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Prepare Employees for Holiday Parties

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By Nathan Jamail

It is that time year for many furniture retailers to start thinking about parties and year-end sales events, events that leaders spend lots of money and time planning and putting together to show their employees how much they appreciate their hard work and recognize their top performers.  But you can bet many of them will have the hangover of that famous question the next morning, “Hey did you see that guy or girl last night at the company event?”  That question can elicit many answers and some may sound like, “Oh yeah, everybody did when he got on the microphone and slurred profanity for everybody to hear. Or, “Did you see that girl? She was so drunk; she was saying all kinds of inappropriate things to her boss.”

I can guarantee his or her boss remembers it and their boss remembers it and they are for sure talking about it, but not as a funny story at the coffee pot. No, they are talking to HR or legal on how they are going to handle the situation.  Many great careers have been ended at company events by someone being that guy or that girl. 

I have fortunately have not been that guy or girl as far as I know, but unfortunately, I have been the boss of a few in my career. 

In 2000, our area had our annual planning session and awards event.  This event was hosted by my boss, the Area Vice President and all of my fellow directors and all of our managers and sales reps were in attendance with an estimated 300 employees.  It was the first night and until then we’d made it through the first day without any major incidences, but it was still early.  Later in the evening after dinner, many of the employees went to the bar in the hotel to continue celebrating and having fun with their peers from across the country.  A few of us managers were in a room with my boss having a discussion on how the event was going and reviewing the next day’s activities when another manager walked in and said, “one of the employees is throwing up in the middle of the bar.”  With confidence I said, “I know it’s not one of my people.”  I was confident because I had a talk with my team prior to this event on how everybody needs to act.  We discussed dress code, good and bad topics to discuss in public and under no circumstance do you want to be the person that sees the bartender leave to go home.  Since I just had this conversation about the do’s and don’ts, I knew it could not have been one of my people. 

Well, I have been wrong a lot in my life and tonight was no different.  The manager then looked at me and said, “Actually, it is your employee.”  I instructed her immediate supervisor to have one of the other female employees to get her safely to her room immediately.  Now, this was not a terminating offense, but it was a “that girl” event.  Needless to say, she was embarrassed the remainder of the event.  I bet she remembers the advice we gave her following corporate events. Here are a few simple company or business event rules:

  1. Use the 2 drink maximum rule or if you have low tolerance, then soda is probably what you should stick with.
  2. Remember no matter your surroundings, you are still at work.
  3. Don’t be the last one at the bar, because you probably broke the 1st and 2nd rules.
  4. Have fun.
  5. Make sure someone else is “That guy or girl!”

Take it from the boss of that guy or girl, the story never has good ending when you are that person.

What is a company to do?

Many leaders are doing fewer events and some are eliminating them all together to help avoid the human resource and legal issues that happen so often during these events.  This is a mistake that can and will cost the company good employees and good morale.  Keep doing the events, and focus on educating the teams on the appropriate behavior ahead of time.  Know at every event there will be that guy or that girl and you can deal with them, but the good news there are those remaining hundreds of great employees talking about that person and how thankful they are to be working for a company that shows how much they appreciate them.  Events can be expensive and a pain for many leaders, but they are cheap compared to unmotivated and unhappy employees and clients. Have a great end of the year and

Happy Holidays to everybody!

About The Author: Nathan Jamail, president of the Jamail Development Group author of Best Selling Business Book "The Sales Leaders Playbook," as well as radio host on CNN 1190 delivering business talk radio with an edge, is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and corporate coach. As a former Executive for Fortune 500 companies, and business owner of several small businesses, Nathan travels the country helping individuals and organizations achieve maximum success. His clients include Radio Shack, Nationwide Insurance, Cisco, Stryker and Army National Guard. To book Nathan, visit www.NathanJamail.com or contact 972-377-0030.


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