Christmas parties – An excuse for staff to behave badly or a vital tool for internal comms?

Last night was the jag press & publicity team’s annual Christmas bash and we actually don’t have too many sore heads in the office this morning. That’s probably because we are a very well behaved bunch of course!

The lack of hangovers got me thinking – what is a Christmas party really for and do we need to rate its success on the number of green-faced staff that appear (or not) the morning after?

Yes staff Christmas parties are notorious for inappropriate behaviour, copious amounts of alcohol and nights that are memorable for all the wrong reasons, yet we still have them year upon year.

From an HR perspective Christmas parties are crucial for staff reward and team building. But I also think comms teams should be thinking about their function above and beyond reward and team building.

In the current economic environment, where job losses are on the up and budgets are tight, the Christmas party budget must remain intact and here’s why:

Christmas parties are a great way to communicate a company ‘thank you’ to staff that just can’t be sent via the Intranet or a company newsletter. The Christmas party also provides a great place for staff communication. It’s rare that people can get together outside of their teams and actually talk to each other and hear in detail about what everyone in the company is up to.

Staff have the opportunity to sit and actually talk to senior management and share a drink with the company director – someone they may never even see throughout the year (depending on company size of course).

The staff party can also be useful to ‘read’ staff mood/morale. How are they feeling? Is there more we could be doing to engage them?

Getting all staff together in one place to celebrate the company’s achievements is a good way of recognising and rewarding contribution over the previous 12 months and engaging employees in the current agenda.

Our advice is to make the most of that budget and use it for more than the annual drink up to make staff happy.

Merry Christmas to all our clients from jag press & publicityHere are some ideas for how you can use the party to celebrate but also communicate with your staff:

  • Dish out some awards – staff will be happy and everyone is there to recognise their achievements
  • Run through company achievements while you have everyone in the same place
  • Ask all different departments to do an update of the year’s achievements at the beginning of the evening – best not wait to the end!
  • Celebrate new business or profits
  • Welcome new staff so everyone knows who they are
  • Talk to each other – seat people outside of their teams to inspire communication.

The annual Christmas company bash can be so much more than just an opportunity to party. Use it to your advantage and communicate with your staff and of course, enjoy celebrating!

Happy Christmas and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year to all.

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