middle managers with decades of experience can also have one too many drinks and wind up making an unnecessary scene.
Even if yours is a typically more creative and casual environment, don’t assume that the bosses on hand are going to take an “anything goes” stance. An army of employees acting in an embarrassing manner doesn’t reflect well on the company in public and you’d better believe they care about that.
Here are five great thoughts to ensure you tame that inner party animal that you don’t want anywhere near your company event:
#1: The Hidden Secret: Eating First
\Some employees show up ready to knock back a few drinks right out of the gate. That’s never a good move. Go for the plated appetizers or order yourself a bite to start before you order your first drink.
#2: Keep Your Beer-To-Water Ratio Relatively Even
Just like your food, don’t have several alcoholic drinks in a row without balancing it out with water. Drinking water and eating some of those appetizers you ordered will help you keep a more moderate pace vs. a much faster one that is comprised solely of one drink after another.
#3: Don’t Invite Your Brutal Honesty To Come Out
The funny thing about alcohol (that you won’t find funny the next day) is how it can really bring out the true feelings that someone has. The results can range from embarrassing to catastrophic. You could tell your boss how you really feel about her. You could tell that person you’ve always found attractive that, yes, you find them really attractive and subsequently make inappropriate advances toward them. You could complain loudly about another person or your role in the company that everyone within earshot has a way of remembering. If you remotely feel yourself going down this road, it’s time to leave.
#4 See It As A Great Networking Opportunity!
Most people go to a holiday party and congregate with only the co-workers they know. But a select and smart few who want to get ahead go easy on the drinking and instead see it as an opportunity to get to know other employees they rarely interact with on a daily basis. Is that a member of the management team over there? This might be a good way to introduce yourself and have a light conversation. How about a couple of people from another department? Now you’re branching out.
Just remember point #3 – if those new people you’re talking to start to go down a road during your conversation of badmouthing management or acting inappropriately, quietly excuse yourself. You don’t want to be mistakenly associated with people exhibiting the wrong kinds of behaviors.
#5 Have A Designated Driver Plan – For You And Others
Many companies provide complimentary transportation to take their employees to and from an event. But, like Cinderella, you’ll need to be ready to depart at a scheduled time or … well, you know the rest.
So have a solid “plan B” in the form of a designated driver off-site who you can call just in case you or a co-worker need to leave the event early. One of you could simply decide not to drink for the evening, but it’s more realistic to order an Uber or some form of transportation in advance.
Do you have any other great ideas for helping to ensure your holiday party or company event is a safe and fun one for all? We’d love to hear them!