The office Christmas party; potentially HR’s worst nightmare, well may be…


The office Christmas party, it’s the event of the year for most employees but for HR it can be a stressful with a hint of “what the blooming heck is going to happen this year” dreaded anticipation. I’ve even overheard another HR professional refer to it as if to get through it were similar to surviving the apocalypse!

Don’t get me wrong, we’re not Scrooge’s; in fact HR work hard but my goodness don’t we know how to play hard! We just party in a different way to other employees.

The reasons for this are simple, we may be at the party but have to remain professional. All employees should do this however we don’t live in a perfect world, we’d love nothing more than to join in with our colleagues but then we could be placed in a comprisable situation that HR would really struggle to recover from which can have lasting effects on a career in the profession.

Of course this is not the apocalypse nor is it the perfect world and indeed I’m talking worst case scenario here so the purpose of this post is to point out some simple tips on how to survive the office shindig in the most professional way possible.


  1. Set clear boundaries and expectations of behaviour; we are all adults and most should know better but the business can still be liable for the actions taken by overzealous employees when an event is held off site. Highlight the company “events at work” policy would be a better approach than to get employees to sign a liability waiver, because let’s be honest there’s nothing better to get the party started then signing a waiver is there?! (sigh)
  2. Include everyone; no one should be left out and remember not everyone celebrates Christmas, I remember going to a Christmas party in the middle of the year so that all faiths were catered for, imagine a mix of Bhangra and East 17’s Stay Another Day, it was one of those things you needed to be there to appreciate it but I assure you it was one of the best I’ve ever been to!
  3. Lead by example; whilst a joke on the boss can be funny at first, the reputational consequences can be long lasting. Ask your team leaders and managers to be hosts at the evening and remind them of their obligations, whilst this may seem harsh, safety in numbers is never a bad call!
  4. Consider the day the event is held on; if the party is held on a school night then may be consider a later start if possible, may be as an early Christmas present but be clear that they are expected to attend work at a set time and that normal absence procedures will apply and for those feeling a bit worse for wear, may be suggest taking a day’s holiday to sleep the dancing feet off
  5. Make sure everyone gets home safely; make sure that taxis are pre-booked and if at a hotel venue, advise on room bookings in advance of the event

I hope you all have a fantastic start to your party season and don’t forget to make the office party memorable for all the right reasons!


#HRActsofKindness Be Excellent to Each Other!

Throughout #HRActsofKindness I have spoken to so many people about how they view kindness – watch this space David Ulrich, I may write my own model on this one day!

Gary Cookson was part of the Blog Squad this year at the CIPD ACE event, when he wrote this for me I couldn’t stop smiling so thank you Gary for your excellent take on kindness:

Bill and Ted famously said “Be Excellent To Each Other”.  Maybe they were onto something but used the wrong adjective. They should have said “Be Kind To Each Other”. After all, who wants to go to a workplace where people are cruel to each other?  We spend 35-40 hours a week at work and that’s a big proportion of your entire week to spend NOT being kind.  If you treat others the way you’d like to be treated yourself, then you will indeed be kind to everyone. In HR we have a duty to encourage this behaviour amongst all employees and to lead by example.  My eldest daughter, when she was 3, asked what I did at work. Its hard to explain HR to an adult let alone a 3 year old child, so I settled on “Daddy’s job is to make people happy at work” and to be honest, as a definition of HR, I’ve not been able to better it since. If I can make people happy by being kind to them, or showing them how to be kind to others, then I’m all for it.”

If you’re not saying “Excellent!” in Ted’s voice already, you need to watch the film again 🙂

The man behind the ACE art is Simon Heath, back in September he wrote a fantastic post about kindness in the workplace and if you’re a #HRActsofKindness fan, this blog post is certainly something you need to read. Simon mentions that kindness can transcend work, age, ethnicity, gender, geography and politics. It can cost nothing and simultaneously hold immeasurable value. It needs no permission, business case, training or instruction to implement. It tends to be highly infectious. We’re all carriers. Give it to someone else. Check out his fantastic post here:

Amelia Tickle was also part of this years Blog Squad and her take on kindness is:

Kindness costs nothing, if that is in the workplace or out in public. Everyone can give kindness weather it is holding an door open for someone or writing a thank you card. The definition of kindness is “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate” that can transpire at work or in the community. Kindness is all around us, we receive it from birth, then all the way through our life’s. kindness carries a great value and has a ripple affect between person to person, we are all guilty of getting a high from receiving kindness. No matter where you are in the world, kindness can be translated. The power of that is priceless.”






#HRActsofKindness Kind words from the CIPD Northamptonshire Branch

As many of you know, I work voluntarily as part of the Northamptonshire CIPD committee and when I attend meetings with them, there is a real team spirit and I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to work with them.

I spoke to Gill Amos about what she thought about the #HRActsofKindness initiative and I’m so pleased that I have got to know her this year. She has been a pleasure to work alongside and I can’t wait to work with her again in the new year! Here’s what she had to say on all things kindness:

“I think it is consideration for others and their needs.  It starts with the small things – good manners.  It is about genuine acts of thoughtfulness when people know that there are difficult things happening elsewhere.  Thinking about how you can help rather than being out for yourself.”

Paul Beesley is also on the committee and he has been incredibly supportive of me this year by supporting my development so thank you Paul for being there for me in 2016, I hope we get more opportunity to work together in 2017.

Paul’s company; Beyond Theory has a simple but highly effective mantra, where kindness is pretty much built in as standard; “Look after your people and they’ll take care of your business.”

Kindness is simple and something we can all do, it should be part of our daily working lives. Can you imagine the possibilities if people work together and we’re kinder to each other?

Don’t get me wrong, we cannot get along with everyone that we work with but we can certainly share ideas, be more innovative and demonstrate respect throughout our professional lives. Being kind doesn’t mean it’s boring either, it’s easy to make someone’s day just that little bit brighter, the important thing is not to take our days for granted and not to focus on the negatives, we simply learn from them.



#HRActsofKindness the final countdown!


Hello everyone, I hope you’re all well and enjoying the HR Acts of Kindness challenges list.

I need help from all of you as I want to do something fantastically brilliant to say a special thank you to everyone who has participated in the challenge. I would love to have a picture of you and your teams holding up a piece of paper with the #HRActsofKindness on it!

Once you have taken your smashing photographs, please send them through to me at: and the surprise will be released on 19th December!



#HRActsofKindness The chap with the monster feet!


Whilst I was at CIPD ACE 16, I met a young man on the MOL stand, little did I know that he had been following my blog and he bounced over to me wearing huge monster shaped slippers and introduced himself (this is a true story!). David told me that he felt inspired and really liked watching people get involved with #HRActsofKindness so he gave me some insight as to why he wanted to get involved this time around.

“I loved the idea of what you did last time however due to not really knowing the bloggers and HR individuals on Twitter I didn’t get involved myself. I regretted it after so when the opportunity came around to get involved now I threw myself at the opportunity. I feel there is so much going on and changing in the world we forget to stop and take appreciation of small things that happen such as a colleague making you a brew or a birthday taking place and I feel #HRActsofKIndness is a great way for people to do selfless acts of appreciation and generosity and like the film I seen as a child ‘Pay it forward’ I started it here in the MOL Learn office and now others are getting involved too and just discussing the things we do and the positive attitude I feel heightens within the workplace.”

David is a highly motivated person, who really wants to get involved and make a difference and he’s been up to all sorts, spreading kindness and motivating others which is why David is one of my first Kindness Champions. He’s also determined to step into a HR for a career so keep an eye out for him as whatever steps he takes, he’s certainly one to watch!