Your HR Questions Answered

We aim to give our readers and followers the best advice when it comes to managing people effectively. Every month you can read a digest of some HR questions that might be relevant for you.

Q: What should I do for the Festive season to show staff we appreciate them and extend best wishes to their family too?

A: It’s a good idea to get ready for the Festive Season and here are a few ideas of things you can do to show your employees that you value them.

With only 6 weeks to go, Christmas is truly upon us and so many of our client companies are already in planning mode to make this special time of the year a memorable one for staff and their families. Here are a few things that companies can organise to express their appreciation and gratitude for all the hard work and commitment during the year:

  • Decorate the Workplace – add some Christmas cheer to the workplace with decorations, a Christmas Tree and some festive treats.  It will put a smile on everyone’s face in the morning and lighten spirits even if it is dark outside.
  • Organise a Family Christmas event – whether it is an office Santa Experience, family tickets to the Christmas Panto, or tickets for Ice Skating, one of the many musical Christmas shows in the local theatres – it’s a great way for employees to share in the Christmas cheer with their loved ones.
  • Nominate a Company Christmas Charity and instead of sending Christmas cards and gifts, send a donation to your chosen charity or charities, and circulate some information on that charity to your staff and customers so that they too can appreciate the difference your donation can make to a worthy cause.
  • Organise the Office Kris Kindle – put a maximum monetary value to the gift or a theme for this year, and pick out staff names, so that no one knows who’s left their Secret Santa gift under the Christmas tree this year. Handing out the Christmas gifts can be a great end of work event.
  • Corporate gifts are often sent to the sales or marketing departments. A great way to share this out across the company, is to give a gift to each employee, pull a ticket from a hat and pick your gift, or you could use it as a fund raiser for charity or the sports and social club too. That way everyone gets to share in the corporate Christmas cheer.
  • Employer tax free Non-Cash Gifts. Changes made a few years ago now provide for employers to give employees up to €500 tax free as a non-cash gift in any one year. There are many voucher options and other types of gifts that can be considered by companies as a gesture to say Thank You and Happy Christmas.
  • Lunch and Dinner events: It can be a really good bonding treat for department managers to organise a department lunch out with perhaps an early finish to recognise the season of good will and say thank you for your support and hard work during the year. The Company nights out are of course welcomed social events on the annual calendar and it’s a great opportunity for a positive message from the leadership team – communicating a message of appreciation and sharing the vision for the future ahead.
  • Card or email: and of course, don’t forget the traditional and simple Christmas Card on the desk from you to each member of your team, with a personalised message, this can be a really powerful communication from any manager.

Whatever it is you are considering to mark the Christmas Season in your company, always make sure you are fair and consistent with your actions and you’re recognising and rewarding the right behaviours.

Q: What do I do if I hear rumours that an employee is claiming harassment from another employee but they haven’t made any formal complaint?

A: The area of harassment and bullying in the workplace is certainly very topical at the moment and we expect to hear more on this over the coming months.

There is a very clear code of practice that employers are expected to follow when an issue of harassment or bullying arises in the workplace and employers are certainly encouraged to be proactive. Ensure you open up dialogue with the employee(s) in question and at the same time, ensure fairness and equal treatment for all concerned, remembering of course that everyone is entitled to fair procedure and due process and the status of innocence until proven otherwise.

In these cases, the good name and reputation of the employee or ex-employee need to be taken into account. Therefore, following the code of practice is very important.

We have a team of trained and skilled investigators and consultants who have extensive experience in this area and would be happy to discuss any issue of concern with you. Just email us on or call Ingrid on 01 5252914.