In the depths of the recession not too long ago, expenditures on a holiday party were nixed. Today, the holiday party is back. Last year, about 80% of businesses had holiday parties, and I’d guess it won’t be less this year.
Why it’s a good idea
Small business owners may be wondering whether to hold any type of festivities. There are some solid business reasons favoring a holiday party:
- Employee recognition. The party is a time for an owner to show appreciation to the staff. It can be used to recognize the entire staff or call out specific employees for their special achievements.
- Team building. It’s an opportunity for employees to get to know each other better, and especially for those who don’t normally work together to get acquainted. For example, remote workers may join in the festivities. This can later translate into greater efficiency because employees know each other better, which promotes smoother operations.
- Morale building. In some companies, the holiday time means longer hours, which can be depressing for some employees. The spirit of the event, combined with a show of gratitude by owners and comradery by employees can boost morale.
How to make it work
Here’s a checklist of what to do:
- Fix a budget. This will impact the type of party you can host.
- Set a date. Depending on the nature of your business, this may be early in December or at some other time. It’s been suggested that January is a fine time for a holiday party; it’s a less stressful time and may be a post-sales period.
- Find a venue. It may be in-house or at a restaurant or other venue. At this late date, many venues have already been booked for corporate events, but there’s always some great location you can still find.
- Decide who’s coming. Make attendance for employees voluntary. About 28% of professionals say they view their attendance as obligatory, and generally aren’t enthusiastic about company parties. Also decide: Will employees bring spouses, significant others, or dates? Are children welcome? Do you want an event that’s open to customers and vendors?
- Attend to details. Decide who’s in charge of making arrangements.
- Decide on gifts. Holiday giving within your company -- Secret Santas, gifts by supervisors/managers to staff, etc. — may be part of the festivities.
BizBash offers some tips on corporate holiday parties this year, including themes, invitations, and gifts.
Your holiday party can be a great event that your staff will be talking about for months to come. But you don’t want this conversation to focus on something bad that’s happened there, such as a drunken display or sexual harassment. Be sure to limit alcohol to avoid mishaps at the party and possible liability to the company for post-party accidents. Arrange transportation for anyone you think should not be driving. And remember, the tab for the party is 100% deductible by the business. Enjoy!