After the big Thanksgiving weekend it’s time to return to work and settle in to year-end activities. The weeks in from Thanksgiving to New Years bring frenetic activity to finish everything that is due before December 31st. In between work responsibilities and buying holiday gifts we pause to celebrate the season at holiday parties.
This year company holiday parties are very likely to look a lot different than last year. For almost 20% of businesses there won’t be any holiday party. This statistic was included in Battalia Winston’s Annual Survey on Corporate Holiday Celebrations that reported the lowest percentage of companies planning parties in the 20 years they have asked the question. Respondents also described cost cutting in the celebrations that will be held. A survey high of 90% of companies planned on serving alcoholic beverages in 2000; this year the number is down to 71%.
It’s no surprise that parties will be rare or minimal in many financial services companies. In any organization that has experienced mass layoffs it would be tough for the survivors to laugh, joke and celebrate the year over a few drinks.
If it is still within your budget don’t skip the holiday party just to make a statement. There could be plenty of reasons for good will and personal thank you statements. The camaraderie of a party can reinforce the reasons and relationships that make work effective. But don’t have a party just because you always do. Canvass your own employees to identify the best way to celebrate. The most recent Vault Holiday Party Survey found that 31% of employees describe company holiday parties as “a good time,” while 17% dread the event. A whopping 51% feel the company holiday party is okay. How much money should you spend on okay?
Devoting the holiday celebration to charity can be a good alternative. Companies can use their energy to host a party for the needy or less fortunate. The Battalia survey found that 74% of companies plan to participate in holiday season giving that ranges from donating money and clothing to volunteering.
There are lots of ways to save money if you are looking for ways to host a company holiday party on a more reasonable scale. The most obvious ones are location, food and beverage. Employees won’t be surprised to see more mini hot dogs and fewer shrimp. The veggies and dip don’t have to be exotic and main course choices can be limited. Alcoholic beverages can be restricted to a few types or even hours. Caterers can be very creative when they are given a choice between losing the business and cutting the cost of a menu.
The date and time of a gathering can also affect costs. Party prices may be lower early in the week or at lunch time. Organizations that can’t take a break before Christmas may hold their holiday party in January or even February. The old standby pot luck celebration can be dressed up with dessert or wine and held with short notice at a convenient time and place.
There is a lot of room between a lavish party and the event planned by Scrooge. What steps is your company taking to celebrate the season in good taste during a tough time?