With the holidays right around the corner, now is the time to start planning your office holiday party. Don’t discredit the value of these parties. Yes, companies have been using office holiday parties for years to show their appreciation to the workforce and to spread a little holiday cheer. The reality, however, is that these parties, when done correctly, also have the power to boost employee engagement, improve workplace morale, and enhance the overall employee experience.
At a time when the number of employees who feel engaged in the workplace is around 34 percent, it’s vital for businesses to use every opportunity – including the annual office party – to boost engagement. The best way to do that is to plan a fun office party that the workers will remember for weeks to come.
Here’s a look at some fun ideas for your next office holiday party.
1. Plan a virtual Secret Santa party
A recent study revealed that 66 percent of workers would quit if they felt unappreciated at work. This statistic shows how important it is to create a culture of recognition in the workplace, and you can use your upcoming holiday office party to do just that. Plan a virtual Secret Santa party. Have everyone in the office draw names a few weeks before the party. Encourage your staff to play Santa by sending notes of encouragement and meaningful recognition to their chosen coworker via the company’s employee recognition platform. You can reveal Secret Santas at the party. While this is a fun idea that everyone will enjoy, it will also teach your team the value of both giving and receiving recognition.
2. Organize an Employee Appreciation Day
Instead of hosting your traditional office party, why not organize an Employee Appreciation Day to show your staff just how valuable they are to the company. Make the day all about the workers. Consider hosting a spa day and renting some massage chairs or hiring a masseuse for the day, having a pizza party or make-your-own sundae bar, planning a Breakfast of Champions morning event, or any other fun ideas that will show your employees how much you appreciate everything they do for the company.
3. Arrange an awards ceremony
Not only are awards ceremonies fun to plan and host, they provide an opportunity to recognize your best employees. You can give achievement awards, such as Top Salesperson or Employee of the Year, or make them funny, such as the Early Bird Award or Office Prankster. The important thing is to make sure the awards are meaningful and align with the company goals and values. If done right, this can quickly become an annual event that your employees look forward to during the holidays.
4. Get out of the office
There’s no reason to limit your office holiday party to the office. Instead, consider taking your holiday party elsewhere. Arrange to have your staff go to a local escape room to challenge their teamwork abilities, plan a party at the local bowling alley, organize a scavenger hunt, or rent out the local movie theater for the night. The ideas are limitless. Consider sending out an employee survey to determine where your employees would like to have this year’s holiday party.
5. Hold a holiday competition
Friendly holiday competitions are a great way to make sure everyone is included in the fun. Ideas like a door decorating contest, gingerbread house building, ugly sweater competition, talent shows, bake-off competitions are all fun ways to get your team involved. Tie the competition into your upcoming holiday party by making having judges and announcing the winners as part of the celebration.
6. Have a challenge that encourages good behavior
In the weeks leading up to your office holiday party, encourage your employees to catch their co-workers going above and beyond for the company. Tie this challenge into the office party by having a Santa's workshop at the event that offers rewards to the employees who were caught being good. For example, your employees can earn points when they are “caught being good” and then trade these points in for rewards. This activity allows employees to recognize good deeds leading up to the holidays and encourages this type of behavior.
7. Collect holiday wish lists
As a business leader, you may know what’s on the company’s wish list – but do you know what’s on your employees’ wish lists? Probably not. Use the holiday time to gather feedback from your workers. Several weeks before the holiday party, ask your workers to create a holiday wish list that includes changes they would like to see in the workplace, ideas they have for improvements, or goals they have for the upcoming year. Compile a list of the most common “wishes” and reveal the top ideas at the holiday party. Continue by discussing ways in which the company will work to make these wishes become a reality. This step will not only help you gather valuable employee feedback, but it will also show your team that you’re listening.
8. Help your workers give back
The holidays are as much about giving as receiving, and studies show that employees like when their employers give back to the community. In fact, a recent study showed that more than half of those surveyed said that they would not work for a company that isn’t committed to helping with social or environmental causes. Use the holidays to show your company’s commitment to the community. Consider matching employees’ contributions to a local charity, or hosting a volunteer event, such as serving food at the local soup kitchen or taking gifts to kids at a local shelter. Individual donations are great - but when pulled together it can make a major impact that makes everyone feel good.
9. Think outside the box
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when planning your office holiday party. After all, these types of events are often the most memorable. Things like a sumo wrestling competition, board game marathon, holiday Family Feud (by departments), and food truck catering are all ideas that can make your office holiday party fun and memorable. The important thing is to make sure you choose events that promote employee engagement and ones where everyone can be involved.
10. Consider hosting a themed party
Themed parties are not only fun, but they can make planning a lot easier. Themes like casino night, Game of Thrones night, 80s flashback, and murder mystery night can be fun and entertaining. Encourage your workers to dress up and have theme-related food and activities for everyone to do. Don’t forget to hire a photo booth for the party to ensure you capture plenty of memories of the epic event.
Planning an office holiday party does take time and resources, but the benefits of improved employee engagement and workplace morale, are well worth the efforts. The most important thing is to make sure you plan a party that enables everyone to get involved.
Learn more about how to spread employee appreciation all year round by accessing our e-book, "The Power of Employee Appreciation."
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