Holiday parties are great for a number of reasons – they boost company morale, encourage bonding among your team, and give employers an opportunity to really show how much they value their employees. So why don’t more employees want to attend these gleeful gatherings? Is it the awkward gift exchanges? The stuffy attire and atmosphere? The valuable time on their already packed holiday social calendar? Or the rubber chicken dinner? Try our six tips for hosting a Holiday Party that your employees will actually WANT to attend and see your Holiday Party attendance soar!
Location, Location, Location
Your Holiday Party location is critical to its success. Make sure you are booking a location that is convenient for your staff. No one wants to drive hours away from home or spend money on pricey hotels during the holiday season. Choose a locale that is nearby or if you are hosting a party for multiple office locations, choose something that is an equal driving distance for all offices. Search out unique venues that your employees may have never been – museums, art galleries, zoos, aquariums are all excellent choices. Try to think outside of the typical private room in a restaurant or hotel ballroom. Book your location early so you have the most options available to choose from as venues tend to fill their holiday calendars quickly. Speaking of holiday calendars, be respectful of your employee’s time and social calendar. Fridays and Saturdays are great party nights but are usually reserved for gatherings of family and friends, try planning your get together for a weekday – but remember to be kind to those working the following day.
Dress The Part
Steer clear of the formal attire and let your employees cut loose, after all this party is about THEM! Keep it business casual or better yet add a theme and encourage employees to dress the part. Make it part of the evening’s entertainment with a prize for the best themed attire. Adding a theme to your party is an inexpensive way to add ambiance, levity, and conversation to what could otherwise be a stuffy event. Fun themes could include: Tacky/Ugly Holiday Sweaters, 12 Days of Christmas or Celebrations Around the World,
Make It Festive
Spend those few extra dollars on entertainment. A great photo booth with fun props to complement your theme is a fun way for guests to let loose and is also a great way to document the evening. An awesome DJ is also a great way to keep the party mojo moving. Make the evening as interactive as possible or use this as an opportunity for your business to give back to the community. What better way to get your employees in the Holiday Spirit than by partnering with philanthropic organizations to stuff Care Packages for soldiers overseas or package healthy meals for hungry children.
Eating should be enjoyable and delicious. Save the plated dinner for another time. Interactive carving stations, hors d’oeuvres displays, and plenty of options is the way to please any palate. This will keep your guests milling about and save you some dollars in the process. A decorate your own holiday cookie table, ice cream sundae bar, or a blazing donut station is a great way to keep food service lively all the way through dessert!
Drink And Be Merry
Don’t skimp on the beverages! It is a thin line between cutting loose and being responsible. If you don’t want to venture for a full open bar, perhaps offer a few other options that will keep the libations flowing in a more controlled manor. Instead of liquor, host a beer and wine only bar, keep it interactive with a specialty tasting of craft brews, or even a hot beverage bar (with the option of making it alcoholic or non-alcoholic).
Remember this party is about appreciating your employees. If you want to give a “state of the union”, by all means do so, but keep it very brief. Save the dollars and cents talk for the Board Room. Remember to thank your staff members for their hard work throughout the year. Goody bags and gift cards are another great way to say thank you and show your appreciation. Hold a raffle at the end of the evening (must be present to win) which will keep your guests mingling until last call or raffle off various gifts throughout the night to keep the merriment going – extra vacation or PTO time, gift cards, event/attraction tickets, and cold hard cash are all great raffle prizes!
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