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.