Everyone knows that an out of control holiday party can inform the company grapevine for the next 365 days. Worse is the office holiday party that nobody attends despite great effort and cost. Neither fate need be yours if your planning makes employees stakeholders. Don’t give people a party, enable them to be part of the party. Here are the rules for a party people will enjoy.
1. Hold the party on site after work: 5 – 6:30. Consider the first week of January when people are bored and let down instead of the hectic week before Christmas.
2. Involve key people from different departments and cliques. Pass out assignments with deadlines.
3. Supply the booze but make food potluck. The foodies of all ages will be glad. Be sure to have some appetizers on tap in case there’s not enough contributions.
4. Post the names of who will do what on-line and elsewhere.
5. Engage a quartet from a local music school to play. Whatever the cost (usually very little) live music screams, “party.”
6. Remind everyone by email every day for three days in advance.
7. Enlist someone from top management to thank employees for their hard work the past year. This is important or what’s the point of the party? Do these people really need to be fed and watered?
8. Have an open mic so employees can voice new year goals and wishes. This is not as dangerous as you might imagine. Remember, the have Facebook for private snarking.
Finally, most people will participate because of the short time commitment. Our research with Millennials shows the shorter the commitment the happier – even with friends. This agenda differs from those set by organizations who measure success by attendance rather than satisfaction. Always follow up with a short survey of attendees.