Craft a Memorable Holiday Office Party

Dec 13, 2018 | Culture, Events, Leadership

We’ve either lived it or heard the stories – the last-minute secret Santa gifts, the stale gingerbread cookies or Mariah Carey’s Christmas anthem stuck on repeat. There’s a hundred and one ways to miss the holiday mark, and those examples only scrape the surface.

The consequences of an unsuccessful party extend beyond just a bad memory. On top of celebrating the holidays, this is a commemoration of your office’s successes and achievements for the year. Whether or not it’s your intention, this party is a reflection of the level of appreciation you have for your employees. Insufficient effort and investment in the holiday party will send a very distinct message, leaving the majority of attendees feeling unappreciated and disappointed.

There’s an opportunity to be strategic in your party planning – ultimately enhancing your employee’s morale and sense of unity.

Although there is no cookie cutter strategy to planning a perfect office party, it all boils down to the amount – or perceived amount – of thought invested. Keep in mind these three components when designing and executing this years’ party.

Reinforce your culture and values. Be deliberate in your approach –tailor your office party to reflect the culture of your organization. Challenge your creativity to discover unique ways to capture your values. Play up your competitive environment with an ugly sweater contest or tap into your creative abilities with holiday-themed paint night. In fact, if your organization is constantly going against the grain, why not choose an alternate theme altogether? The creative ball’s in your court. And let us tell you, there’s more activities out there than just secret Santa. Make this occasion worth celebrating.

Think through the design of each element – the food, activities, decorations, music and gifts – to identify opportunities to integrate your values. Don’t underestimate the power of small details.  It’s these thoughtful elements that enhance your team’s engagement, morale and sense of appreciation.

Focus on the people. This party is a celebration of your team. Prepare the party in advance to ensure a smooth execution – giving you the full time to be engaged with your team. We can’t deny the importance of quality time, and this relaxed, unprofessional atmosphere eliminates the stress in the employer-employee relationship. Capitalize on this environment to strengthen your connections. Rather than gravitate to your favourite employees, check in with people you might not know as well as others. Enhance your professional relationships by developing a personal rapport. Avoid work talk and lead more personal discussions in order to get to know them on a more profound level.

Keep in mind that this is the final celebration for the year, making this a great opportunity to show individual appreciation. During your one-on-ones, acknowledge their work efforts from this past year and specific achievements. Your employees will excel when they feel recognized. And after all, it is the season to show gratitude.

Don’t forget the spouses. Showing appreciation to your employees comes in many forms. Taking the time to meet your team’s partners and spouses sends a clear message that you care. With your undivided attention, make sure they feel welcomed. You may even be surprised by the new insights you’ll learn about your employees.

The holiday office party gives you the perfect opportunity to strengthen your rapport with the team, boost spirits and leave a favourable impression from the past year.

Be thoughtful in your design and execution, and make this year’s holiday party memorable, in all the right ways.

By: Jackie Muru

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