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to take staff out for dinner?

(72 Posts)
DillyDingDillyDong Thu 30-Jun-16 17:22:33

I started a new job as a nursery manager three months ago. The old manager, let's call her Ann. had been promoted to area manager but the plan was for her to stay as manager for my first month whilst I found my feet before starting the new role but being based in an office on the top floor of our building. First week went well until the Ann was involved in a car accident and wasn't able to work.

The last three months have been really hard, we've had quite a few issues as well as an ofsted inspection (which thankfully went very well!) and the team have been amazing. The deputy manager and room supervisors stepped up to support me and show me the ropes and we've all developed great relationships with each other. They've all worked so hard and I am so grateful for what they've done. From what they've said my managing style is completely different to what they've been used to and they seem to be enjoying coming to work and the general feel around the building is a lot more positive.

As a thank you, I took the staff out for tea and a few drinks in a pub on Friday evening. Nothing rowdy or anything and it wasn't in a place local to nursery. We had an enjoyable evening and some stayed longer or went on to other places after I left about half ten.

Ann came back today and just in conversation I mentioned that we'd gone out on Friday. She said nothing at the time. This afternoon a member of HR team from head office called in to see Ann and I got a call asking for me to come up and see them. I was told by Ann that my socialising with the staff outside of work is inappropriate I itself but to actively arrange and pay for an evening is unprofessional and a cause for concern. I explained that it was a thank you and asked her to show me a policy relating to this that forbids managers from doing this and she said she couldn't but hoped that I would have used common sense to decide if I should or shouldn't do this. She said that she wouldn't give me a warning at this time but in future I need to be aware of what is expected of me on my position and that she will consider disciplinary action if this happens again. The person from HR was taking notes the whole time and I was told I would get a copy. I was so shocked and confused that I didn't really have much to say back to her at the time!

So was I being unreasonable to treat my team to a pub tea and a few wines considering there is no kind of policy or rule stating that I can't?

Euripidesralph Thu 30-Jun-16 17:29:50

In itself I think it's fine I've taken staff teams out before and it's never been a problem

I often used to take different manager groups out for lunch and staff teams ...couldn't take the whole lot as there were fifty odd but still

I'm a bit surprised at the inclusion of alcohol and I wouldn't have bought that however in fairness I was a manager for a drug and alcohol service so would have been wholly inappropriate

I'd see where it goes but if it goes further I'd challenge it and explain it was team building

WellThatWentWell Thu 30-Jun-16 17:53:32

I don't think there is anything wrong in what you did and they know it
It's nice to show your appreciation tbh

Queenbean Thu 30-Jun-16 17:55:42

What the actual fuck. That is totally crazy!!

Of course it's ok, it's a really lovely thing to do and only brings the team together

JessicaRabbit3 Thu 30-Jun-16 17:58:46

Wow she sounds awful we had a support manager who was great and took all the heads of departments out for Christmas dinner to say thank you. It was in your own time not works so I don't see the issue. If someone has a celebration e.g wedding are you forbbien to attend that?

littleblackno Thu 30-Jun-16 18:01:21

You can be my manager, you sound lovely. My kids nursery all the staff used to socialise together- managers included and lots of alcohol involved. I know because I used to join them!
I wouldn't have thought anyone can take action against you if there is no policy against it. Is Ann jealous?

TheCricketWidow Thu 30-Jun-16 18:02:08

Sounds like ann is jealous of the relationships you have built with the staff! I used to work in safeguarding children and we were advised not to socialise ( ie get drunk and act inappropriately) within the area that we covered, to mimimise the risk of being seen by service users and portraying the local authority in a bad light but there was no official policy re this.

BackforGood Thu 30-Jun-16 18:06:14

Nothing wrong with what you did, and seems a ridiculously heavy handed approach to asking you about it.
However, as a manager, you will over time have to deal with disciplinaries, reprimands, etc., and it is right that you have a different relationship with the staff because of this. I think a gentle explanation of that to you, and guidance for you to keep 'a line' would have been the way to talk to you though, not involving HR. That's ridiculous.

Orda1 Thu 30-Jun-16 18:08:41

Ann is jealous.

You sound great.

JoJoSM2 Thu 30-Jun-16 18:14:13

'Ann'is a psycho. Or perhaps she's from a non-drinking culture and doesn't understand that you did a lovely thing? Anyway, the problem is completely with her. Make sure you get a copy of the notes from HR + I'd seek advice from a union or citizens advice. You are new in the post and need to draw a line to make sure Ann doesn't carry on threatening and bullying you.

EveOnline2016 Thu 30-Jun-16 18:21:40

Taking the team out as a thank you is lovely.

My only concern is will the team expect this again in future.

rainytea Thu 30-Jun-16 18:24:53

I think it was lovely, can't see anything negative.

I'm wondering why HR was there though and taking notes. Does HR regularly take notes like that? Especially if it wasn't an official warning? Either there's some policy you've contravened and HR should provide it to you, or you should challenge HR about what the hell's going on.

And some line needs to be drawn with Ann. I guess it's obvious why the team morale wasn't high when you took over...

insancerre Thu 30-Jun-16 18:25:02

I am a nursery manager and our area manager often takes us all out for a meal with wine
I also take my team out and she letts me use some of our nursery budget for it
Even our company directors treat us all to a slap up meal twice a year,
I find your company very odd
I've worked in lots of nurseries and been taken out by the manager and directors in all of them

PotteringAlong Thu 30-Jun-16 18:27:15

Ann is a knobber.

Windsofwinter Thu 30-Jun-16 18:28:03

It sounds like she's heard about the improvements/happier atmosphere in her absence and has decided to bring you down a peg or two.

OneEpisode Thu 30-Jun-16 18:31:12

Most employers would allow managers to do something like this, but at most places you need approval in advance to spend the company's money. Is that the issue?
Some managers have a budget, and discretion how it's spent, but I'd expect a new manager to have to check first?

KC225 Thu 30-Jun-16 18:31:57

I have often been taken out to dinner/lunch at the end of busy periods. Usually, it's a 'company' expenses thing rather than a manager paying. I cannot see how boosting staff morale and acknowledging their effort can be put on report. It's nuts.

Ann is jealous and you are and will make a great manager, don't second guess yourself.

user1466610292 Thu 30-Jun-16 18:36:20

Regularly socialise with my boss, and at old job boss used to take us out all the time as a thank you. I'd complain about her.

Pico2 Thu 30-Jun-16 18:37:38

That's a weird response. Could you clarify with Ann's line manager?

As a parent with a child in nursery I'd be worried if the manager didn't get on well with the staff and wasn't able to express their thanks to the staff in this way.

Unless you spent the company's money then it's fine. Ann is jealous of you and will now be looking to get you out. I'd be very careful and think about whether you might want to move on before she tries to push you.

insancerre Thu 30-Jun-16 18:42:30

You do need to watch your back now as Ann clearly has it in for you
Next time, invite her too smile

redexpat Thu 30-Jun-16 18:42:34

I would contact hour union or acas for advice. Just to be on the safe side. And yes get the notes from hr. I think you need to work out wtf just happened proceedurally. I think she is jealous, wanted to piss on your chips, and got hr in to make it seem somehow more official and scary, to put you in your place.

If theres no written policy I dont see what youve been warned about?

redexpat Thu 30-Jun-16 18:43:23

Oh I love the idea of clarifying with Anns manager!

Ann is jealous. And sounds like a loser.

happypoobum Thu 30-Jun-16 18:51:11

I agree Ann is the problem here. I appreciate she had a car accident but it's very convenient she was still off when OFSTED visited. She is probably jealous and maybe wanted you to fail. If she has been off for three months and the sky hasn't fallen in, she doesn't really have much of a role does she?

Clarify with her boss and watch your back.

mylovegoesdown Thu 30-Jun-16 18:51:57

Where I work (NHS trust) his would be considered inappropriate and a potential cause for concern. There are also policies in place around 'social/personal relationships between managers and their team' which should be declared to senior management (not saying they always are though!).

I think it's silly most likely the time but there are employers where this could be a HR issue.

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