Don’t Cut the Christmas Party: Opinion

The global financial crisis is heightening stress on companies and employees, and this year's Christmas party could easily be the first victim to fall to budget constraints.

By Amy Merriman, A List Guide

The global financial crisis is heightening stress on companies and employees, and this year’s Christmas party could easily be the first victim to fall to budget constraints. 

But the 2008 Christmas Party is actually the best opportunity to engage staff in a positive organisational culture — to say thank you and end the year on a high note.

Shaky staff morale is the last thing you need with sales down and budget cuts dominating company agenda. You need your staff engaged and feeling valued to see through the storm. The Christmas party, whether it is as big as the year before or not, should be thought of as an essential tool to close the year off on a positive note.

Underpinned with a healthy dose of fun, a Christmas party is a great platform for staff to reconnect. It is also a great leveller, as there aren’t many other events on the corporate calendar at which the CEO and the guy from the post room are both sent an invite. An effective party promotes a positive culture, which keeps the work force efficient and enthusiastic and is crucial to allow the cogs to continue turning when profits have slowed.

This year organising a stylish and effective end-of-year party with budget constraints to say thank you to your staff is certainly possible. High-end doesn’t always mean high budget. An effective party can be achieved with cleverness and consideration.

The best thing is to get on top of your bookings early. Negotiate your entertainment, catering and venues.  Be creative with your theme and try new things — new venue, a bolder theme, stand-up instead of sit down and secure the most talked about entertainer you can afford.

Five tips for a great End-of-Year Staff Party

1) Encourage responsible drinking: While we all love to let our hair down, ensure you provide light beer and plenty of water. Keep an eye on those disappearing mojitos and forget about shots.

2) Get a professional event manager: Getting someone else to organise your party can save a lot of time and money. The benefits include reduced internal staff costs, greater experience and contacts, more competitive pricing, enhanced creativity and professional outcomes. More often than not, the event management company will be able to secure discounts that add great value to their fee.

3) Choose the right suppliers: Any event is only as good as its suppliers. They need to be impressive, reliable, punctual and damn good at what they do. Professionalism during the quoting and negotiating stage is a key indicator of the quality of work someone is going to deliver.

4) Say thanks: If you are one of the managers or the owner of the company make sure you attend and walk around the party shaking hands and saying thank you. It will do wonders for morale.

5) Not everyone celebrates Christmas: More than likely you have people in your team who don’t celebrate Christmas, so call it the End of Year Celebration or the Thank You party so everyone has a reason to celebrate.

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