Forget the calendar! December isn’t the only month for company parties. One of my clients holds his company party after all the hoopla has died down. Instead of going for insanity with major deadlines and other demands on his staff, he simply has the party in January.
You don’t need fancy toys for a productive workplace.
It’s easy to look at places like Zappos or Google and see how they have video games, nap rooms or other fun perks. People take their cues from the leadership style of the business owner (CEO, president, etc). If you believe that you can have a profitable and human-centered organisation, it behooves you to throw a party.
Five reasons to have a company party:
1. Meaningful expression of your organizational culture– For small to mid-sized businesses, there isn’t as much distance between the employees and the decision maker(s). The type of party, venue and behaviour people exhibit communicate the prevailing culture.
2. Team building- Parties are opportunities to have different conversations. You and your staff may discover that Mary plays football every Tuesday evening or that John can quote lines from any movie. Having a good laugh with one another is hugely beneficial. According to research, it is effective for rapport building.
3. Small gatherings marks milestones- When a big deadline has been met, it might be tempting to acknowledge it via email or verbal acknowledgement. Eating together as a team reminds them they are in this together and emphasises that progress is being made. As their leader, you affirm their hard work. For more on this, check out Corporate Celebration Play, Purpose and Profit At Work by Terrence Deal and M. K. Key.
4. Natural opportunities to network. At a past employer, we had a potluck barbecue. It gave us a natural conversation starter as we waited for food to cook. Sure, there is always that table of people who won’t talk with anyone else. On the other hand, the business owner can introduce a few people to one another and encourage others to do the same.
5. Fun- Fun is underrated in business and any business can be a fun place. Create big or small opportunities to have fun. There are no rules. A party can be a barbecue in the car park, sandwiches in the staff room or a soiree in a fancy venue.
Other party tips worth mentioning
There are some concerns with company parties. Cost can be an issue. Keep in mind that it can be breakfast or sandwiches. Hold a luncheon (or after-hours meal) where everyone brings their best dish from home. Or have a black tie event with a band and open bar. If you’re concerned about bad behaviour or safety, plan a different sort of get-together that doesn’t have alcoholic beverages. One last tip, make it possible for any off-site staff to either attend the physical event or set up a special event for them via Skype, conference call or intranet social network.
That is really what parties do. We spend so much of our lives working. According to PeopleMetrics, the cost of employee disengagement is too high. Consider what under-performance may be costing your organisation. Or worse, that one employee is telling another employee how horrible it is to work for you. Most company mission statements talk about being best-in-class and demonstrating core values. Business owners who spend time with their employees set a foundation of loyalty, meaning and purpose. When a leader forms a community with the employees, excellence and high performance are expressed. People are invested in one another.
What would happen if you led an organisation where people actually didn’t mind working together and maybe even liked one another?
What types of successful company parties or gatherings have you experienced?