CHRISTMAS PARTIES – BAH! HUMBUG!

OR MAYBE NOT? IS IT ECONOMICALLY USEFUL TO ORGANIZE A STAFF CHRISTMAS PARTY? WHAT CONNECTS OLD SCROOGE OF THE CHRISTMAS CAROL WITH YOUR CHRISTMAS PARTY? IT WASN’T TOO LATE FOR HIM TO CHANGE, IT’S NOT TOO LATE FOR YOU TO START PLANNING!

 

It is this time of year again: Halloween is over, it is socially acceptable to listen to Christmas songs and retails stores are slowly decorating themselves into Christmas mood.  Since about mid-August, professional event planners and event agencies are organizing Christmas and year-end events of their clients – if you want the best for your employees and clients, you have to start early! But let me take one step ahead: It is not too late! If you want it, you can still organize a respectable celebration for your company.

 

Before all planning starts, the question arises, do you need a Christmas celebration at all? What benefit is a year-end celebration bringing you?

 

Let us start with a scientific approach. Scientists such as the macroeconomist Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Ruckriegel deal with the question of what makes people happy. Yes, they do indeed exist – happiness scientists! After the basic human needs – housing, eating and clothing – are satisfied, mankind would like to see his subjective needs fulfilled. From here on we are already on the way to “being happy”. The most important of these subjective needs are relationships: partner, family, children, neighbours and co-workers. Followed by a fulfilling occupation – not necessarily the profession – recognition and appreciation.

 

Companies can and should ensure that their employees like to come to work, feel safe here and a business culture is being established that is perceived as appreciative by the workers. Everyone knows the Christmas Carol of Scrooge, who overnight turns from a greedy entrepreneur into a next-minded person. That his employee Bob is standing with him and top-performing for so long is admirable, but not self-evident. If an employee is treated like that in the long term, first his performance will weaken and finally his workforce will be completely lost due to movement of labour. You do not want that, right?

 

Christmas parties can have a great positive impact on your business climate – provided they are well done. Regard a celebration like that as a great gift to your employees. However, as with all gifts: The perceived value of the gift increases for the recipient, the more thought the donor has put into the selection of the present. Your employees notice whether the celebration takes place at the staff canteen every year, where they get the same food as every day, or whether you have chosen a special venue and a specially designed meal. Should it be important to you, to not only celebrate, but also to convey some content, please make sure it does not become too business-focused. A good balance between content and celebration will be noticed and appreciated.

 

For your employees, such an end-of-year- celebration will show that the component “human” as well as humanity, have a great standing in your company. It gives them the opportunity to get to know their colleagues, to exchange ideas with them, outside the usually stressful workday. Common moments and experiences strengthen the relationship among your employees. Positive memories create positive feelings and thus a stronger bond with your company. For you, this is an investment in corporate culture, which ultimately leads to higher productivity.

 

As mentioned above, it is not too late to organize a well done Christmas party. How about the following ideas:

 

–       Everyone loves Christmas Markets! Build one for your employees. This works as well indoors as it does outdoors. At various stands you can enjoy Christmas treats – turkey, sausages, cheese, cookies, pie, mulled wine, eggnog… There could be games at selected stands. Everything is very discreet, without imposing itself onto your guests. People who want to play can play or not, if they don’t want to. Cocktail tables invite to linger, but no one is tied to a seat, which provides more flexibility and eventually leads to more communication among your employees.

–       That’s too big for you? How about an outdoor get-together, with mulled wine and roasted chestnuts. Once all your employees have arrived, move on to the restaurant and/or dinner.

–       Speaking of food: How about instead of having a set menu, have a family style dinner – Roasters and pots are served to the table center. This way your guests are forced to talk with each other and share food: “Hand me the red cabbage, please.” “More gravy?” “But gladly!”

–       If you have a smaller team, you could do something bigger with them. A trip to a snowy region, skiing together or – here’s a teambuilding measure – constructing an igloo together.

–       If that is too cold for you, especially during the Christmas season, a joint cooking evening is enjoyable. You could divide your employees into teams: Appies, Mains, Dessert, setting the table, decorations. That is also a way of strengthening the bond between your employees and creating shared memories.

 

Just as a side note, all of the above-mentioned does not only apply to your employees, but also to your clients. Positive experiences with a company lead to positive feelings towards the company. This in turn results in a stronger connection with the company and thus in a higher return rate.

 

Are you convinced? Very good! However, please take time to consider a few things while planning:

 

–       You are thinking about having the celebration in your office rooms? Please check first if that is possible at all. What does your landlord say about that? Are there restrictions on the number of people? Do you have enough space in the office to carry out everything as planned? Are you a tenant in a multi-company office? How do your fellow tenants feel about a Christmas celebration? In case of doubt, invite them to join. This prevents tensions from the start and also helps with networking.

–       You are planning an opulent decoration with Christmas trees, candles and tinsel angels? Please inquire which regulations you have to follow in your party venue. Where are the escape routes? Where can no decoration be placed at all? How sensitive are the smoke detectors?

–       You are actually building a Christmas Market? Outstanding! Please note that there might be regulations and restrictions on the placement of decoration and the stands.

–       Your celebration is a mandatory part of a workday? Please inquire how overtime is regulated in your company. Or plan your party to be over at the usual end of the workday.

–       Your employees are a mixed bunch of backgrounds and religions? Christmas is after all a Christian celebration. Be careful to not offend people with too much religion of one kind. How about a winter party instead of a Christmas party? Jack Frost instead of Santa Clause? More icicles, less tinsel angels? Everything is possible!

 

Now it is really time to get started with planning! Should you need assistance or have questions, do not hesitate to contact me. Anyway, I am wishing you a happy winter season!

Christopher is the Chief Value Officer and Founder of Change My Life Coaching and Co-Founder of Change My Business Coaching and the Healthy Transformations Weight Loss & Inflammation Reduction Program. Change my Life Coaching is a fast growing whole-life, leadership and business coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind. He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”. Christopher spent 15+ years working in the corporate world with a plethora of industries and companies. His focus was primarily in planning, strategy, and leadership of change management and communication. Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker who truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him at clawrence@ChangeMyLifeCoaching.ca.

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