Countless sitcoms portray office holiday parties as drab, awkward, and generally dreaded obligations. In these depictions, companies put on half-hearted functions with a few decorations and serve mediocre-at-best food and alcohol, and employees are supposed to be grateful for the pitiful attempt.
At their core, holiday parties are meant to honor the employees and allow them a time to unwind and fraternize with their contemporaries. Employees should feel appreciated, relaxed, and joyful at these functions and not feel forced to have someone else’s idea of fun. If you want to throw a holiday party that your employees will appreciate – and an event at which they’ll feel appreciated – here are some good pointers.
Ask your employees what they’d find fun | One of the easiest ways to find out what people want is to simply ask them. About a month out, you can send out a Google Form or a SurveyMonkey link to your employees and ask them for reasonable ideas and suggestions about what they’d like to see at the party. You may get some great ideas you never would have considered yourself. Social media apps have long since discovered the value of crowdsourcing answers to questions. You may as well do the same.
Be Inclusive | There are lots of holidays that people of various faiths and nationalities choose to observe in winter time, and it’s important to make sure that everyone is welcome. Even if you don’t go as far as to make a mention of every single winter celebration, you can ensure that you’re sensitive to dietary restrictions or other potentially-insensitive activities.
Get Creative with the resources in your community | Many areas have technical programs that train young adults in cooking, pastries, drink-mixing, and event planning. If you’re trying to throw a fun party with great food to honor and thank your employees, tap in those who need experience in the field and let them practice. You’ll spend less than you would on a professional wedding-grade party planner, and everyone will enjoy the new experiences.
Make sure everyone leaves with something | Everyone’s favorite part of childhood birthday parties was the little bag of party favors they got to take home. While adults may not be so interested in kazoos and silly putty, making sure each guest leaves with some token will ensure happy memories for years to come. Some offices choose to do a “Secret Snowflake” gift exchange, some offer lottery tickets or small gift cards, and still more have small trinkets engraved with the company’s logo.