Monday, December 11, 2017

It’s not #MeToo that’s killing your office holiday party; it’s your workplace culture

Last week, Fox News host Laura Ingraham asked if the #MeToo movement is ruining the office holiday party.

“Is the #MeToo movement becoming a spoiler for this season’s Christmas parties? … I can see this year it might a little less festive. No alcohol and no fun and no lampshades and no nothing, and, I don’t know, maybe that’s better. Is this just killing all the fun of Christmas?”

Let me put this as clearly and bluntly as possible. #MeToo isn’t killing any fun. The behavior that #MeToo addresses was never fun to begin with.

If you are worried about #MeToo ruining your office holiday party, #MeToo isn’t the problem. The problem is your workplace culture.

Your holiday party is a reflection of your year-round culture as an employer. If your company has a culture of condoning harassment, then, yes, #MeToo is going to seem like a buzzkill, as it should. 

You need to decide what kind of employer you want to be, and set the tone year-round. Then, when it comes time for your annual holiday party, you should not have to worry about changing rules so that employees don’t feel victimized at the party. And, if bad behavior happens, all of your employees will have confidence that you will respond to the offending behavior with the swiftness and severity it deserves.