SHRM Connect: She Won't Come to the Christmas Party Now

 SHRM Connect is an online community where SHRM members can ask questions and get answers on a variety of HR topics. It’s a great place to network with other HR professionals and share solutions. The conversation topics range from “HR Department of One” to Employment Law, are always insightful, and deal with some of the most pressing issues that HR professionals face in the workplace today.
 
On Fridays, I’ll be highlighting a conversation or two in hopes that you’ll take some time to visit. You may want to "lurk"… perhaps respond, but you’ll always learn something.  It’s a great community and I highly recommend that you check it out.


 

Thanksgiving -- Check! 

The holidays are officially here, and for many, one of the first celebratory events is the workplace holiday party.  Some love it; some dread it.

In the SHRM Online News article Fa La La La Blah: When Employees Find Workplace Holiday Parties Boring, Obligatory, John Challenger, CEO of Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas says, "A successful holiday party really starts with the culture of the company. Employers should pay attention to morale throughout the rest of the year. Does the company regularly communicate with their workforce? Do they acknowledge accomplishments of their workers, both professional and personal? Do they celebrate diversity and inclusion? Do they welcome new ideas and creativity? If the culture is typically positive and one that clearly values employees, workers will want to celebrate together at the end of the year."

Unless you’re serving Mexican food.
 

Subject:    She Won't Come to The Christmas Party Now

I am responsible for our Company Christmas Party every year.  I have a committee of 5 to help plan the event.  It's like planning a wedding reception, the venue is a banquet hall.  We have a DJ.  To keep it fun and fresh we have a theme - for our 20th anniversary, we did the "Roaring 20's".  Last year it was winter wonderland.  This year it is Mexican Fiesta.  To go along with the theme, the table centerpieces are serapes with clay pots/flowers.  We're hanging colorful paper balls throughout the room, etc.  The menu includes three Mexican entrees to choose from.  Turnout will be approx. 150 people.

This is a HUGE event for my company.  My President gives a speech.  Senior managers are expected to attend unless they are dying.  The date is coming up soon.

Tina is on the committee and told another member, which then got to me, that she is not going because her husband doesn't like Mexican food.  This is so petty, I am very irritated to hear this.  Feed him a Big Mac then before the party!    She didn't want the Mexican entree selections, but the committee voted 4 to 1.  Every year for the last 15 years we've had the traditional steak / chicken / fish option with starch and vegetable.  We can't have a fiesta without Mexican food!

The committee is meeting next Tuesday.  I expect something to be mentioned about her not going.  I want to say to her, "That's fine if you don't want to go.  But I would recommend you come up with another excuse as to the reason you are not going - I don't want this to get to Senior Managers or the President."

Does anyone think that is wrong?  Tina reports to me indirectly.  I actually want to say more to her, but being on the committee is voluntary.  It's just that now we have one less committee member to handle all the activities of the night. We have 3 games, 10 raffle prizes, bonus checks to distribute, photographer, etc.

SHRM members can read/respond to this thread here.

 

 

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COMMENTS 1

Comments

I think the best course of action would have been to consider adding a non Mexican dish to the menu to accommodate people who may not like Mexican food and/or have a dietary restriction. That way everyone has an option and be able to enjoy the party. That comment will affect her morale and maybe others depending who she shares it with.

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