Melbourne Cup: Should you really be celebrating?

by HCA04 Nov 2013

Engrained into many workplaces, Melbourne Cup Day is seen as the beginning of the end-of-year season. While HR should be interested in making sure productivity doesn’t dip due to the Melbourne Cup, they should also consider the potential alienation of pushing the event.

Steve Shepherd, group director of recruitment and HR services specialists at Randstad, stated that while organisations should allow employees to enjoy the race, they cannot let productivity drop as a result.

“We all look forward to events like Melbourne Cup and the Christmas holidays, but business leaders need to maintain the energy and motivation of employees to ensure they remain engaged in these final weeks of the year. There are still eight weeks before the end of year, and businesses need to continue trading, often right through to 31 December, so high performance and productivity is required by all employees,” he stated.

Although the popularity of the Melbourne Cup is hard to ignore, HR should not forget that to some employees the event is offensive. Events to protest the races exist, such as The “Not The Cup” Celebrations, run on the same day as the Melbourne Cup.

Employees’ objections may vary – they may boil down to animal rights, an objection to gambling, drinking or a number of other reasons.

“Some employees, due to religious or family values or simply because they’re not interested, may not wish to participate in elements of Melbourne Cup day, particularly gambling and drinking alcohol. Employers need to ensure they provide options for staff who may not wish to participate in race day celebrations – the choice of those who do not wish to be involved must be respected,” Joydeep Hor, managing principle of People and Culture Strategies, said.



  • by MM 4/11/2013 2:33:28 PM

    I'd rather "celebrate" the Melbourne Cup than Halloween, that's for sure!

  • by Bernie Althofer 4/11/2013 3:01:57 PM

    There are many and varied reasons why people become involved in 'celebrating' the Melbourne Cup, and for some it is seen as 'un-Australian'.

    That said, there needs to be awareness as highlighted above, that not all people in a workplace 'accept' a need to be involved. As some have indicated in the past, they have felt bullied into participating, and have felt guilty about not working when there has been a backlog.

    Issues such as this can polarise workplaces and managers need to understand the complexity of issues involved. Being treated as an outcast when one does not support these types of events is difficult.

    I suspect that what some people find difficult to accept is when people take some time away from their workplace to participate in the celebrations and this absence is not reflected in time sheets etc.

  • by kevin 4/11/2013 3:11:10 PM

    Simply those that participate need to tollerate those that don't and vice versa. I suggest that both groups should self manage themselves to avoid being convinced to join the other.

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