End of Year is Nearly Here!

Are you ready for the festive session/Christmas-New Year period/end of year office closure? Whatever you call it, it’s just around the corner so you need to be business-ready.

Here are our 3 tips to get you started on your people planning for end of year.

1.  Message from the CEO

End of year is the perfect time for the CEO to show appreciation for the efforts of all employees throughout the year and wish them a safe and refreshing holiday with their friends and family.

A few suggestions around the CEO Message:

  • In person is always best so strive hard to make it happen – CEO and all employees in the one place. If that’s really not possible then skype or similar is the second-best option.  And it’s a great idea to record it and share with employees who missed out.
  • It’s an opportunity to reinforce your vision and organisational values so pull out the good news stories that demonstrate the power of your values. Publicly call-out these people and thank them for the wonderful contribution they made to their co-workers and/or clients.
  • Timely to celebrate the wins of the business over the calendar year and then look to the exciting future of the business.
  • A gift is a lovely and greatly appreciated gesture from the CEO – big or small, it’s all about the thought as they say. Something that gives thanks for their contribution to the success of the business, that they choose to be on your team, and that they can talk about with their friends and family – best advocates for business.
  • If not a gift, then a personalised message in the form of a letter or card goes a long way to helping employees feel appreciated for all they do at work.

2.  The Celebration

What is end of year and Christmas without a party?  And let’s be realistic, not many Christmas parties are free of alcohol.  A few glasses of champagne or beer can unfortunately lead to problematic behaviour potentially landing you in legal deep water.

Here are a few points to consider in organising your work party:

  • The CEO, executives and managers must attend. It is such a sad experience when the CEO and executive don’t turn up to socialise with their teams.  It sends a really bad message about the value placed on employees.  And to me is a lead indicator of the workplace culture.
  • Safety first:
    • Serve a substantial amount of food and non-alcoholic drinks.
    • Set clear start and finish times and do not serve alcohol beyond this time.
    • Encourage employees to know their own limitations when it comes to alcohol consumption and ensure management lead by example.
    • Ensure safe travel home, eg cab vouchers, public transport, maxi-taxis, designated drivers.
    • Inspect the venue for possible hazards and make potential risk areas out of bounds.
    • Appoint a senior employee to stay sober to oversee the function, which may include taking appropriate action to address escalating behaviour such as sending some people home or even closing the bar. (If no volunteer, you may need to beg or incentivise this generous individual).
  • Appropriate workplace behaviour:
    • Remind your people about what is appropriate workplace behaviour and reinforce that these standards apply to the end of year party even if it occurs outside of working hours and away from the office.
    • Warn employees about the consequences of inappropriate behaviour.
    • Deal with all complaints promptly and properly.


3.  Office Closures

Many businesses close completely or partially over the Christmas to New Year period.  It is important that you notify your employees, clients and suppliers well-advanced of this period, and appropriately roster employees to ensure urgent matters are promptly dealt with over the closure.

Most modern awards require an employer to usually give four weeks’ notice of the intention to close down for annual leave. For example, the Clerks Award, says: An employer may require an employee to take annual leave as part of a close-down of its operations, by giving at least four weeks’ notice.  However, some awards may require a longer period of notice.  You should refer to the applicable modern award to determine the relevant period of notice required to be given to employees when a business is closing down for annual leave.

If you need specific information about how these points apply to your business, please call Harrison Human Resources, Brisbane-based HR consultants on 1300 001 447.

Once you’ve covered all the above points, kick-back (or kick up your heels!) and enjoy a well-deserved celebration of your achievements over the year 🙂

Best wishes for the festive season.

Written by Claire Harrison, Author of The CEO Secret Guide to Managing and Motivating Employees, and Managing Director of Harrison Human Resources.

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