How to prepare for a care-free, team-building, holiday party

Dec 7, 2021
min read

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! 

For many employees, the end-of-year holiday party is something they really look forward to. Attendees get free food, social time with coworkers, participate in some fun games or activities, take advantage of networking opportunities, and arguably the most sought after perk, copious amounts of free booze. 

I think you know where we’re going with this. Let us paint a picture that unfortunately is all too possible and maybe even touches a little too close to home.

Accidents can happen, even with the best of intentions

You’ve spent weeks, maybe even months, planning a holiday party, and all of your employees are pumped for it. It’s the final hurrah before your company takes a break for the holidays or many employees go on vacation. The party goes incredibly, everyone’s feeling great and it’s time to head out.

Cut scene.

It's the first thing in the morning and your phone is ringing nonstop. You frantically pick it up and put on your “professional” voice. It’s an emergency and your CEO is freaking out. Someone had a little too much to drink at the party last night and got into an accident. They’re in the hospital. They’ll live – but their quality of life is about to change significantly.

What happens next?  

Insurance – that thing that you buy but hope to never use

Tip: before you throw all caution to the wind and party the night away, check your business insurance policy before the day of the party to see if it includes liquor liability. If your policy doesn’t include this, we can help! Get in touch with one of our advisors. 

If you’ve found yourself in a similar, unfortunate situation and you’re looking for guidance, let’s connect. Depending on the extent of injuries your employee could face long term disability and require costly medical and rehabilitation support: physiotherapy, speech therapy, and mental health support to name a few. 

Your business could also face legal repercussions – your injured employee can choose to sue. If we can give some advice, consider a two-pronged approach:

  1. Take good care of your employees well before unfortunate incidents like this happen and make sure you have a strong benefits plan to support their medical needs should they need it. 
  2. Purchase a strong commercial liability policy to protect your business. It’s important to understand if your commercial liability policy has any exclusions relating to liquor liability when it comes to work events like holiday parties. If there are, and they’re not addressed, this could present a large financial exposure to the business. Luckily there are ways of filling these gaps to limit potential issues.

Pssst...Humi is licensed to offer both employee benefits plans and commercial insurance solutions. What does this mean for you? Well, we’re uniquely positioned to support businesses in these unfortunate events by helping the claims process on both fronts.

How to get ahead of the situation

Throwing a holiday party rager with unlimited alcoholic drinks for the people you spend 40 hours a week with may sound like an incredible way to make your company the best place to work. 

It really isn’t. 

If you’re planning on serving alcohol, here are a few things you can implement to mitigate risk:

  • Limit the number of drink tickets each person can have
  • Always have a licensed, Smart Serve certified individual serving 
  • Avoid offering “shots” of liquor
  • Offer a safe means of getting home, such as by providing taxi chits or book hotel rooms
  • Remind employees that their behaviour at work functions must comply with the companies code of conduct

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