Emtrain Blog

4 Ways to Avoid Conflict at Your Workplace Holiday Party

Posted by Janine Yancey

December 5, 2016


This post was originally published on December 8, 2015 and was updated on December 5, 2016.

Whether you love them or hate them, holiday parties are an annual event for most organizations. 

Follow these steps to make sure your employees are having a great time at your workplace holiday party, while curbing any crazy antics and conduct.

1. Not everyone celebrates Christmas

Be jolly, but be aware that you may be celebrating the season next to people who aren’t celebrating a holiday. They may celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanza, Diwali, Ramadan, etc.  

Identifying someone’s chosen holiday is less important than being friendly and inclusive. It's best to just give good wishes for a joyful season (unless you absolutely know a person celebrates Christmas).  

Make sure to diversify the decorations and food to reflect different cultures. This helps demonstrate respect and inclusion for all members of your team.

Check out this short clip to see things from the perspective of an employee who doesn't celebrate Christmas.


Wistia video thumbnail - Holiday Office Celebrations

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2. Drink to be social, not to get drunk

It’s the end of a long year and you may have things you’ve been wanting to say for a long time. Or, you may just want to kick up your heels a bit and ham it up. Trust me, this isn’t the place or time to do that.

You may be at a party, but it's still a work party. These are the same people you work with, just a different setting.

Don’t do or say anything that will have a negative impact on your reputation or that will cause you to regret your actions the next day.

3. Party or not, your leader needs to play the part

The tone of any gathering is always set by the leadership team. That’s why it’s important to remind leaders to act like leaders. They can get casual, just not too casual or act in a way that influences the behavior of the rest of the team.  

Remind leaders that the rest of the team follows their lead and they should have fun and be social and friendly, but they should also be polished and professional -- someone the team would want to follow.

This leader also needs to keep an eye open for people who are drinking too much and/or acting inappropriately. If those situations arise, the designated company leader is responsible for having a quiet word with someone and de-escalating any problematic conduct.

4. Make sure they get home safely

If you’re hosting the party, inviting your employees, and serving them alcohol —well then, you better take responsibility to ensure they don’t drive drunk. Again, this should be the responsibility of the designated company leader. Consider lining up Uber rides so the party ends as nicely as it started.


Before you go ahead and open up the champagne to celebrate, invest a small amount of time to make sure your holiday celebration is fun and doesn’t leave you with a headache the morning after.

For more guidance regarding after hours conduct, download your Workplace Conduct Checklists for Supervisors and Employees.





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Topics: People Skills