Should You Have An Office Party?

In an uncertain economy, is the holiday office party worth the price tag?

A new survey by The Creative Group shows a majority (52 percent) of advertising and marketing executives believe the annual corporate shindig is a good investment. Nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of respondents disagreed, and an equal number said their firms don’t have holiday celebrations. For firms that will be decking the office halls, the biggest draw is being able to mingle with coworkers, according to more than half (53 percent) of those interviewed. The national study was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service providing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on 500 telephone interviews — approximately 375 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 125 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees. Advertising and marketing executives were asked, “In your opinion, do you think your year-end office holiday party is worth the money your agency/firm invests in it?” Their responses:
Yes 52%
No 24%
My company doesn’t have a holiday party 24%

Advertising and marketing executives whose companies hold a year-end holiday party also were asked, “What do you think is the most common reason employees attend your agency’s/firm’s year-end holiday party?” Their responses:

To socialize with colleagues 53%
Free food and entertainment 29%
Obligation 9%
To network with higher-ups 8%
*Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

“The extra work employees have put in these past few years isn’t lost on the majority of executives,” said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. “Organizing an end-of-year party shows people their contributions are appreciated and provides a chance for staff to relax and enjoy each others’ company.”

Added Farrugia, “Although some organizations may have limited resources, a holiday gathering doesn’t have to be extravagant to be a hit among employees.”

The Creative Group offers five tips for hosting a successful holiday bash on any budget:

  1. Ask for input. Invite your team to suggest a theme or location for the event. After all, they have the best handle on the types of activities and venues they’ll enjoy most.
  2. Time it right. Weekends in December book up fast for employees and location sites might not have availability. Consider scheduling the event in late November or on a weekday during or immediately after work hours; and give staff plenty of notice so they can “save the date.”
  3. Build party buzz. Generate excitement by sending out periodic e-mails or including mentions of the upcoming soiree in your company’s internal newsletter. Encourage interested employees to help promote the event and plan the décor.
  4. Play games. Don’t be afraid to break out board games or stage a Guitar Hero contest during the party. These types of activities are a great way to encourage interaction among staff, spark some friendly competition and even elicit a few laughs.
  5. Express your appreciation. Reserve a few minutes during the event to verbally thank employees for their hard work and loyalty throughout the year. While you don’t want to engage in too much “shop talk,” you should let your team know how valuable they are to you.