It's That Time of Year Again: Time to Plan Your Office Holiday Party
Every office is different, every budget is different, and every company's culture is different. But, there's one thing that stays the same:
The holiday party is an incredible opportunity to foster employee happiness, show appreciation, and start the new year with a renewed sense of dedication & productivity. Here's how.
What's The Purpose?
Why are you thinking about planning a party in the first place? Is it because it's tradition? Is it because you know people will be upset if you don't have one?
Or, is it your way of showing your employees how much they mean to you?
Done correctly, a holiday party can be so much more than just a "because we have to" drain on your resources. I know it can take a lot of money to book a venue, plan the dinner, find entertainment (that's not going to make you look bad), etc, but the holiday party can be one of the most important nights of a company's year.
What Are You Doing?
Depending on the size of your company, certain plans are going to be more feasible than others. Smaller companies can afford to take everyone out for a fancy dinner and a show afterward, but as the company gets bigger, that becomes more and more difficult.
No matter what you plan on doing, here's what it must accomplish:
- Show genuine appreciation for your employees and all their hard work. They're spending their lives with your company, let them know how much that means to you & the company.
- Help connect the employees to the company in a fun, engaging, heartfelt, memorable, & meaningful way without being cheesy.
- Show gratitude & appreciation for the spouses of your employees. Think about it; they can either be support or undermine your employee's dedication based on how much time you're asking of your employees.
- Get different departments talking. It's easy for sales to promise the world, and hand impossible projects off to operations to figure out. This can breed resentment and foster a lack of shared mission. If different groups aren't talking to each other within 10 minutes at the party, it's likely they're not going to talk at all.
- Have everyone talking about how amazing the party was, and how they're looking forward to next year.
What Not to Do.
Here are some things to avoid when planning your event that I've seen first-hand, or heard from clients' previous parties. Please learn from their mistakes.
- Do not let Carl from accounting MC the event. Sure he's a ham in the office, and says he would do a great job of speaking on behalf of your company, but that doesn't mean he's a fantastic public speaker. You'll see all too soon as people's eyes start glazing over as Carl rambles on without getting to any discernible point. He's there because he likes attention; not because he's focused on connecting your people with each other.
- Do not hire cheap. Sure, the budget is what the budget is, but hiring cheap will cost you more in the long run than you're saving in the short term. A client once hired the cheapest entertainer she could find, and what happened next nearly lost her her job. He insulted the CEO, seemed unprepared, and was in short a nightmare. It wound up being an unforgettable party, but for all the wrong reasons. So, when you think about allocating your budget, forego the extra piece of cake that will be gone in 3 minutes, and spend a little extra on entertainment to make sure whoever you hire is dependable, reliable, professional, and squeaky clean.
- Don't wait too long. The best entertainers are booked up months in advance. If you wait until the last minute, you're only going to find people who are available for a reason. Your event, company, and job can't afford that gamble. Start early to get the best results.
Don't let one of the most important opportunities to connect with your employees slip through your fingers. Plan an event that highlights the accomplishments of your employees, and shows them genuine appreciation.