The recent headlines about employees feeling pressurised to drink at Pernod Ricard is a timely reminder about the expectations we may be creating during the festive season.
Many organisations will want to reward employees with a Christmas event and there will be client entertainment to participate in too.
But no one should feel pressured to equate Christmas parties or client lunches with alcohol.
Where this happens, it is often symptomatic of wider cultural issues around pressure to “fit in” and to be accepted as part of a clique that “plays hard.” You don’t need to look much further than the Lloyds of London culture to see that drinking is often associated with old boys’ networks and behaviour that should have been left behind in the 80’s.
No organisation can claim to be inclusive in any sense, if there are these cliques being formed, excluding anyone who doesn’t fit the mould.
There are a number of pieces of recent research which suggest the new generation coming into the workplace are far less likely to drink. They are far more concerned about the values of the organisation and how these are demonstrated.
Organisations need to work harder to join the dots…. You simply can’t have a set of values that proclaim “respect” and “teamwork” if you are putting pressure on people to fit in in a certain way.
People should be valued for who they are and the work they do – not made to feel excluded because their choice of drink is an orange juice rather than a pint.
What are your managers doing to set the right expectations and tone for their teams this December and beyond?
For more information on how we can help organisations create truly inclusive workplaces and manage inappropriate behaviour please email or contact us on 01903 732 782.
Stella Chandler and I founded Focal Point on a shared belief that a training course run in isolation doesn't work. We passionately believe there must be support both before and after the training or coaching session itself for it to make a difference. When I am not facilitating sessions with clients or looking at ways to grow the Focal Point business, you will find me in a calming yoga class...