It’s true that office holiday parties can be a lot of fun and promote great working relationships. But it’s also true that employees often dread these events. Some employees drink too much. And occasionally there’s a little too much drama that discourages employees from attending and employers from ever doing it again. That’s why we’ve created this list of tips. Office holiday parties should be something to look forward to…something everyone wants to go to. Follow these suggestions and your office holiday party will surely be a successful event!
1. Appoint A Party Manager
To avoid conflicts right from the get go, appoint someone and give them a budget as well as the authority to organize the entire event. It should be someone who understands your business, understands the kind of party your employees would enjoy, and who is detailed oriented and capable of making hard decisions. Moreover, it should be someone you trust who will not only organize the event, but manage it before, during and after. It should not be someone who will be attending the event as a guest. It should be someone empowered to secure rides home for employees who overdo it during the party.
2. Pick A Venue.
The best restaurants and venues are in high demand. So one of the first things to do is book the venue early. It should be a place that is unexpected; something unique where your employees perhaps haven’t been before. Encourage your party manager to be creative. There are a lot of really great restaurants…that’s the obvious choice. But what about venues like the Los Angeles Zoo or L.A. Arboretum. What about a catered affair at a fire pit at the beach? Is your team athletic…how about renting out a high school gym and then going all out with the decorations? The ideas are endless, but should be appealing (and affordable) for the majority of your employees.
3. Book The Entertainment.
Like the venues, the holidays are the busy season for people providing entertainment. So once you’ve determined the theme of your event, book the fun stuff early. Every great party has music; a great band, DJ or even a sound system playing streaming music. Choose something that fits with the overall theme and atmosphere you want to create and that fits your budget. Don’t limit the entertainment to just music however. Offer up other diversions like a magician, a fortune teller, or a green screen photographer with a holiday background so every guest departs with a personal portrait as a memento of the party. Consider too that you can inspire the crowd to be their own entertainment. Buy a variety of party hats, fake mustaches, colored sunglasses and other “props”. Hire a photographer who has experience photographing corporate events to capture images of everyone acting silly and generally having a good time. And then after the party, create a book commemorating the event to be given to each employee as a holiday gift.
4. Figure Out The Food & Beverage
Great food makes a great party. Choose something that is consistent with your overall theme and venue. Traditional holiday foods are always good. But a variety of ethnic foods could be adventurous and something people will talk about for a long time after the party. Don’t forget creative desserts. And be sure to offer fun beverages, both alcoholic and non- alcoholic. (There is a NY bar that serves popsicles in a glass of champagne. It’s a colorful decoration, delicious, not too expensive, very festive and a guaranteed conversation starter.
5. Prepare and Send Invitations
Once the party details have been figured out, it’s time to finalize the guest list. To make decisions regarding the venue, entertainment, food & beverage, etc….you will have already determined approximately how many people will be attending. But with all that figured out, you can create a series of invitations to be emailed and even perhaps mailed to every employee’s home address. Be creative. Tease them with a save the date invitation. Follow up with a hint of all the great things to expect and some undisclosed surprises to peak their curiosity. Send out a formal invitation with an RSVP deadline so you know who’s coming and who’s not. And we highly recommend inviting spouses and significant others or a guest. It not only helps regulate “bad” behavior, it’s a gesture your employees will value and appreciate.
These are just a few suggestions about how to host a successful holiday party. For more ideas, search the internet and don’t hesitate to be creative.