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Why your holiday party sucks

Topics: Growth, Retention
Crystal Spraggins, SPHR Thanksgiving is over, and that means we’re all free to focus on those other upcoming holidays—whatever they might be for you.

Thanksgiving is over, and that means we’re all free to focus on those other upcoming holidays—whatever they might be for you.

And as part of the celebrations, most of us will be attending the ubiquitous company “holiday party.” Many of us will have a good time, but quite a few of us won’t.

Here’s why your office party might be more of a “miss” than a “hit.”

You got the logistics all wrong

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A recent infographic by Tiny Prints, known for its “chic and modern stationery and photo cards for all life occasions,” found that employees prefer dress-code “dressy casual” parties offsite, during the week, and with significant others in tow. Planning a posh, formal affair on a Saturday night—no non-employees welcome? Hmmm …

You have an open, unlimited bar

I bet you’re wondering what could be wrong with free drinks all around? Well, out-of-control, punch-drunk employees is what’s wrong. Not everyone drinks alcohol, and even those who do indulge every now and again don’t necessarily like spending time with others who’ve clearly had too much. If your party includes alcohol, make sure to provide plenty of Hors d’oeuvres (so people who’ve been waiting to eat all day don’t drink on an empty stomach), consider eschewing hard liquor, and shut down the goodies an hour or so before folks will be heading home.

Your party is sending mixed messages

Employees can be acutely aware of the difference between how they’re treated on a daily basis and the messaging of your annual shindig. If you’ve touted the party as a way of demonstrating how much you value your employees (and who doesn’t say that about their party?), but that message flies in the face of what workers experience regularly in your employ, some partiers are bound to be party poopers. And no, I’m not suggesting you stop giving parties—I’m merely pointing out that your bashes will be more enjoyable for all when they’re a reflection of what employees already know about you, rather than a contradiction to it.

Other considerations

That infographic by Tiny Prints also demonstrated that 79% of employees enjoy the holiday party, while 67% report improved team dynamics, and 75% report improved office friendships. These are good reasons to continue your tradition.

Office holiday celebrations are a time for relaxation and fun. They’re also a time to show you care. Don’t lessen the impact of your demonstrations by picking the wrong time and place to party, not taking proper precautions to mitigate the risks associated with alcohol use, and expecting your annual event to forgive a year’s worth of managerial missteps.

Happy Holidays!

Crystal Spraggins
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KarenLOUELLA JACKSONKMV Recent comment authors
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This article was right on point. How do we convey this to the Executives in the Corporate Office. Holiday Parties at our location are painful. We can’t wait for them to be over and out of the 100 give or take employees only 25 show up and that includes Corporate who are actually in the office and have to participate because the holiday party is an Open House.

Baaa Humbug


Great feedback and insight! Always looking for creative ways to accomplish the above objectives. Would you suggest an internal poll or survey to gauge our own employees for better insight into their likes/dislikes, view of the event, etc?

Thank you!

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