Ahh, it’s that time of year already...the office holiday party. You’ve probably been to your fair share, and needless to say, they are not always the most thrilling events. At best, they can be a fun and memorable event that foster team bonding. At worst, they can damage company morale and lead to some awkward conversations and even terminations. Here’s how to go about planning your office party so that everyone has a wonderful experience.
1. Think Outside the (Nicely Wrapped) Box
You don’t need to throw a huge, elaborate, expensive party in order to please your employees. After all, your budget is likely drained around this time of year. Something as cozy as a staff party during office hours could be enjoyable if planned right.
Steve Pritchard, who is an HR Consultant at road marking company Anglo Liners, said you could hold your holiday party at a restaurant where there is a fixed price per hour, or place a limit on the tab at the bar where you’re holding your party.
HR Consultant Arquella Hargrove recommended activities like doing a holiday brunch and giving out one mimosa per employee, hosting painting with a twist, having an amazing race that’s customized for the team or doing a white elephant gift exchange. “If the budget is McDonald's, don't try to do a steakhouse,” she said.
2. Set a Good Example
If you want your colleagues to be on their best behavior during the holiday party, you have to be on yours as well, according to Pritchard. Don’t go wild, or else employees will think it’s OK for them to get crazy, too. “This doesn’t mean you have to be a party pooper,” said Pritchard. “You can enjoy a few responsible drinks and still create a fun, sociable atmosphere. Keep the celebrations loose but sensible and everyone else will follow, as they won’t want to be seen acting more careless than those in charge.”
3. Take Action When Necessary
Before a party, it’s always best to remind employees, in writing, that they are expected to act professional. Still, accidents happen. Hargrove said she had to advise a client on an HR matter involving a director and her behavior at the annual holiday party. The director was intoxicated and started giving lap dances to the male executives, and then passed out. The result? She was terminated from the company.
A written policy, along with a sensible plan – like only giving employees two drink tickets – could help you avoid an HR disaster that’ll dampen the holiday spirit.
4. Find a Good Form of Entertainment
You and your colleagues see each other five days a week, at least eight hours a day, which means you may have run out of things to talk about. While there should be an opportunity to socialize, you should consider hiring entertainment or doing a fun activity as well.
You could hire a comedian (just make sure they are PC for the workplace), bring in a local band, find a magician or illusionist, rent puppies, throw a scavenger hunt, do non-alcoholic beer pong, have a murder mystery dinner or invite an improve team to perform. For games, make sure you offer fun prizes like gift cards for Amazon, Starbucks or local restaurants and shops.
Not sure which idea to go with? Survey employees beforehand to see what they want. Then, you’ll guarantee that everyone will have an enjoyable and meaningful time.
“The end of the year is a celebration and a time to reflect on the year,” said Hargrove. “Keep it fun and safe for all.”
Happy Holidays from EverythingBenefits!