tips to plan your office holiday party.

  • career advice
  • December 04, 2017

While office holiday parties are an established tradition at most companies, they can be a source of anxiety for those planning and executing the event. But don’t worry — Ranstad can help you plan the perfect office party on any budget. Here are four tips for a stress-free and successful shindig this holiday season.

poll your people.

Holidays are all about inclusiveness, and you want to cater to the diverse tastes and needs of all of your employees. For starters, including vegetarian choices on the menu is a no-brainer. But how can you really get a read on all of the dietary needs of employees at your organization? The answer: Poll them by creating a quick email survey about employees’ food preferences using Google Forms. This survey can be as simple or complex as you wish, but it’s a good idea to include a response space where employees can list dietary restrictions, like lactose intolerance or food allergies. Asking employees will help you not only plan out and order the right portions, it’ll also keep partygoers healthy and safe.

pick a good cause.

Holidays are also the season of giving — and an accumulating body of scientific literature suggests that doing good makes people feel good, so put a good cause at the center of your celebration. Using a poll will help you choose one that matters most to employees. After you’ve decided on the right cause or charity to sponsor, try to set up a raffle or fundraiser. You might even consider breaking employees into teams to foster healthy competition and cross-functional collaboration. Beyond the actual good you’ll be doing, all of these efforts will help build excitement and momentum for the company’s holiday party.

on-site or off?

The decision to host the company’s holiday party at the office has solid logistical (it’s easy) and budgetary (it’s free) backing. However, you’ll need to plan ahead to successfully manage the transition between when work ends and when the party begins. Decorations help, but so would a welcome statement from the company’s founder or another member of senior leadership. This statement, which should thank employees for all their hard work during the year and set expectations about the party to come, will help support a successful transition.

Some companies elect to host their holiday parties at venues away from the office, like a nearby bar or restaurant. While turning colleagues into friends won’t happen overnight, moving the holiday party to a more casual environment — one that doesn’t remind employees of their daily work responsibilities — can help people loosen up, branch out and make new connections. If you have the budget for an off-site venue, try to scout out a destination in your area that matches your company’s brand in some way, like a restaurant with a certain theme or color palette that resonates with your company.

avoid a party fail.

Whether an uninvited guest shows up or you run out of food too soon, party fouls may happen. But when office holiday parties completely fail, alcohol is almost always the primary culprit. While an open bar may be an exciting attraction for employees — one which they feel generously rewards their hard work and temperance the rest of the year — it can also be a recipe for disaster. Before deciding whether to serve alcohol, think long and hard about the culture and values of your company and consult with HR and members of senior leadership. Though certain companies and industries — we’ve all seen Mad Men — may be more inclined than others to take a liberal approach to drinking at their office holiday parties, it goes without saying that you should provide appealing non-alcoholic beverage options, too.

Find out the moment opportunities become available by signing up for Randstad's job alerts. Just tell us the kind of position you want, and we'll email you when we find it.