Culture | December 4, 2014

Tips for Throwing an Engaging Holiday Party

Thanksgiving is behind us, sleigh bells are ringing, and the holiday season is in full swing. For many offices this means the annual holiday party is just around the corner. Holiday parties are a great way to express gratitude for your employees’ hard work, strengthen their connection to the organization, and create memorable experiences—the secret recipe of engagement. Here are some tips for throwing an engaging company event:

Choose the right time and place: People have a lot going on these days and time off is a sacred thing, so consider holding your holiday bash during the day, after a workday. “Early cocktails are usually a good bet, as everyone likes leaving work early,” Mary Beth Wood, a corporate event planner based in New York explains. She suggests picking a sensible venue that offers lounge seating for comfort.

Spread the word and give details: Send companywide invitations via email in advance, and make with the details. Employees will want to know what the proper attire is, whether a meal will be served, and if any special travel arrangements are being planned. Some of them might have to find babysitters or make other arrangements. Clear communication is thoughtful, and always appreciated.

Get involved and show appreciation: Creating a deeper connection with the company is made much easier when senior leaders and managers are in the mix, mingling and making their presence known. But they can’t phone it in – they should be outgoing, accessible, and making real connections with employees. A short speech or formal thanks for all the year’s hard work is icing on the cake.

Be culturally aware: We’ve been calling it a “holiday party” and we say “holiday season” in the workplace, and we all know why—if you call it a Christmas party, you automatically exclude other cultures. Keep this in mind when decorating.

Deck the Halls

Throwing an engaging holiday party takes some consideration, but can be a great way to deepen your employees’ bonds with the company. They provide an opportunity to recognize the hard work of the past year and boost engagement at the same time, so thoughtful planning around workloads, time off, and cultural backgrounds can go a long way, pushing the resulting wave of engagement well into the New Year.

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