The end is coming, and so is the inevitable workplace holiday party. It’s a great way to reward staff, build morale and improve relationships – if you get it right. So how do you make sure your company gets the most of its end of year shindig?
Keeping the end in mind
What are the goals and objectives for holding this party? While staff may see it as a chance to drink booze on the company dime, there are all kinds of disagreements to balance, from where to hold it to what to serve.
The company might want the party to be as cheap as possible. Religious groups will want a party that caters to their varying dietary needs. Generation Y workers typically want a party to be held at a club, while more mature staff will want it to be all over by 8pm. With all these demands, what’s a HR professional to do?
First and foremost, it is crucial for the HR planning team to get together and jot down what the key motivations for having an office party are in the first place. Taking note of what factors are important, and which ones are not, is the best way to ensure that the party does not go off-track.
In most companies, the annual office party is all about gathering everyone in one location to mingle and relax.
“While we have departmental town halls and social gatherings throughout the year, the annual party is an informal platform for people across the bank to connect, have fun, and get to know each other,” says Samantha Chia, head of HR at DBS.
For Sylvester Lau, Assistant HR Manager, Hoerbiger KT, the yearly bash is a time when the organization’s leaders can connect with their staff. “The annual event celebrates the success and efforts of all throughout the year,” he says. “It allows management to have a direct connection to the employees and recognise their contributions.”
Once you set your goals, you and your team will have a much better time figuring out how to achieve them.
Keeping spirits up
Even with the most comprehensive planning, sometimes things just don’t go as planned. It is not uncommon for a party to get out of hand when there’s too much alcohol, and HR ought to have some precautionary measures for this possible outcome.
However, since it is a year-end party, employees are expecting to have fun and let loose, so it may not be a good idea for companies to be too restrictive. It would be ideal to send out an email beforehand outlining what is considered inappropriate behaviour, and to ensure that staff make considered transport arrangements after drinks.
According to Chung, the tip is not to withhold alcohol completely.
“I’m not sure if you want to be at a party when there’s not enough alcohol served,” says Chung. “Seriously though, the level-headed answer would be not to leave the tab open – it will kill you. Negotiate for a fixed open bar price. Spending on the right stuff means focusing on the things that matter.”
And after all, no one wants a party where staff say they would rather be working than spend another minute there. As most things go – balance is key.
Top party tips
• Begin with the end in mind – make sure the party meets objectives and budget.
• Get an official party planner to help out if the work is too much to handle.
• Decide on a fun theme and unique performances to make the event stand out
• Publicise it in the office to get staff excited.
• Make sure you plan for the unexpected – transport home for drinking staff is a must.