The 5 Ws of Your Company’s Holiday Party

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5 Ws of your Company's Holiday Party

Every fall ERC surveys Northeast Ohio organizations about a critical part of their workplace practices—their holiday party. Without fail this topic is hugely popular, typically garnering one the largest pools of responses we receive all year. Whatever the reason may be (Really excited for the holidays? Looking for new creative ideas to implement this year? Tired of being surveyed about more serious issues like comp and benefits and ready for something lighter?) 2015 was no exception. So with the Thanksgiving holiday already in the books and the 24/7 Christmas music radio station playing over your office’s PA system, let’s take a look at what company holiday parties are looking like here in Northeast Ohio this holiday season.
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12 Tested Ways to Manage Time-Off Requests around the Holidays

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12 Tested Ways to Manage Time-Off Requests around the Holidays

For most HR practitioners, trying to coordinate a pile of time-off requests for the upcoming holiday season is hardly your favorite part of the job. No one really wants to be the one to tell employees that their request to spend time with their families during the holidays is being rejected, but depending on a whole slew of factors—industry, company size, production schedules, client demands, staffing levels, or even job specific duties—sometimes the reality is, the work has to get done.
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Will Employees be Grateful for Time Off this Thanksgiving?

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According to the results of ERC’s 2015 annual Paid Holiday Survey, in addition to the Thanksgiving Day Holiday, most Northeast Ohio employers are providing a paid-full-day-off the day after Thanksgiving (Friday, November 27). A handful are also providing a full or half-day the day before.

Thanksgiving Infographic


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Hot Holiday Gifts & Employee Rewards in 2014

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The 2014 ERC Holiday Practices Survey found that 57% of Northeast Ohio employers plan to distribute gifts to their employees in the 2014 holiday season.

For the past several years, this figure has remained largely stagnant, as has the top gift of the season - gift cards. Employers choose gift cards for many of the same reasons as individuals might, including that employers can easily purchase and distribute large quantities of these gifts no matter how large or small their organization.

In some cases employers also noted that they were able to purchase these gift cards using reward points from corporate credit cards, making them a virtually cost-free gift giving option.
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Time-Off Roundup: Holidays, Unlimited Vacation and More

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Vacation policy: it may be one of the most important components of the compensation package to some people. Offering time-off options to employees is pretty varied, including holidays, vacations, sick leave, personal leave, and bereavement leave. These types of benefits are quite valuable to employees when analyzing the benefits package at a potential new job.

But as more information piles up that employees work better when they have more time to recharge and be away from work, why do so many businesses still cling to outdated vacation and holiday policies? Well companies like Netflix and Virgin Mobile are hearing employee’s needs loud and clear, and are coming up with different ways to meet those needs.

Let’s take a look at what companies are doing when it comes to unlimited time-off and holiday time-off.
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July 4th and other Paid Holiday Trends

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With July 4th nearly upon us, it is interesting to note that 4% of the 164 participating Northeast Ohio organizations in the 2014 Holiday Survey will be extending the already long-weekend by granting their employees additional paid holiday time-off, i.e., either a full or half day off on Thursday, July 3rd.

Other summer time-off that is approaching at a small proportion of local manufacturing organizations is a summer shut-down. Of the 74 manufacturing companies that participated, only 5 reported closing their doors for an (unpaid) summer shut-down. Although summer shut-downs are on the decline in recent years, those that do take place tend to fall during the first 1-2 weeks of July.
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7 Creative Ideas for Your Staff Holiday Party

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The holiday season is here again which means it's time to plan your company holiday party.

Holiday parties are a great way to recognize and celebrate your staff's success and accomplishments, nurture coworker relationships, and cap the year off at the end of the year. But, over time, holiday parties can sometimes feel more like an obligation than anything else, so it's important to keep them fresh, entertaining, and enjoyable.

Here are seven (7) creative ideas for your company holiday party.
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Tis the Season for 5 Holiday HR Issues

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Tis the season for several HR and compliance issues associated with the holidays. Here are five (5) holiday HR issues that you should revisit as the holidays ensue.

1. Holiday decorations

Holiday decorations tend to make their way into the workplace and employees' workspaces this time of year. What an employer allows in terms of decorations in the workplace is up them, but they should not discriminate and should be consistent and reasonable with their policies. 

Organizations need to be particularly careful with religious decorations, however. Refusal to accommodate an employee who wants to display a religious holiday symbol or decoration to commemorate a holiday should be considered very carefully as these can be minor religious accommodations that are protected under law and generally acceptable.

Additionally, according to the EEOC, holiday decorations should not be avoided just because someone objects to them, but organizations should ensure that all holiday decoration displays are reasonable and non-disruptive.
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Popularity of Holiday Parties on the Rise

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According to the 2013 annual ERC Holiday Practices Survey, there has been a steady increase in the number of employers who are planning to host holiday parties. In 2013, as the figure below illustrates, the percentage of employers planning holiday parties jumped to 83%, up by 10% over 2012.

Despite the jump in those planning parties, budgets will remain relatively flat. In addition, many employers are taking measures to reduce costs such as hosting weekday and lunch parties. Compared to 2012, there is also a slight decrease in the trend to invite family members as well.
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