3 ways to avoid HR missteps around the holidays

The holiday season is a great time to show employees your appreciation and celebrate as a team. But how practices handle certain traditions can be somewhat tricky from a human-resources standpoint. Consider the following tips to keep tension from undermining your office's good cheer:

  • Communicate clearly about time off. Ensure employees know the procedure to request time off during peak times, including how far in advance they must ask and who has the authority to grant time-off requests. Having formal policies in writing is especially important to eliminate confusion and disappointment, according to a post from Physicians Practice. "The biggest area of potential conflict is if there is more than one person approving time off for staff," wrote P.J. Cloud-Moulds. "If communication between senior staff is not prompt and clear, this can become very detrimental to any practice."
  • Plan parties thoughtfully. Ensure that all office gatherings are non-denominational, open to all employees, voluntary to attend and respect individual religious observances, advised a post from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). To help ensure the party is a hit with everyone, put people of different religions on the planning committee.
  • Avoid gift gaffes. If you have an office gift exchange, set a low spending limit and make participation voluntary, advised a separate post from SHRM. It's also a good idea for managers to refuse all gifts from employees, and give items that are representative of the practice's mission and not too personal. Finally, while cash holiday bonuses based on seniority may help promote longevity with your practice, make sure they are truly non-performance based to keep non-exempt employees from being pushed into overtime qualification.

To learn more:
- see the post from Physicians Practice
- read the first and second post from SHRM