HRSINGAPORE Community Discussions
Attending Company Event after Work
Dear HR Professionals,
Our company is arranging a company event from 5pm to 8pm. Official working time is till 5.30pm.
One of the HR personnel cum committee member wants to announce to all staff that attendance to the company event is compulsory & only employees who has approved Annual Leave do not need to attend the company event. It is anticipated that the activity is happening after working hours, many employees are not happy as it eats up personal time. Those who are not willing to attend will choose to apply annual leave. There are also some who will ask the committee to re-consider activity to happen during office hour.
I am trying to understand, in a HR’s perspective and best practice:
1. If it is employer’s right to justify that company event is compulsory after working hours
2. Are employees obligated to join this company event, considering point (1).
3. Are employees obligated to join the event considering point (1) and employees (majority) did not give consent to the “5pm to 8pm”?
4. Must all company events happen during office hours? Unless with employee’s consent
I would think that in order for it to be compulsory, it’s only fair that the company events/ activities be held during office hours. If you wish to hold it after office hours or on weekends, it would be better to get the consensus from the employees before you start to plan and book for your event. If majority are ok with it, then you may proceed to have it but leave those who do not wish to attend, out of it.
If you can only hold the event after office hours/ weekends and also mandatory, perhaps you may want to consider granting staff half day off-in-lieu to compensate for time loss. This will prevent any displeasure which might push employees to leave the company due to unreasonable HR regulations.
We do organise events after office hours and the committee will encourage staff to attend. However we will not state that attendance is compulsory and will not 'penalise' any staff for not attending. As company events do not often happen after office hrs, dept heads will explain to staff that as company has made an effort to organise an event, the company hopes that the staff will also participate to show support. So far we have had encouraging support from staff for events organised.
Time is money. I suggest to grant them time-off to prevent any grievances built up. Not everybody is management mindset or management pay scale.
My recommendation, subject to the exigencies of service, events taking place during office hours are made mandatory for staff to attend. Those on leave are excused. Events taking place after office hours or during the weekends can be categorised into mandatory or non-mandatory for staff to attend. For mandatory after office hours events, compensation such as OT or time-off can be awarded. Absenteeism must be justified, noted and approved by ROs and Management.
We have to value our staff personal time and at the same time organise events that boost staff engagement. Sometimes these events need to take place after office hours to minimize disruption in the operations. As such, HR could invest in time to explain to staff the purpose behind these events and the many benefits that it can bring to the organisation, which in turn is beneficial to them.