Planning a Work Holiday Party? 3 Considerations Before Getting Started

Planning a Work Holiday Party? 3 Considerations Before Getting Started

Tis the season for holiday parties and festivities.

You and your team have worked hard this year and in return you think a party with you and their peers will be a welcome token of appreciation. Your enthusiasm could be misguided.

SHRM surveyed HR professionals in 2015 about their intentions as it pertains to holiday parties.  Only 65% of respondents indicated they would be holding holiday parties to end fiscal year 2015. 30% of respondents indicated that they do not have holiday parties.

My personal experience has been holiday parties are fun and a great way to build camaraderie, but you should investigate if your employees feel like attending is more of a burden than a nice night out.

Culture may be an indicator

If your employees don’t like their jobs, the leaders or their co-workers, how likely do you think it is that they will feel a sense of excitement and euphoria attending your soiree? It has been my experience that the companies where culture was terrible experienced the lowest attendance rates where holiday parties are concerned. There are of course the employees that hate everything about your company, but do a drive-by appearance to appear to be a “team player”.

On the other hand, your employees might like you, the company and their co-workers just fine, but they would much rather spend that time after work or on a weekend with their family. Remember all of that hard work you want to reward? Those hours spent in the confines of your company are precious hours spent away from their family and friends. Even in companies I have loved, it was hard for me justify additional time away from the family in the name of gathering with co-workers.

Need convincing that you could be cutting into personal time? The same SHRM survey shows 42% of businesses in 2015 indicated that holiday parties would be kept during “non-business hours and would not be closing early”. That sounds like personal time to me.

What is the solution to all of this?

This is not a manifesto to throw out all celebrations, but rather a wake-up call to take a better look at what you do and what may be preferred by your employees.  Here are some things you can do to get closer to understanding how your employees feel about your yearly holiday parties:

  1. Crowdsource ideas for how you can best spend the holiday party budget. You may end up with some great ideas. Perhaps, your team would rather a more intimate gathering with just your team. Either way, allowing them a say in the process will not only be energizing, but potentially budget-friendly should you find out your parties aren’t crowd favorites.
  2. Consider taking the money and reallocating it into a holiday bonus or additional time off. If there is anything a person needs around the holidays – it is extra cash and time to prepare for the holidays. If your team isn’t over-the-moon about a party allocate holiday time off for shopping or consider giving them some extra dollars for a job well done.
  3. Improve the morale in your company. You will have to accept and respect that some people on your team will only be interested in doing the work and resuming their life with the people they love. There is nothing wrong with this. However, if you want a chance of getting to know your team outside of normal business hours, you will need to convince them that this endeavor is worth their time. Take the time to improve the things that need improvement in your culture. It could not only benefit your team, but also improve your chances of building better rapport with your employees.

The holidays are meant to be fun and joyful. Be sure you are connecting with your employees during this time in a hassle-free, respectful manner.

Janine Truitt
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Janine’s career spans ten years in HR and Talent Acquisition. She is a dynamic speaker, entrepreneur and an important voice bringing business savvy to the discipline of HR. ... Click for full bio

Rosie the Robot, Amazon, and the Future of RAAI

Rosie the Robot, Amazon, and the Future of RAAI

Written by: Travis Briggs, CEO at ROBO Global US

It’s tough to find a kid out there who hasn’t dreamed about robots. Long before artificial intelligence existed in the real world, the idea of a non-human entity that could act and think like a human has been rooted in our imaginations. According to Greek legends, Cadmus turned dragon teeth into soldiers, Hephaestus fabricated tables that could “walk” on their own three legs, and Talos, perhaps the original “Tin Man,” defended Crete. Of course, in our own times, modern storytellers have added hundreds of new examples to the mix. Many of us grew up watching Rosie the Robot on The Jetsons. As we got older, the stories got more sophisticated. “Hal” in 2001: A Space Odyssey was soon followed by R2-D2 and C-3PO in the original Star Wars trilogy. RoboCop, Interstellar, and Ex Machina are just a few of the recent additions to the list.

Maybe it’s because these stories are such a part of our culture that few people realize just how far robotics has advanced today—and that artificial intelligence is anything but a futuristic fantasy. Ask anyone outside the industry how modern-day robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are used in the real world, and the answers are usually pretty generic. Surgical robots. Self-driving cars. Amazon’s Alexa. What remains a mystery to most is the immense and fast-growing role the combination of robotics automation and artificial intelligence, or RAAI (pronounced “ray”), plays in nearly every aspect of our everyday lives.

Today, shopping online is something most of us take for granted, and yet eCommerce is still in its relative infancy. Despite double-digit growth in the past four years, only 8% of total retail spending is currently done online. That number is growing every day. Business headlines in July announced that Amazon was on a hiring spree to add another 50K fulfillment employees to its already massive workforce. While that certainly reflects the shift from brick-and-mortar to web-based retail, it doesn’t even begin to tell the story of what this growth means for the technology and application firms that deliver the RAAI tools required to support the momentum of eCommerce. In 2017, only 5% of the warehouses that fuel eCommerce are even partially automated. This means that to keep up with demand, the application of RAAI will have to accelerate—and fast. In fact, RAAI is a key driver of success for top e-retailers like Amazon, Apple, and Wal-Mart as they strive to meet the explosion in online sales.

From an investor’s perspective, this fast-growing demand for robotics, automation and artificial intelligence is a promising opportunity—especially in logistics automation that includes the tools and technologies that drive efficiencies across complex retail supply chains. Considering the fact that four of the top ten supply chain automation players were acquired in the past three years, it’s clear that the industry is transforming rapidly. Amazon’s introduction of Prime delivery (which itself requires incredibly sophisticated logistics operations) was only made possible by its 2012 acquisition of Kiva Systems, the pioneer of autonomous mobile robots for warehouses and supply chains. Amazon recently upped the ante yet again with its recent acquisition of Whole Foods Market, which not only adds 450 warehouses to its immense logistics network, but is also expected to be a game-changer for the online grocery retail industry.

Clearly Amazon isn’t the only major driver of innovation in logistics automation. It’s just the largest, at least for the moment. It’s no wonder that many RAAI companies have outperformed the S&P500 in the past three years. And while some investors have worried that the RAAI movement is at risk of creating its own tech bubble, the growth of eCommerce is showing no signs of reaching a peak. In fact, if the online retail industry comes even close to achieving the growth predicted—of doubling to an amazing $4 trillion by 2020—it’s likely that logistics automation is still in the early stages of adoption. For best-of-breed players in every area of logistics automation, from equipment, software, and services to supply chain automation technology providers, the potential for growth is tremendous.

How can investors take advantage of the growth in robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence?

One simple way to track the performance of these markets is through the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index. The logistics subsector currently accounts for around 9% of the index and is the best performing subsector since its inception. The index includes leading players in every area of RAAI, including material handling systems, automated storage and retrieval systems, enterprise asset intelligence, and supply chain management software across a wide range of geographies and market capitalizations. Our index is research based and we apply quality filters to identify the best high growth companies that enable this infrastructure and technology that is driving the revolution in the retail and distribution world.

When I was a kid, I may have dreamed of having a Rosie the Robot of my own to help do my chores, but I certainly had no idea how her 21st century successors would revolutionize how we shop, where we shop, and even how we receive what we buy - often via delivery to our doorstep on the very same day. Of course, the use of RAAI is by no means limited to eCommerce. It’s driving transformative change in nearly every industry. But when it comes to enabling the logistics automation required to support a level of growth rarely seen in any industry, RAAI has a lot of legs to stand on—even if those “legs” are anything but human.

To learn more, download A Look Into Logistics Automation, our July 2017 whitepaper on the evolution and opportunity of logistics automation.

The ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation Index and the ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation UCITS Index (the “Indices”) are the property of ROBO who have contracted with Solactive AG to calculate and maintain the Indices. Past performance of an index is not a guarantee of future results. It is not intended that anything stated above should be construed as an offer or invitation to buy or sell any investment in any Investment Fund or other investment vehicle referred to in this website, or for potential investors to engage in any investment activity.
ROBO Global
Robotics and AI
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ROBO Global LLC is the creator of the ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation Index series, which provides comprehensive, transparent and diversified benchmarks representing the ... Click for full bio