The holiday season is officially here and that means it’s time for companies to host their annual holiday party. Many companies take this time as an opportunity to celebrate another successful year in the books and thank their employees for their hard work, but holiday parties can have another added bonus—they’re great for cultivating company culture.
According to a new survey of 3,600 job seekers from career network Beyond, 74 percent of respondents said they believe their company party boosts employee morale. And the reason is pretty simple—employees like to feel appreciated and valued and a holiday party is the perfect way to recognize that. In order to throw a great holiday party, be sure to involve your employees in the planning process, plan the best party for your organization, and consider a few additional ways of showing your appreciation this holiday season.
Rally Your Employees
You don’t have to leave all the party planning to your Human Resources department. A great way to make sure that no one feels obligated to attend and everyone has a great time is to let your staff in on planning their party. Form a party planning committee made up of members of the HR team and a few volunteers from each department. Involve the committee in planning everything from the location of the event to the food to the date and time. Diversifying the group will mean that employees who may not work closely together will get to plan something for the entire office to enjoy. In fact, 75 percent of survey respondents said the holiday party helps build relationships with colleagues they may not usually interact with.
Letting your employees plan their own party can also encourage them to suggest and plan more office events throughout the year, which will help evolve and enhance your company’s corporate culture.
Don’t Throw a Cookie Cutter Party
Every business has a different idea of what their holiday party should look like. Larger companies may choose to rent out space at a bar or restaurant. For budget-conscious businesses, this might not feasible, but don’t assume a holiday party is an added budget item you can’t absorb. There are many low-cost alternatives to an over-the-top celebration.
A catered lunch on a Friday afternoon or a BYOB happy hour in the office can be fun alternatives to a black tie event. After all, the price tag on a party is not what employees will remember. What’s important is that your staff feel valued and can kick back and have a great time with their colleagues
It’s also important to remember that your company culture may be more laidback than other offices. If a night of cocktails doesn’t entice your employees, that’s okay. Close your office early one day and invite everyone to a potluck dinner or a cookie exchange. A holiday party is not a one-size-fits-all event.
Consider an Added Bonus
While holiday parties are great for boosting morale, employees also still prefer to receive a gift from their company during the holidays. The survey conducted by Beyond found that the top three things that employees would like to be gifted are a bonus (65.5 percent), an extra vacation day (10.2 percent) or a gift card (6.2 percent). If your budget is too small for monetary gifts, closing the office on a Friday is a great way to kick off the holiday season too—and employees are sure to appreciate it.
While the survey revealed that 55 percent of employees feel obligated to attend their company holiday party each year, an overwhelming majority (84 percent) said if the holiday party was eliminated, employees would be disappointed. So, it’s clear that the company holiday party is here to stay and has positive effects on staff. While planning and executing a party can be an investment of time and money, it’s important to show your staff that they are valued. The happier your employees are, the better your company culture will be, and you’ll continue to retain top talent year after year.
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