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:
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.