Summer is over, the kids are back in school, and the adults are back to the Monday – Friday grind. The holidays are approaching, and the company party has made a comeback thanks to a booming economy. Many employers are beginning to plan the annual holiday party for their staff, but they know that in years past the party transformed into an obligation as opposed to an opportunity to enjoy some off-the-clock time with coworkers.
Up until the mid 1990’s, the company holiday party was one of the favorite parts of the year for employees across America. Due to changes in the economy, and changes in corporate attitude, that gradually changed to the point that more companies were opting out of any holiday party. No one was really surprised at the decline, given that these parties were expensive, require a lot of planning, and the amount of available time on an employee schedule surrounding the holidays is anything but ample leaving you with more questions than answers regarding potential attendance. These days, holiday parties are once again something employees look forward to, and there is no shortage of reasons to host one.
Why Should I Host A Company Holiday Party?
- Employee Morale. Employees enjoy knowing that they are appreciated enough that the company is willing to invest some finances in a party for them. They enjoy knowing that the boss is willing to spend time with them when he doesn’t have to. This leads to more productivity at the desk. A happy employee, is a productive employee. This can be especially important for the morale of employees who live alone, or relocated to take a position with your company. They simply may not have the time, or ability to return home to spend the holidays with their families. Some companies use this as an opportunity to give Employee Awards as well.
- Gratitude. Throwing your employees a company holiday party conveys a sense of gratitude. It allows them to know that you are thankful for their hard work all year round. While a Christmas Bonus is always the sure-fire way to make them feel appreciated, most employees receive a greater sense of appreciation for the more personal way of saying thank you. A company holiday party will give your employees a sense of value.
- It allows the employees to get to know one another. During the hustle and bustle of the work week, your employees interact very regularly. But do they really know each other? Probably not. They are passing ships in the night, working side by side, but that does not allow them a chance to really connect on an inter-personal level. Countless studies have shown that a personal connection between employees and their coworkers, as well as between employees and their supervisors, gives motivation to perform better for each other, and to work as a team. One of the biggest benefits of social interaction outside of the work space, is improved performance within the work space.
You’ve Decided To Host A Company Holiday Party. Now What?
The decision to bring back the company holiday party is an easy one. But now that you have made the decision, what should you do next? Here is an easy checklist that is sure to help you reduce the time and work involved in planning your company holiday party:
- Choose A Date.
- Use a free service such as Survey Monkey to poll your employees for the best date for your party.
- Choose the date based on the most popularly chosen option in the survey.
- Send out a “Save The Date’ reminder. Email is fine, but you should follow up with a written memo.
- Budget It
- Determine the maximum budget
- Rank party elements by priority (entertainment, food, etc.)
- Allocate budget based on priority (25% for food, 40% for entertainment, etc.)
- Set aside some extra—just in case!
- Type of Party
- After-hours party
- At-work celebration
- Formal event
- Casual affair
- Themed party
- Activity included (Murder Mystery Dinner, Sporting Event, etc…)
- Packaged party (organized by venue or party planner)
Tip: Regardless of the type of party you choose, make sure you include everyone, and allow them to bring a guest.
- At your office
- At a home
- At a local venue (restaurant, banquet facility, Escape Room)
Tip: Consider the following: price, space, proximity to work, what is provided and what you will need to provide (furniture, staff, entertainment, equipment, cleanup service, etc.)
- How Will Everyone Get To And From The Party?
- Ride-share credit (Lyft, Uber, etc.)
- Rent a bus or Limo
- Create a sign-up sheet and let everyone know that they don’t need to drive!
- Venue-provided food
- Sit-down dinner with servers
- Floating appetizers (with wait staff or placed on a table?)
Tip: Be mindful of food allergies among your employees.
- Open bar
- Drink tickets
- Just beer and wine
- Holiday-themed cocktails
- High-energy beats for dancing
- Low-key tunes
- Professional DJ
- Live entertainment
- Raffles & Door Prizes
- Time and space for “thank you” speeches
- Holiday goody bags
Whichever options you choose to go with, be sure to make it a fun and festive atmosphere, and include some of the employees in the planning stages. Good luck with your party!