Celebrate the Holidays and Employees

October 27, 2011

Many companies have had a rough year that meant cutting budgets and letting employees go. Few want to think about having a party when struggling to have enough cash flow to pay employees, vendors and other bills. How will cutbacks affect the holiday season and celebrating with employees? Yes, cuts force companies to cancel holiday parties. But is it a good idea to do that?

Don't Skip the Celebration

It's tough to keep up morale when facing cuts. And, skipping holiday traditions drives down morale more. Not all is lost. How about getting creative and looking for cheaper ways to bring everyone together?

Doing something compels employees to feel better about themselves and the company, work harder, and build camaraderie. It also shows them the company values its employees. You may be able to deduct expenses from the party.

You don't have to do all the work. In fact, it's better to involve employees in planning. It gives them a purpose, a chance to get creative and excited about something. They're more likely to come up with resourceful solutions. Assign ownership to an outgoing employee who can round up employees. Assign a budget and provide a few ideas or general guidelines.

Tips for Planning

Hold the event after the holidays or long before. People get wrapped up with planning vacation, shopping for gifts, doing holiday cards and cooking. It may be less stressful to wait until January or February when all that's done and people can relax. This may save money because some vendors charge more during the holiday season.

Pay attention to the day and time of the event. Unless you're in the oil and gas industry where employees work outdoors or in the medical industry where people work 24/7, be open about holding the event during working hours. It gives people a break and they're more likely to attend since it won't interfere with family and afterhours activities.

Evenings and weekends may be worth looking at. Some family-oriented companies love to hold gatherings outside working hours to include family members, clients and contractors. With employees involved in planning, they'll make sure they select the best option that reflects the company's culture.

Explore other ways to reward employees. If you absolutely can't hold an event, try to find a way to recognize employees. That little pat on the back is a big boon for them. It could be an extra paid day off, half a day off, gift cards or tweaked benefits to offer more for the same amount.

  • Amusement park with car racing, video games and laser tag during working hours.
  • Lavish dinner party at an executive's home on a Thursday evening.
  • Company-wide party at a hotel with liquor and dancing on a Saturday evening.
  • Informal company party at a hotel with gambling on a Saturday evening.
  • Annual team trip to see a Harry Potter movie on the day it came out.
  • Department-wide event at the local NFL team's stadium during working hours.

Event Suggestions

Here is a list of past events from a variety of companies to give you ideas:

All of these events had equal amounts of enjoyment. Look into museums, the zoo, ranches with games, picnics and minor league games. So how about that party to cheer up the whole crew?

What suggestions do you have for company parties or gatherings? What was one of the most memorable events you've experienced?