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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Why Lasting Change Is Hard
Before we had any children, my wife and I lived in the heart of Dallas. One day, on our way back to our house, we were driving down Skillman Avenue when we were caught in a sudden torrential downpour.
The rain was coming down incredibly hard, which wouldn’t have been a problem if the storm drains were equipped to handle that much water. Instead, the road itself filled with water faster than we could have anticipated. Quickly, the water rose up the side of our car. Trying not to panic, we realized that we could not continue and would need to turn around and get to higher ground.
Water rising up the side of your car door is the kind of roadblock you might not expect to encounter, but when you do, it’s formidable. We couldn’t drive through it or even around it. We had to deal with it quickly or face serious consequences.
When we’re trying to implement change in our own lives, it’s important to identify and plan for common roadblocks to lasting change.
The first and, in my opinion, most important roadblock to lasting change is not addressing the real issue.
Let’s say you wake up in the middle of the night with a sore throat. You’re annoyed by feeling sick but your throat really hurts, so you get up and spray a little Chloraseptic in your mouth and drift off to sleep. When you wake up the next day, you still have a sore throat, so you pop in a cough drop and go about your day.
The change you’re making – using a numbing agent – might work if you’ve only got a cold, but if it’s strep throat, you’re not addressing the real problem. Only an antibiotic will cure what ails you, even if Chloraseptic will keep the pain at bay for a while.
Just like how more information is needed to diagnose your sore throat than one feeling, problems you encounter in your life or business require diagnostics, too. Figuring out the real problem – not just your most apparent needs – requires some introspection and a little bit of time.
Here are eight questions to ask when you need to discover the root cause, courtesy of MindTools.com:
- What do you see happening?
- What are the specific symptoms?
- What proof do you have that the problem exists?
- How long has the problem existed?
- What is the impact of the problem?
- What sequence of events leads to the problem?
- What conditions allow the problem to occur?
- What other problems surround the occurrence of the central problem?
Once you have your answers to these key questions, you can’t stop there. Your vantage point is skewed from your own perspective. You’re going to want to ask someone else to evaluate the problem at hand with the same questions and then compare your answers.
If you and all of the partners at your firm have similar answers, you’ll know you’re on the right track. If you wind up with wildly different ideas, I suggest seeking the advice of someone outside your organization. Fresh eyes can make all the difference in understanding a problem.
I often talk about being ‘too close’ to understand. You’ve probably heard the illustration about a group of people standing by an elephant with blindfolds on, trying to describe what they’re experiencing. Depending on what part of the elephant you’re next to, you’re going to have different observations.
But someone outside of that elephant’s cage can clearly identify the elephant.
The first key to making a lasting change is to make sure you’ve addressed the real problem and are looking for authentic change.
Next time, we’ll address the second major roadblock to creating last change.
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