Office holiday parties– are they an indulgence or a morale booster? It’s a question I am asked frequently by clients.
At The Bagg Group, we know from years of interviewing A-level talent that candidates are seeking workplaces that not only provide professional opportunities, but also a congenial environment. And employees are far more likely to stick with a team, through thick and thin, that has fun together.
But this year, many companies are concerned that fun doesn’t fit into their budget. According to an October 2009 Reuters survey of 100 companies in the US, only 62% are planning to hold a holiday party, which is down from 77% last year. Two years ago, as many as 90% of surveyed companies were partying the night away.
Certainly, times have changed, but it’s not best practice to take on the role of The Grinch this year.
Many of The Bagg Group clients across the GTA have told our staffing solution experts that they are concerned it would appear uncaring to hold a seasonal blow-out in this era of wage freezes and cut-backs. However, we know that now, more than ever, people need the opportunity to de-stress.
And while it’s true that this is not the year for flashy extravagances, even small gestures at this time can go a long way to lifting spirits.
New research from Britain shows that human resource professionals there feel that despite the recession, the party must go on-albeit on the cheap. Marketwire reports that at many British companies, employees are planning to bring their own bubbly to the office to make toasts. And rather than outsource catering and DJs, employees with talents are being recruited to provide food and entertainment.
A number of top employers in the GTA are doing likewise. It doesn’t matter what you do, just consider doing something to mark the holidays, even if it’s simply a pot luck lunch. It’s a great occasion to mingle with all employees-and our recruiters know a friendly conversation, which is not about business for a change, can go a long way to reinforcing good feelings in the hallways.
But remember, at an office party, friendly means neighborly, not intimate or indiscreet. The comedian Phyllis Diller once quipped, “What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.” And as recruiters in the business for over 30 years, we’ve fielded calls from more than one candidate following a party blooper.
Whatever your holiday celebration proves to be, may it be a great reminder that the company of colleagues is worthy of a toast.