This time of year, you will see lots of articles about holiday party dos and don’ts from an employee’s perspective, but what about employers. We put together this list of best practices and things to avoid as you plan your holiday get-togethers.

Do Set Clear Expectations.

Make sure employees clearly understand your expectations for the event, especially attire and guests. Make it clear whether employees are allowed to bring their spouse, another guest, or even children. Also make sure employees understand your expectations for dress. Should employees feel free to come in jeans, or is business attire more appropriate? It is also nice to include an end time, so those that have to arrange for babysitters or a ride home have a clear idea of when the festivities will wind down. Spelling out these expectations clearly to employees from the start can prevent embarrassing situations later.

Don’t Forget to Thank Employees.

A holiday party is a great time to sincerely thank all of your employees for their hard work during the past year. Share some of the highlights and milestones from the year, so everyone can celebrate together. Keep the mood positive and avoid talking about areas to improve. That can be done at a later date. Make this all about focusing on the good.

Do be Careful about Serving Alcohol.

Some companies enjoy offering alcohol at company parties, but they should be cautious about doing so. Serving any amount of alcohol at a holiday party is a potential liability. Of you do choose to include alcohol, less risky options include limiting the time alcohol is available and hiring professional bartenders that limit service. Consider offering to arrange rides home, so employees aren’t driving while intoxicated. Also, if you are serving alcohol think about serving food, to limit overindulgence.

Don’t Make Attendance Mandatory.

If you require employees to attend or in any way imply that attendance is mandatory, you may get into a sticky situation with employee pay. Non-exempt employees would need to be paid for time attending the party if attendance is mandatory, even outside of regular office hours.

Do Include Employees’ Spouse and/or Family.

Some companies might be tempted to just invite employees to reduce cost, but inviting spouses and/or families is a great way for employees to get to know one another on a different level. It is also a nice time to thank spouses and families for their support of employees. Many employees are also more likely to attend a party that is outside office hours if they can bring someone with them.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun!

These types of celebrations are often as fun as you make them. Encourage managers to attend and lead by example with appropriate attitudes and behavior.

Remembering these simple dos and don’ts can help ensure your holiday party goes off without a hitch. We would love to hear how you are celebrating with your employees. Let us know on Facebook and Twitter using #HelpsideHolidays.