Stricter policy needed to keep corporates in check

Strict policy is the only way to address the overindulgence of alcohol at corporate events.

According to Helen Brewer of the Mice Academy, the abuse of alcohol is fast becoming a cause for concern, with several incidents during November and December indicating that more policy is required.

“Information from several sources indicates that there are more and more incidents occurring involving alcohol,” she told TAM. “It is a serious issue that has to be addressed.”

The overindulgence is predominantly seen at year-end parties, but not exclusively, Helen adds. “Award ceremonies, team buildings and other events are increasingly being affected by incidents where alcohol has been abused,” she says.

Citing examples such as triple tots being ordered with several rounds at one time, to employees being found with bottles of alcohol in their vehicle boot, Brewer argues that it is clear that a policy guiding corporate behaviour at events is necessary.

“It is the only way to keep employees in check and to solve this growing problem. Corporate companies need to have very clear policy guiding the behaviour of their employees,” she says.

At the same time, planners need to be cognisant of the issue, says Brewer. “It is important that planners have clarity as to how alcohol is being dispensed and how much. There have to be service level agreements in place,” she says.

And bar staff cannot be responsible for limiting how much alcohol is consumed by corporate employees, Brewer adds.

“The fact is that the bar service is driving up a tab. It is not the bar service’s responsibility to ensure that staff do not imbibe and then act irresponsibly. The higher the bill, the better for them. Therefore it is up to the planner and the corporate to lay down very strict rules and regulations to guide not only the serving of alcohol but also the behaviour of employees.”

Aggressive behaviour and other unsavoury situations following incidents involving alcohol at events have led to legal action in at least three cases that the Mice Academy is aware of, says Brewer.

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