St. Patrick’s Day, our beloved national holiday, is upon us once again. For some employers it’s a chance to have a little fun and engage with staff. For others it’s an excuse to throw on the garish green cords their wife bought last Christmas. For most it’s a lottery, wondering which employee will be the first to ring-in sick the next day.
Here are some of my top tips on how to embrace the day, what to avoid and measures you can take to limit absenteeism the day after.
- Go Green
- Host a Traditional Lunch
- Irish stew or Guinness Beef Stew – both are good
- Coddle – a type of sausage and bacon stew from Dublin
- Vegetable soup with a thick slice of brown bread and a knob of real butter
- Boxty – a bread made using potatoes and flour
- Colcannon – mashed spuds with kale and a heap of butter
- Freshen Things Up
- Curb the Patriotism
- Costumes Are Not Cool
- Everything in Moderation
A survey carried out in 2014 revealed that almost a third of employers in Ireland expected some of their staff to call in sick on 18th March, and almost all Irish employers feared productivity would be down that day thanks to ‘Irish-flu’. I imagine that those figures have changed little in the past two years.
Here are some tips to reduce deter staff from bunking off work:
- Plan the week ahead. Setting strict deadlines for tasks to be completed.
- Remind those working on the 18th that you’ll need them on top form that day as you need to meet the deadlines set.
- Incentivise them by attaching rewards to the completion of certain goals. If they’re working towards something other than ticking another box, then there’s a better chance they’ll not let the St. Patrick’s Day revelry affect them.
- Be flexible – If it is feasible, offer the option of flexi-time to your staff, where they can start and finish an hour later.
- Where a heavier stance needs to be made, refer back to your company’s staff handbook and issue a notice to employees outlining what is deemed acceptable behaviour and what is no, along with information on sick leave entitlements for uncertified illness. The idea of not getting paid might be the motivation they need to drag themselves out of bed on Thursday morning.
Wishing you a very happy St. Patrick’s Day!!
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David Bell is Managing Director of The HR Department, outsourced human resources specialists for Irish SMEs.