Organizing a company holiday party requires diplomacy, planning and skill. It’s also challenging to create a festive atmosphere that balances professional behavior with casual party mode. Here are several rules for human resources professionals to keep in mind when planning an enjoyable and fun holiday office party.
Start by deciding if the party will include office personnel only, or if family members are invited. Most holiday parties give coworkers the chance to network outside of the office, but they’re also a chance to unwind. Inviting spouses or significant others may increase the likelihood that everyone shows up to have a good time.
What’s the Theme?
Are you going for a more sophisticated ambiance, or fun with Santa hats and noisemakers? Your company’s culture and the accepted behavior within this culture will play a role in determining the theme and décor.
What What Will You Serve?
Your company’s culture may also help you decide if you’ll serve alcohol or not. If you decide to serve alcohol, be sure that someone in your department can act as chaperone to ensure no one overindulges. You’ll also need to arrange designated drivers or hire a cab service. While serving alcohol depends on the company, HR organizers must arrange for safe consumption of everyone who attends.
Just as beverages are part of every party, you’ll also need to choose the food you’ll serve. Hire a caterer to serve a buffet or pre-order deli trays from a local grocer.
Where’s the Show?
Book entertainment that matches your party’s theme. The music or entertainment might be a band, DJ or karaoke. Whichever entertainment you choose, make sure it’s upbeat and fun from the party’s start to finish.
Are You Covered?
Accidental trips or falls during the party could lead to liability bills. Purchase short-term liability coverage before renting a party space. Your existing liability insurance might cover accidents that occur during parties held in your office building. Check the policy or talk with your insurance agent to be sure.
Do You Need Contracts?
A verbal contract with a DJ or caterer isn’t enough to ensure these vendor actually show up for the party. When you hire party professionals, sign an agreement that details the payment schedule and cancellation policy. Your party has a better chance of succeeding when you cover your legal bases.
Is It Deductible?
While this tip won’t help everyone have a great time, it ensures everything from the shrimp hors d’oeuvre to the party favors can be deducted on next year’s tax return. The accounting department will thank you when you organize and turn in all the receipts after the party.
As a human resources professional, you’re in charge of organizing the annual holiday party. Create a festive and enjoyable party and consciously balance professional and casual party elements. Enjoy setting set the stage for employees to network together after a year of work.