Celebrating the holidays with your team is an essential tool for bonding with your employees and helping them forge stronger relationships with one another. As a manager or business owner, it might also seem like a lot of work to take on over your existing responsibilities, especially when you consider the variables. If you want to put together a more successful holiday party this year, consider the following tips.
Give back to your community
A great way to make an office gathering feel more unique and purposeful is to structure it to benefit a local cause or organization. Susan M. Heathfield of The Balance Careers notes that holiday parties can be a great opportunity to build morale and increase a sense of teamwork, which you can do by giving your team a goal to achieve together outside of your day-to-day operations.
You can task them with donating clothing to local shelters, gathering canned goods for your nearest food banks or raising money for a worthy cause with a bake sale. Establish a number for them to hit in order to earn a particular prize, like an extra day of vacation or cash bonuses. This not only helps your business give back to the community, but it gives you a template to follow each year that will have your employees working together to best their own records from years past.
It’s important to remember that your employees have different beliefs, and that any celebration you have for your entire office should be both voluntary and representative of that wider tapestry. Holding a party in December that focuses too strongly on the trappings of Christmas, for example, will ultimately isolate and exclude those who celebrate Hanukkah, Pancha Ganapati, Kwanzaa or who choose not to observe any holiday.
Simma Lieberman, writing for The Balance Careers, suggests taking the time before setting up a seasonal party to research the different holidays that take place during that time of year. If you feel comfortable asking, and your team feels comfortable sharing, consider speaking with employees on an individual basis to learn what they celebrate, how they tend to celebrate and what aspects of the season make it special. Using this information, you can craft a holiday that celebrates a wide variety of beliefs. Or, if you would prefer to delegate, Susan Milligan of the Society for Human Resource Management suggests creating a party-planning committee that consists of people from different faiths and those without religious affiliation.
Alternatively, you can opt to celebrate a different holiday altogether. Rather than having a holiday in December when venues run at a premium, Heathfield suggests scheduling parties around the founding date of the company or holding a party any time during the year that’s built around a fun theme. However, whatever or whenever you decide to celebrate, it’s important that diversity influence your planning, whether it’s ensuring that you offer appropriate meal options or choosing secular decorations.
By focusing on diversity and finding alternative means for celebrating together, you can ensure that your business’ holiday party will go off without a hitch.