Don't Plan a Stupid Holiday Party


By Neal Glatt

While many managers have come to realize employee appreciation is a key motivational tool (maybe even more than money), many are missing out on opportunities to really deliver on this need when they plan big holiday parties.  Today’s generation has shifting desires, and while many people value quality time, company events are delivering on that need less and less each year.  Here’s how to save a bunch of time, effort, and money this holiday season while making employees feel especially valued:

Want to have this blog in podcast form?  Check it out here.

Employees who value quality time as their primary language of appreciation in the workplace used to want that quality time together as a team or individually with a manager or co-worker.  But younger employees more and more are preferring their quality time away from work and those they work with.  Today, people’s lives are so busy and another obligation is the last thing someone wants, especially during the holiday season.

So instead of a stupid and expensive holiday party, try delivering quality time differently this year.  Maybe someone would like a half day off work to go shop for gifts.  A few hours in the early afternoon may allow them to shop without traffic, kids, or crowds to slow them down like it would in the evenings or on the weekends.  

Or perhaps an employee wants a day to travel to visit relatives earlier than they otherwise would have.  Or maybe it’s traveling back from Thanksgiving on the Monday following the holiday which is much less busy, crowded, and expensive than the Sunday following Thanksgiving.  Would one day of personal time off, or closing the office all together, really make a big difference?  For clients, not likely, but it could mean a lot to the employees who work there.

Quality time may also look like a restaurant gift card for employees to have a nice meal out with their significant other.  For many workers, holidays can be a stressful time when finances are short and enabling that quality connection with someone they love will absolutely mean more than a company get together.

This isn’t to say that bonding as a team isn’t important or can’t be fun, just that it’s often not the best use of resources.  Consider that the best gift of appreciation is the one that really considers what the recipient values most - literally, the thought that counts most.  As employees’ desires change, we should adapt to them to deliver the best we can as managers because what we’ve always done may not be what we should do moving forward.

So with holidays just around the corner, maybe it’s time to chat with your team about what would make them feel most valued before locking in that venue reservation.  You may be surprised at what you hear and how much time, effort, and money you’ll save while making a bigger impact.

Tags: Party , Employee Appreciation , Motivational ,