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Getting Jolly With It: Top Tips for Employers Hosting a Holiday Staff Party

As the festive season settles, whispers of the staff holiday party will begin to circulate. A tradition amongst many companies, it is a chance for managers and team members alike to spend some sociable time together without the pressures of work. It can be a great night, but to ensure there are no incoming HR hazards, here are a few tips and tricks we have put together to keep things fun, festive, and appropriate:

  1. Keep cultural traditions front of mind – December is home to many religious festivals, not just Christmas. So, when hosting your staff party, try to be mindful to the diversification of your staff – if you know that there are some who celebrate different festivities, such as Hanukkah or Bodhi Day, then try and incorporate these into the party in some way. This can be as simple as having a variety of decorations from each faith, or incorporating some fun activities from the different holidays (a menorah ring toss can really bring the competitive spirit!). This will ensure that everyone who is participating feels properly included.
  2. Speaking of participation…not all staff will want to attend a holiday party. Whether that be due to prior engagements, not wanting to be around alcohol or simply being introverted, it is important to emphasise to your team that attendance is not mandatory. That said, making the event as inclusive as possible will result in the best turnout!
  3. Exchanging gifts – many employers may want to do a fun gift exchange – whether that be a game of secret santa or white elephant – and this can be a great way of bringing the team together and bonding over some fun. However, it is important to make this a voluntary venture. With the cost-of-living crisis hitting us all this year, some people may not have the means of participating in extra gift giving, and so ensuring that it is known that this is voluntary will help stifle any shame someone might have about not wanting to play. And, if you are a remote company but still wanted to do a gift exchange, you can participate in White Elephant Online by sharing your screen to still get involved with the fun.
  4. Easy on the eggnog – if you are offering alcohol at your end of year party, be sure to have included a set amount in the budget for safe transportation home for all employees. Whether this be through giving everyone Uber credit or reimbursing for train tickets, leaders have a responsibility to ensure the safety of staff. Similarly, when drinking, be sure to make it clear that a certain level of conduct still needs to be maintained.
  5. Show appreciation – a great addition to any holiday party is for leaders to find a way to show how much they appreciate everything their staff has done for them and the company throughout the year. This can be as simple as giving everyone a card, or a small goody bag. Or, if money is tight, it could be in the form of a fun gimmick – if you are serving food at the party, all the managers could be the servers for the night to flip the hierarchy!
  6. It doesn’t have to be a ‘party’ – an end of year celebration can be expensive, and in financially straining times, it can sometimes be difficult to find the means of putting a party together. But this does not mean you can’t come together in different ways. A great counter option is volunteering as a group at a local food bank or charity – the gift of giving back is always a rewarding one, and can help unite you as a team.

However you end up celebrating with your employees, the best things to take away are to be inclusive to all and to make your team members aware of how much you value them. This is a great opportunity to strengthen interpersonal bonds and bring colleagues closer together, and to let your hair down! If you need advice and/or guidance on hosting your holiday party, you can get in touch with me at brittany@orgshakers.com

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

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