Holiday workplace celebrations are more than simple fun!

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Vince Little, Flickr

’Tis the season for holiday workplace celebrations, and it takes a little planning to make your celebration a success! Employees should not only enjoy themselves, but also see the party as a reward and recognition for their hard work.

Why Hold a Holiday Party?

In his blog, Richard Hart suggests employers sponsor holiday functions to bring people together and strengthen social bonds. Frequently their objectives, he writes, are to:

  • Create a fun, relaxing experience for employees
  • Make people feel good
  • Foster a sense of connection amongst colleagues
  • Celebrate the workforce’s accomplishments
  • Inspire a moment of shared meaning in the workplace community

A well thought-out party can be a lot of fun and help build relationships in your organization, tips include:

  1. Choose a week night, since venues are typically less expensive to rent than on weekends.
  2. Provide plenty of food, plenty of non-alcoholic beverages, and some form of entertainment.
  3. Ask senior staff members to help oversee the party to make sure everyone has a safe and fun evening.
  4. Keep company business short if you are planning any presentations.
  5. Give out raffle tickets for a few door prizes if your budget allows. The prizes don’t have to be expensive.

A Chicago Sun-Times article, “Party planning: 5 essential tips for a successful office party,” also advises:

  • Schedule either in early December or after the holidays are over – vacations and other events might limit attendance near holiday dates.
  • Confirm a budget with your accounting department before shopping for caterers and locations.
  • Choose a location that’s centrally located and convenient for everyone.

Etiquette expert Diane Gottsman (owner of the Protocol School of Texas) recommends making a point to circulate and talk with employees, especially those you don’t see regularly. If you’ve invited clients:

“Plan a few conversation topics that are lighthearted and engaging, such as asking a client about his or her favorite holiday tradition or where they plan to spend the holiday this year.

Also, remember to acknowledge the efforts of those who planned and put together the holiday workplace celebration.

Holiday Workplace Celebration Alternatives

If you’d like to try something a little different, consider these ideas from N. Nayab’s blog, “Alternatives to the Traditional Office Christmas Party”:

  • Host an outdoor activity, such as skiing at a nearby resort, ice skating, hiking in the woods—or if your climate permits—golf, a theme park outing, boating, or a water park visit.
  • Volunteer as a group, possibly serving meals or handing out gifts at a local homeless or drop-in center, spending time at a senior center or hospital, or organizing a food and clothing drive.
  • Host a fun class where employees learn a special craft such as traditional screen printing, candle making, or cake making.

As you can see, there are myriad ways to celebrate the holidays and a successful business year. Pick one you think employees will like, and make sure to thank them for their hard work and commitment.

Happy holidays!

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