Host a Stampede Party that Minimizes your Risk of a Follow-Up Investigation

Yee-Ha! Calgary is dressed up and ready to party our way through another Stampede Week. Whether you employ a team of 20 or 20,000 there are a few tips to ensure that everyone has a good time, gets home safely and will be able to show their face at work on Monday morning. Better for you business owners, hopefully you’ll minimize any chance of having to investigate poor conduct.

1. Make sure there is enough to eat

People often show up at a corporate Stampede event ready to drink and party with their friends and colleagues. Leaving work early to make sure that they are able to get in before a line can start the alcohol flowing early. This is a critical time to ensure that food is served. Many corporate functions don’t serve food until dinner, at which time employees have over-consumed alcohol both due to celebrating and hunger. Having some snacks available will help keep your employees from drinking their hunger as well as absorb some of the alcohol to slow the effects.

2. Maintain control of the alcohol

It’s important to control the type and amount of alcohol being served. This can be done a few ways. If your event is less formal, you can maintain some control by providing drink tickets. This informally tells everyone how many drinks the norm is. The allure of an open bar is often too much for people to pass up. By providing drink tickets, it’s an extra step needed in getting a drink, which often slows down the impulse ordering. You may also consider only serving beer and wine, which people drink more slowly than highballs and subsequently slows the rate of alcohol into the blood stream. Also, serving drinks such as mimosas during a Stampede breakfast can cut the amount of wine people are drinking in half.

3. Plan ahead for scenarios

Even with the best planning measures in place, you may encounter a situation where an exit strategy is required for either you or another employee. It’s much better to be prepared for situations you may encounter than to potentially embarrass someone who has had too much to drink or becomes too vocal. It’s important to consider that this may be the spouse of an employee as well as an employee. People tend to find courage in the more casual environment when drinks are flowing and may corner a senior leader leading to an uncomfortable exchange.

Make sure your team is looking out for each other and have a signal if an intervention would be helpful. A quick distraction can help to save face and further embarrassment back at the office. At the end of the day, you want your employees to have had fun and not feel embarrassed to return to the office the next day.
Of course, if you have a large event, make sure that there is security present. Alcohol and workplace tensions have come to a head at more than one corporate event. It’s much better for all involved to have this taken care of by professionals, if needed.

4. Plan for safe commutes

Make sure everyone has a safe way to get home after celebrating with friends and colleagues. Taxi vouchers are the most common way for companies to do this efficiently.

However, if you are on a tight budget there are other creative options. Some companies provide their own drivers to take employees home after. This could be your senior team who have abstained from drinking to provide employees a novel ‘taxi’ ride home. Others have employees who volunteer to do this.

Obviously, your team’s safety is of utmost concern and we want to make sure everyone makes it home safely after an event. But this is also critical for your company well-being, as you could be liable if you are providing alcohol and not providing a safe alternative to driving.

5. Be present

Make it understood that the leaders should be mingling and chatting with people throughout the night. This is a fun event after all and getting to know your employees and their families on a personal level should be a lot of fun. Keeping the conversation light and fun also helps to mitigate any of the before mentioned issues, as well as grows loyalty and commitment from your team. You will have a much more productive and cohesive team if people feel valued and seen as a person in the office. Your team will also take their cue from you. If you are drinking responsibly and keeping the evening light, they are more likely to respond in kind.

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We hope you find some of these tips useful and have a safe and happy Stampede party. Hopefully by planning ahead, you have mitigated many of the common work party issues and have no need for HR help in the morning. However, if you find yourselves in a different situation in the morning, we are always here to help you with next steps.

Contact us at to find out how we can assist you with workplace investigations and HR Solutions.