Planning a company holiday party can be stressful on everyone involved. For many companies their annual company holiday party is the only event they have each year. It’s the only time they do something to show their employees they are appreciated. Is your company holiday party ( corporate Christmas party ) something your employees look forward to or dread going to? Some companies give gifts or cash bonuses out during the party while others don’t. Some rent a banquet hall for the party while others just have a potluck at work or something even smaller.
The old saying “It’s the thought that counts” doesn’t always go over with some employees. They either complain about all the money that the company spent on the party that could have gone into a bonus or they complain about how little was spent and that they feel like they got gypped. You can’t please everyone all of the time.
Over the past few years I’ve noticed a lot of companies not having a company holiday party at all since the turnouts were bad for them. The banquet hall has you pay per plate on how many people you told them are showing up. When a lot of people don’t show up, you are still paying for the meal they never received. Keep that in mind when coming up with a headcount.
Sometimes the holiday parties can turn into a lot of drama. Bob from accounting had a bit too much to drink and told his boss what he really thinks of her. Betty’s date turned out to be Jennifer from the front office’s ex-husband. It can sure get messy.
When having an open bar or any bar for that matter at the party, have a limit. You don’t want to be the one supply people with alcohol and then being legally responsible if they get in an accident. I’ve seen companies give out drink tickets before. Each employee gets 2 or 3 drink tickets and that’s it. Remember, sometimes people don’t drink and might give their tickets to the partier in the group. Don’t be afraid to let an employee know when they’ve had to much and have the bartender cut them off. I’d much rather have someone a little angry at me than have someone die or kill someone in a drunk driving crash.
Whenever possible have a shuttle service, Uber or taxi available for those employees that drank too much so they can get home safe and sound.
December is such a busy month for everyone. Children have their school holiday choir concerts and parties, family have other parties and things to attend, the malls are packed, people are stressed and now they have to go to a company party. Some companies have their parties in January as a start of the year holiday celebration.
“I’d be much more into the office holiday party if my coworkers weren’t invited.” – Unknown
By having your company party in January your odds of getting the banquet hall you want and having more people able to attend are a lot better.
Try to remember that all your employees may not celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or whatever else you do. Try to have your party billed as a holiday party to be a little more politically correct and more welcoming to those that don’t share your same views. I remember performing at one party where I was asked to not even say “Happy Holidays!” or mention the holidays at all. I thought that was a little extreme, but I listened to my clients, as always.
Choosing the right entertainment for your holiday party can also be stressful. You don’t want a comedian that will be vulgar and offend your guests. You don’t want your employees garage band to take the stage and play in front of a live audience for the first time and maybe bomb.
Over the years I’ve heard so many horror stories of companies spending their entire party budget on centerpieces, appetizers, etc. and not having much, if anything, left for the evening’s entertainment. A month or maybe even a week after the party they won’t be talking about the food or even remember what they ate, but they will remember the wonderful or horrible entertainment you booked.
When it’s your name behind setting up the party and booking the entertainment you know you need the very best to fit within your budget. If you don’t have a great budget for great entertainment, it might be better to buy an iPad and have a raffle for it. That way at least one of your guests will leave happy. By having horrible entertainment all your guests will leave disappointed.
Whether you are having a DJ, band, comedian, mentalist, magician, juggler or any other entertainment, be sure to watch their testimonial videos or read their reviews. Make sure the reviews are legit. A number of years ago I found another entertainer using reviews people wrote about me on his website! After a phone call to the agent representing him they were taken off of his website.
Whenever possible have a party planning committee. Planning the party from start to finish can sometimes be way too much on one person. Even if one person is planning it, have others available to bounce ideas off of or check into things for you.
By having a committee they can keep the others on track. Make sure the one in charge of appetizers doesn’t spend your entire budget on meatballs. I planned a convention once and was shocked at how much a single meatball was at that high-end hotel’s banquet center. They could easily eat up your entire budget. One meatball at a time. Skip the meatballs and put money toward entertainment or something they’ll remember.
Don’t be afraid to ask your employees / co-workers what they’d like at the party. What parties went over well and which ones flopped. Send out a small survey after your event for honest feedback. Having a comment box where they can put in suggestions for the upcoming party would do the trick. Have it so they can do it anonymously if they’d prefer to. Sometimes people give feedback that’s a lot more honest if they know they don’t have to put their name on it.
For more corporate party planning ideas please sign up for my online newsletter below. If you need quality corporate entertainment for your holiday party, please keep me in mind. I look forward to working with you. Happy holidays!