Holiday parties are popular during this time of year, but sometimes it’s not possible to have a big holiday party, or the idea of a holiday party doesn’t work in the culture of your office or company. Sometimes small companies try to remedy this by having an in-office party, or last-minute potluck lunches, which can be inconvenient, pose issues for food storage and really are just plain unexciting for those involved.
Other times, the CEO announces an offsite holiday party on a night that often conflicts with other holiday parties that employees may be attending. Offsite holiday parties also carry their own risks, from having to ensure no one overindulges, to providing and paying for enough for all employees. Rather than bringing covered dishes or worrying about scheduling an expensive party when everyone can attend, consider some alternatives to hosting a holiday party when you want to show appreciation to your employees.
Order a Catered Lunch
A catered meal is usually an event that most people look forward to attending. When you hire a fantastic, professional caterer, you get consistency and food that is properly prepared and stored (as opposed to dishes from home.) Get input from employees concerning the type of catered foods they enjoy. You might find that finger foods and lighter fare will allow employees to eat and mingle will be more appreciated than a heavy sit-down meal and will allow for everyone to mingle more. Consider adding a champagne toast, so employees can truly get in the spirit.
Give Your Employees Some Time Off During the Holidays
Regardless of how your employees celebrate their holidays, there is never enough time to get everything done. Never underestimate the value of an employee being able to take two hours of bonus paid-time-off to shop or take care of other business during the holidays. Just two hours can make all the difference in the world to an employee who has multiple family responsibilities. A financial incentive such as cash or a gift card will make the time off even more appreciated!
Host a Team Building Day
A team building day does not have to be filled with climbing walls or activities like building the tallest tower using drinking straws and tape. Do something fun and innovative like hiring a professional chef to offer a food demonstration and tasting session. You still have the party atmosphere with the food, but employees taste several dishes and get recipes that they can use to make the same food at home. Find a chef that has diverse skills and can prepare traditional and ethnic foods. Your employees will be talking positively about his activity for a long time because it’s so unique and engaging.
Give Your Employees an Opportunity to Pay it Forward
Take the money that you would spend on a holiday party, divide it among employees, and challenge them to share it with someone who is in need. Employees might combine the resources you give them and adopt a family to purchase foods and gifts for during the holidays. Another idea is to partner with a non-profit organization or social services agency and plan a day for your employees to shop for items to donate to families and individuals served by the agency.
At many workplaces, managers and staff become accustomed to the typical holiday lunch or dinner because no one has ever asked employees to share their opinions regarding other options. Before you plan your traditional holiday lunch this year, ask your staff for suggestions for alternatives to hosting a holiday party. You might find that employees have been waiting for the opportunity to suggest something new and different.