Another year of layoffs and cutbacks is coming to a close and, for many business owners that means a scaled down or even canceled holiday party. Resist the impulse! Instead, involve employees in planning a memorable celebration that costs less. Organize an event that reinforces company culture – without worrying about breaking with tradition.
I’ve worked for companies that have flown employees and their partners to out-of-town events in grandiose fashion, and for companies who didn’t send a holiday card or even so much as hand out a candy cane. You can guess which one I preferred; but, the reality in today’s marketplace is one that doesn’t allow for such extravagance and really, do we need that anyway?
Maybe you’re thinking, “Why is it important to have a company party, especially for businesses that have cut back during the past few years?”
It’s important for your staff to know that you value what they’ve done over the last year and having some kind of reward, such as a party, builds unity and helps to boost morale. Your employees will have a sense of pride in their work and the organization when the company does the same for them.
So, what sort of frugal yet fabulous party options are out there? Here are a few of my personal favorites (besides the paid trip to Catalina of course…):
- Have a 2012 party. Restaurants or event spaces typically will give you a price break if you have the party after the holidays. Many of us are overbooked during the holidays and would appreciate a January event.
- Scale back your menu. If you’re serving alcohol, stick with beer and wine. Want to serve more? Make it a cash bar. I promise it’s not tacky. Try serving hors d’oeuvres and snacks instead of full meals; or try a buffet option. Not classy enough for you? Chicken tends to be cheaper than beef for a plated meal.
- Treat everybody to a sports activity or local event. Group tickets are much cheaper, and employees’ children can be involved.
- Host your party during the day. It gives people a few hours off from work, while not using up their free time. You can have a catered buffet brunch or lunch right in your break room. Add to the holiday spirit by having employees create a holiday playlist that is played throughout the event.
- Another option is having a pot-luck. Coordinate a menu and have employees choose an item they would like to bring. Take holiday pictures by a snowman or Christmas tree and get them printed out at the local store for a take-home souvenir.
- Help those less fortunate. Give your staff a few hours off to volunteer their services, time, food, or clothing. Help at a soup kitchen as a team or dress up and hand out toys at a local shelter. The holidays are a time to be thankful for what we have, and what better way than helping others in need?
Whichever way you choose to go – off company premises or on – keep in mind that the holidays should be a festive and fun time. Working out holiday party ideas is an opportunity for you to connect with your employees better than ever. It’s a unique way of building your brand too. The most valuable outcome of having a holiday party at work is that employees feel wanted and cared for. This improves their performance and eventually yours. Invest in a party – the ROI is almost guaranteed!