Every year come December, companies embark on a tradition to celebrate the holidays while also providing some employee appreciation. This tradition usually involves a party that comes in many forms. For more lavish employers, an evening or weekend soiree replete with a multiple course meal and streams of booze are provided at an offsite venue. For others, maybe just a company potluck during lunchtime.
What your company chooses to do depends on your business culture and of course, your budget. And with the current climate holding zero-tolerance for inappropriate behavior with multiple shining spotlights on sexual harassment cases involving some very high-profile names, many companies have decided to eliminate this risk by skipping the alcohol, or skipping the party altogether. At least, that’s what one survey released by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. indicated, with more companies holding the party on company premises, during the workday, or not at all. While many of the trends were slightly upward or downward, the biggest difference was in the choice to serve alcohol, with 62 percent of respondents selecting to serving booze in 2016 and this year only 49 percent. And while these are also money-saving ideas, most companies have reported a good economic year.
So, whether you’re looking to cut costs, or just keep everything on the up-and-up, here are a few tips to show some employee appreciation come holiday-party season that are sure to please, and won’t break the bank:
1. Have your party during the workday.
Yes, it’s nice to have an off-site party with food, drinks, and entertainment. But, it’s also costly and frankly, most people prefer to spend their free time away from work, and that may also mean their coworkers. Give them a break during work and let everyone socialize over a nice meal that you’ve had catered, or even a potluck if you’re trying to save. Skipping booze also eliminates the risk of inappropriate behavior. Win-win-win!
2. Give the option to just “drop-in.”
Company parties can be anxiety-producing for many, and if your party is outside of working hours, those with children may not be able to commit to a full 4-hour party. Keeping it open and optional may actually improve your attendance rate.
3. If you are going to have alcohol, have a “signature drink”
that will allow you to save some money by eliminating the need to provide a full-bar variety. This will allow you to keep it to only a couple kinds of drinks, while also using your creative hat and maybe even some humor when it comes to the name. Here’s a few suggestions from Southern Living with recipes for everything from Bloody Merry and Bright, to Santa-gria.
4. Want to shake things up a bit? Take everyone out to do an activity together
ice skating, a holiday cooking class, go karts, trampoline park, or even volunteering together will build a sense of community while also celebrating the season out of the office.
5. Skip the party, let everyone go home early.
Seriously – it’s not as Scrooge-like as it seems. You could call it a “shopping-day” and if you’re giving gifts to the employees, a gift card to send them off would put a smile on many faces. Or you could just tell everyone to enjoy time with their families or however they choose. Bottom line—they get to go home early with pay. You won’t see anyone opposing that!
6. If you’re the manager, take heed:
Keep your speeches short – your work is appreciated, we hope you have a wonderful holiday, thanks for coming to the party. That’s about all anyone wants to hear from you. And then if you have any positive company news to share, do so at this time, briefly. The holiday party is all about keeping things happy and light. So, go socialize with the underlings who don’t directly report to you and stick to non-work-related topics. This will keep morale high among your team.
You want to show your employees appreciation in a way that makes them happy – and for some companies that may mean hosting an elaborate party because it can afford to do so. But just remember this: many people would prefer a bonus or paid time off. In fact, a Randstad study found a whopping 90 percent prefer these over a party. They gave even higher ratings to holiday philanthropy programs like donating to food drives or charities. As was mentioned before, parties can be anxiety-inducing for some, especially the younger colleagues who feel obligated to come, according to the report.
So, this year evaluate what is the true best way to celebrate the holiday season with your employees. You may be able to skip the party, keep your employees happy and save a few dollars.
Vernon Computer Source provides short-term technology rentals to businesses through North America.