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November 30, 2009

Avoiding the Holiday Party Hangover

The company holiday party is an opportunity for the company to recognise, celebrate and reward employees' hard work over the past year. Employers, however, face challenges in planning and managing such events. Many of the problems arise from over-drinking. Over-drinking may lead to accidents from falling or driving home, inappropriate sexual conduct, and fights between colleagues. Not only are such incidents unpleasant but they may leave the employer with financial liability for the loss or damage caused by them: a nasty "hangover".

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The Social Networking Conundrum: A Human Resource Perspective

By Katherine Read, The Fifth Option Consulting Inc.

At one time, some people predicted that Social Networking sites (like Facebook, Twitter and Linked In) would just be a fad. Now, it is estimated that 13 million Canadians engage in social networking online. In addition, an N-Gen People Performance 2009 Survey revealed that 66% of employed Canadians visit social networking sites while at their place of work. Despite this, an August 2009 study by U.S. research firm, NFI Research showed that 88% of senior executives and managers have a neutral or low level of confidence that their organization had an effective plan for using social networking for business.

From a strategic HR perspective, social networking offers businesses solid benefits coupled by some very real concerns. How do you decide what your organization's stance on Social Networking sites should be?

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Social Networking - Policies

Many employers have restricted employee access to social networking sites (i.e. Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, blogs and Twitter) primarily due to fears that employees will access such sites during work hours, with the associated loss of productivity. There are advantages to allowing your employees to access social networking sites from work (see the article "The Social Networking Conundrum: A Human Resource Perspective," in this issue). To the extent that social networking has become an important communications medium, employers are increasingly relaxing those rules and permitting their employees to access these sites during the day. If employers are considering permitting access to social networking sites, consideration should be given to implementing a social networking policy or updating their computer use policies to address basic issues such as privacy, confidentiality and other legal issues.

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