Throw a Holiday Party Employees Will Want to Attend

Speaking of holidays, it’s time to begin thinking about parties… Every company should throw a holiday party to reward employees for their hard work throughout the year. Yet time and time again, it seems like despite your best efforts, no one wants to actually come. Follow this guide to turn your holiday work party to into an event your employees are excited for—rather than dreading to attend.

Send Out a Poll
Sometimes, it’s not a matter of not wanting to go, but an issue over schedule conflicts. Find a day that suits everyone’s calendar by sending out a poll far enough in advance. Ask your staff to indicate their day of preference, or to mark which days they have other engagements. These polls are easy to create, and take no time at all to open via email and make a quick selection.  You can take your poll a step further by suggesting possible ideas for venues, activities, food, or themes. Let your employees’ voices be heard to ensure a better turnout. Once the time and date are finalized, be sure to send out a reminder as the party gets closer.

Pick a Place
After an eight-hour day of work, it’s unlikely your employees will want to stick around even longer to play a few tacky games. A better choice is to find a venue outside of the office to get people together and away from their desks. Local restaurants, bars, ice rinks, and reception areas all make great choices. If the place of your choosing isn’t already decorated, be sure to set up holiday decorations to set the mood. When picking your venue, there are a few important things to keep in mind. If you’re on a tight budget, be sure to consider price and space size. Another important factor is proximity to work. Can your staff walk or carpool? Will you need a rideshare service or can you hire a bus to depart from the office? Such seemingly small details can greatly affect your attendance rate.

Food and Drink
Determine how you’re going to feed your guests. Will you be going buffet-style or encouraging a potluck? Does the venue provide food with a sit-down dinner service and floating appetizers, or do you need catering? Everyone loves to eat, so the fare needs to be among your top priorities. No matter which direction you choose, remember that holiday cookies are always a must. And let’s face it, your employees are going to want a few libations to liven up the party. If there’s no alcohol present, they’re more than likely to sneak a flask or two. The better option will be to bring them to a space that serves alcohol on-site to ensure safe drinking. Open bars can be costly, so consider instead allotting each employee with a certain number of pre-paid drink tickets.

Don’t Forget the Entertainment
With bellies full and taps pouring, your employees will be ready to have some fun. Avoid the typical sounds of the season such as the low-key Frank Sinatra or overplayed holiday songs, and instead opt for some high-energy beats. Find the music junkie in your office and ask for one of his or her awesome Spotify playlists. If it’s in your budget, consider hiring a DJ or live entertainment. A dance floor may or may not get used, but it’s a great option to have just in case. Make the event more festive by encouraging your staff to wear ugly Christmas sweaters. Games can be fun, but they can also fail miserably. Avoid playing pin the nose on Rudolph and instead set up a secret Santa or white elephant gift exchange.

Speaking of Gifts…
One of the best ways to drive the attendance rate is to incentivize your staff. Holidays can be a cumbersome time of year and your employees are sure to appreciate any bonus they might receive. If bonuses aren’t within your budget, consider getting your staff a holiday gift or goodie bag instead. At the very least, be sure to give them a simple thank you card. This recognition will boost morale, build team spirit, and encourage your team to work hard in the year to come.

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