Your year-end celebration should be an extension of a supportive, friendly culture.
The end of the year is approaching, and you want to show your staff some appreciation with a party for a job well done. But the standard holiday office party is a double-edged sword. Done right, it can be a wonderful way to build camaraderie and celebrate team effort. Mishandled, and it can become a scene of unsettling discomfort or tedium. Here are some ways to make sure your event is a success.
Ask what they want. Experts in employee recognition suggest that the best incentives are those that employees actually want. Rather than leave planning up to HR, form a committee that represents the diversity of your staff to craft an event everyone can enjoy—or even come up with a short list of possibilities, including venues and activities—that employees at large can vote on.
Keep it non-denominational. Political correctness aside, the celebration should be less about a particular holiday and more about the group. Encourage everyone to reward themselves and their colleagues for having a banner year—or making it through a tough one. This is a great occasion to highlight successes and recognize everyone’s role in working toward shared goals.
Invite everyone. A company-wide celebration should be just that, so resist the temptation to celebrate separately with your executive team. And while you’re at it, model appropriate behavior by mingling freely and encouraging senior leadership to do the same. That means socializing with staff members you don’t often spend time with, and engage in meaningful exchanges rather than just shaking hands in a receiving line. Take the opportunity to get to know members of your staff on a personal basis and leave them feeling heard and appreciated.
Be generous. A holiday party doesn’t have to break the bank, but it should show true appreciation. Don’t pass the hat or charge for entry. Do invite spouses. Don’t make attendance mandatory. Consider treating your employees as you would your valued clients with small extravagances such as a professional wait staff and/or bartender.