'Tis the season, right? The lights, the music, the seemingly endless supply of treats that fill the break room? Yep. Time for holiday festivities.
A holiday party is a tradition for many businesses. Companies like to celebrate the passing of another year, plan for the future and simply jump at the opportunity for some team bonding. A lot of organizations use holiday parties to celebrate workers' accomplishments throughout the year, and recognition is good for everyone.
But, just because something is traditional doesn't mean it's right for your office. Here are five questions to help you decide whether you should throw a holiday bash or take another route.
1) How Is Employee Morale?
A party can be a great morale booster for a group of people that already like each other. However, if everyone is miserable, inviting them to a party seems like an ironic punishment. Forced fun is never actually fun.
A party won't fix a morale problem, even if people do come out for the food and libations. Fix the underlying issues before you try to get everybody together.
2) Is There a Better Time for a Party?
We have parties in December because people are celebrating holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the New Year, just to name a few. But, that means that almost everyone in your office likely has other social events to attend.
Perhaps there's a better time? Wouldn't a party on a gray February day be a better morale booster? Or maybe a picnic in June? But be careful: If you're going to cancel the holiday party in lieu of a later event, make sure you tell your staff what you're doing! You don't want them to feel forgotten.
3) Is There Something Your Staff Would Prefer Instead?
Instead of a holiday party, would your employees be interested in an extra vacation day? What about a nice gift? Would each department prefer to do something special on their own? Maybe they'd rather go out to a nice lunch, without the holiday trappings?
A party can be tons of fun, but you certainly aren't obligated to throw one if your employees aren't into it. There are plenty of other ways to bond and build teams.
4) What's Your Budget?
If you're making employees buy tickets to cover the cost, then a holiday party shouldn't be on your schedule. There are tons of cheap alternatives to a holiday event—a pizza party, a Secret Santa game or even an afternoon off. Just bringing in cupcakes is an easy way to make people happy without breaking the bank.
Of course, if you have a big budget, you can throw a big party. But, don't feel the need to book a live band if your company can't even afford Spotify Premium.
5) Does Anyone Want to Plan the Party?
If no one wants to organize the party, then it's just not that important to your staff. Traditionally HR teams or administrative staff plan parties, but really anyone can do it. They key is for whoever is in charge to actually like what they're doing. Chances are if no one wants to plan the party, no one will miss it either.
And here's one last bit of advice: Remember, parties are always voluntary. Don't hold it against workers that want to skip it. Whether they're missing it for religious reasons or simply because they're not party people, that's okay.
As for me, my question is always, "Will there be good food?" If so, I'll get my Secret Santa gift and be right over!
Photo: Creative Commons
Want to keep learning? Explore our products, customer stories, and the latest industry insights.
Cartoon Coffee Break: Fitness Challenges
Editor's Note: This post is part of our "Cartoon Coffee Break" series. While we take talent management seriously, we also know it's important to have a good laugh. Check back every two weeks for a new ReWork cartoon. +++++ We’re approaching the middle of January, and New Year's resolutions are in full swing. For many, that means being more active and creating a regular gym schedule. But sticking to these goals can be challenging, especially for employees who work at a desk for eight or more hours per day. HR can help employees reach their goals by fostering a culture where workers feel empowered to prioritize their health and by offering benefits like gym memberships or wellness stipends.
Cartoon Coffee Break: Let's Talk About Your Facebook Post
Editor's Note: This post is part of our "Cartoon Coffee Break" series. While we take talent management seriously, we also know it's important to have a good laugh. Check back every two weeks for a new ReWork cartoon. Header photo: Creative Commons
Ten Dad-Friendly Workplaces
When we talk about the quest to "have it all," it's almost always in reference to working women trying to balance a stressful 9-to-5 with the equally difficult demands of family. To be sure, women face distinct challenges in the workplace and high expectations at home. But this Father's Day, let's not forget that dads are increasingly juggling work and home life, too. Single fatherhood is becoming more common in the US—a 2013 Pew report found that a record 8 percent of families with children were headed by a single dad—and 60 percent of households with children are dual-income as of 2014, putting added pressure on both working parents. While policies in the US do not mandate paid family leave of any kind—unlike parent-topia Sweden, which offers 16 months of paid parental leave and three months specifically for paternity leave—many companies are now thinking about how they can help their workers be "Employee of the Year," without sacrificing their "Dad of the Year" trophy. Here are ten excellent companies for working dads, based on a new report from parenting resource website Fatherly. 1. Google Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Mountain View, CA Number Of Employees: 53,600 Paid Paternity Leave: 7 weeks (12 weeks for primary caregiver) Industry: Tech Dad-friendly Policy Highlight: When you work with Google, your family is part of the family—really. If an employee passes away, the company provides his/her spouse with 50 percent of their salary for 10 years and immediately vested stock options, and children receive $1,000 a month until they turn 19 (or 23 if they're a student). 2. Facebook Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA Number Of Employees: 10,082 Paid Paternity Leave: 17 weeks Industry: Tech Policy Highlight: Procreating pays off. Facebook gives new parents a $4,000 "new child benefit," along with subsidized day care. Not to mention the $20,000 worth of supplemental insurance coverage for fertility and family planning treatments. 3. Bank of America Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Charlotte, NC Number Of Employees: 220,000 Paid Parental Leave: 12 weeks Industry: Finance Policy Highlight: Bank of America's twelve weeks of paid paternity leave is on par with countries likeIceland. Not too shabby. And, if you can handle the pay break, the company also allows for an additional 14 weeks of unpaid leave. 4. Patagonia Photo: Shutterstock Headquarters: Ventura, CA Number Of Employees: 2,000 Paid Paternity Leave: 8 weeks Industry: Retail Policy Highlight: Working parents don't have to stray far from their kids as Patagonia provides on-site child care for kids up to nine years old. The famously laid-back company will also provide afternoon transportation from local schools back to the office babysitter. 5. State Street Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Boston, MA Number Of Employees: 29,530 Paid Paternity Leave: 4 weeks Industry: Finance Policy Highlight: Flexible work arrangements are a must for the busy working dad (or mom). State Street's program helps take the stress out of setting up some work-from-home time by requiring their managers to approach their employees about flexible work options. 6. Genentech Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: San Francisco, CA Number Of Employees: 14,000 Paid Paternity Leave: 6 weeks Industry: Biotech Policy Highlight: Along with dedicated paid paternity time, Genentech also offers a sabbatical program for long-term employees. Every six years, you earn six months of time off—perfect for a long summer trip with the kids. 7. LinkedIn Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Mountain View, CA Number Of Employees: 6,800 Paid Paternity Leave: 6 weeks Industry: Tech Policy Highlight: LinkedIn likes to encourage employees to think outside their cubicle and, in addition to "special projects" time once a month, you will get a $5,000 stipend for job-related education expenses. Maybe "Childcare 101" would qualify? 8. Arnold & Porter LLP Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Washington D.C. Number Of Employees: 1,284 Paid Paternity Leave: 6 weeks (18 for primary caregiver) Industry: Legal Policy Highlights: If your spouse or partner is gainfully employed and you'd like to trade some of those work hours for family time, Arnold and Porter allows employees working at least 25 hours to qualify for benefits. The firm even has an expert panel on hand to help their lawyers make the switch to part-time. 9. Roche Diagnostics Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Indianapolis, IN (North American HQ) Number Of Employees: 4,500 Paid Paternity Leave: 6 weeks Industry: Healthcare Policy Highlight: Roche employees have plenty of opportunities to teach Junior essential life lessons like how to swing a bat or grow a juicy tomato. The company spends $35,000 annually on sponsored extracurriculars like community sports leagues, and also offers an on-site employee produce garden. 10. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: New York, NY Number Of Employees: 41,000 (U.S.) Paid Parental Leave: 6 weeks (plus an additional 2 weeks if have or adopt more than one kid) Industry: Professional Services Policy Highlight: Another company that values ad-hoc work schedules, PwC allows employees work-from-home options as well as ""Flex Days." So if you can cram 40 hours of work into less than five days and clear your schedule, you could end up with more frequent three-day weekends and more time with the kids. Photo: Shutterstock