The manager’s guide to office holiday parties

Are you ready for your company Christmas party? Online blogs will often offer tips to employees at this time of year, warning them about the perils of over drinking (or worse) at the office shindig, but what about you? What should a manager do to navigate the often tricky waters of the holiday staff gathering?

Here are six survival tips to help make it a great event. Let’s call it the manager’s guide to office holiday parties:

Make a drop-in option available

Sure, your employees might all get along. They might love having a few drinks together. But a mandatory sit-down dinner, show, cruise, or anything else that makes it necessary to commit to three or four hours will probably lower your attendance rate (and make a lot of people anxious). If the option of coming for an hour and leaving is available, many people, particularly those with kids, will be relieved and appreciative.

Can the 20-minute speeches

Nobody likes a long-winded Christmas toast. Keep it brief (especially if you’ve already had a few drinks). Say thanks for coming, tell everyone they did a great job this year, and wish them a merry Christmas. Keep the year-end review for your next meeting with staff.

Announce good news

Yes, this would be a good time to mention good news related to the company or staff. Research shows that 73 per cent of employees prefer a holiday bonus over any other season perk (such as paid time off or a holiday party) so if you have good news about that, this could be the time to let people know. It would certainly put everyone in a good mood.

Be social

The more introverted among us may prefer sticking to themselves (or other members of the management staff), but it pays to socialize and mingle. This is your chance to get to know staff (especially those that don’t work directly with you) on a personal level, without any of the pressure or demands of work.

“When a manager socializes with his employees, it can create a tighter, more cohesive team, that actually likes being with each other. That goes a long way towards ensuring morale is always high…and when morale is high, productivity tends to be too,” says Shawn D’Souza, a Talent Acquisition Manager in Toronto.

Talk about things other than work

You spend all day talking about work with people. Yes, it’s the easiest go-to subject for small talk, but bringing up a bit of your life outside the office, and asking about theirs, is allowed (some would say even encouraged). Not only does this show you’re human (believe it or not, you are), it lets staff know that you care about them and their future.

“Office parties are a good opportunity to let your guard down, have some fun, and get to know staff. Start with what you like to do on weekends, and then ask what they love to do. This can be a great ice breaker if you’re stuck or looking to steer the conversation away from work,” D’Souza says.

For more on making small talk, check out this video:

Easy on the sauce

You know that employee who drinks a little too much at the holiday party and doesn’t look good? It’s twice as bad for a manager. Research has also shown that alcohol hits you twice as hard at a work party (Yikes!) so proceed with caution when it comes to booze.

There you have it. Keep these tips in mind and have fun!


See also:
Halloween at work: how to celebrate without completely derailing productivity


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