Blog Post

Should You Throw a Company Holiday Party?

Suzanne Lucas

Founder, Evil HR Lady

'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

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