For most people, Christmas is an exciting time of the year – even at work!
There’s usually a happier feeling around the place and everyone feels a lot more generous.
But what about Christmas parties?
While splashing out on a top Xmas do for your staff might be classed as a great move on the whole, there are a lot of ways it can badly misfire too.
I’ve put together some top mistakes which you may want to avoid when planning yours.
Failing to recognise your end goal
This may sound a little serious for a festive celebration, but as an employer, there should always be a reason behind this super fun party.
You should ask yourself:
- Why do you put on a Christmas party?
- Do you only do it because it’s the normal thing for a business to do?
- Is it just a tradition?
Now, I’m not trying to put you off having a Christmas do altogether.
In fact, I believe it’s a key way to build a winning company culture.
What I mean is that you should consider why you want to do it in the first place.
For example, if you want to reward your employees for all their hard work, it might be worth handing out awards and celebrating their amazing achievements over the year.
Alternatively, if you just want to give them an opportunity to let their hair down after a stressful past 12 months, focus on the fun side instead of making it about work.
In this case, you should help your employees detach themselves from their common associations of work.
If you forget about why you’re doing it, you may end causing the team morale to take a negative dip.
Forget what your employees like
This is arguably one of the biggest mistakes you can make when planning a Christmas party.
Just think, if you decide to throw a wild night out for a team of introverted professionals who prefer something quieter, you’ll make them feel extremely uncomfortable.
Or if you have a team of millennials who are body conscious and into hipster bars, taking them to a chain restaurant probably won’t really tickle their pickle.
You must also consider the dress code.
So if most of your employees are on minimum wage, asking them to spend out on a new tux or dress for a formal Christmas do probably isn’t very fair.
One of the best ways to get around this is to simply ask your team what they’d like to do.
Perhaps give them a few options to pick from or nominate a party leader to gather the ideas for you.
At least you’ll then know what they’ll be comfortable and happy with.
Splashing out on unnecessary things
This point all comes down to how big your budget is.
So if you’re working to a relatively modest one, don’t offer an open bar or start buying ice sculpture luges just to impress your employees.
Ask yourself: do you need three courses at dinner?
Or can you just have one and then do something else?
Have you checked with the venue to see what they’ll cater and whether you really need some of their extra services?
Once you’ve established what everyone wants to do, you’ll know what’s important to them.
So if they fancy a boozy night, focus more on the drinks than the food.
Or alternatively, if they’d prefer a proper Christmas meal, minimise the alcohol budget and focus on making the meal particularly memorable by picking a nicer venue.
Forgetting about the marketing opportunity
When you’re planning a Christmas do, have you ever considered the aftermath?
No, I’m not talking about the awkward snogs, I’m referring to the online buzz it can have via social media.
You see, potential new clients or customers don’t want to see a load of pictures of your staff drunk in some grungy club downtown.
However, a fancy venue and your team dressed up will certainly paint a positive image.
It could even play a huge part in attracting new candidates to apply for positions at your business further down the line.
After all, nobody wants to work for a company who doesn’t treat their staff well.
You can then use these pictures and videos via social media or on your website going forward.
Leaving it too late
If you haven’t started preparing your Christmas party at least two months before, you might start to struggle to find the right venue within your budget.
It may seem strange (and a little wrong), but always look to sort it out in the summer.
Then at least you’ll give your employees something exciting to look forward to!
When choosing a venue, consider these points mentioned by Eventbrite:
- Do they have their own sound system?
- Do they have a DJ?
- Can they provide a dance floor?
- Do they have an outside terrace?
- Will the venue be exclusive to you?
- Do they charge a venue hire fee or minimum spend?
- Do they have their own dedicated event manager to support you?
- Do they have bedrooms so guests can opt to stay if they wish?
Once you’ve considered these elements, you might find it a lot easier to choose.
The key to Christmas party success is to get your employees involved.
If you ask them exactly what they want, at least you won’t have to worry about doing something boring.
Get it right and you can improve team morale, form stronger relationships within the team and even increase productivity – as employees want to work for a company who invests in them.