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Business Consultants Discuss Ditching Holiday Parties

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Increasing employee productivity is important all the time. But at the end of every year, we tend to put productivity aside for a tradition of a holiday party. Is throwing a company bash a good idea?

On the positive side, an annual gala can be loads of fun. People get together, dress up, enjoy good food and get to relax for an evening. Employees don’t have to open their wallets for a fancy night out. Workers may look forward to the event for weeks or months. Productivity consultants agree that work can be fun. Perhaps that camaraderie will translate into increased productivity later.

Of course, holiday parties have drawbacks. If you want to increase productivity, it’s certainly not going to happen at the party itself. In fact, employee efficiency will probably drop before the event as people devote time to planning and preparation. According to one Indianapolis Human Resources firm, holiday affairs can also represent serious liabilities. Alcohol, toasts, risqué comments and gifts can lead to harassment. Having a good time comes with some risks.

So what is best for the company? A holiday party or no holiday party? Here’s an idea worth considering: what do the stakeholders think?

According to one study, people don’t care for holiday parties:

Nearly 70 per cent of workers polled said their offices throw Christmas parties.

When asked which they’d prefer, almost 72 per cent of employees interviewed by Workopolis indicated they’d rather receive the cash.

consulting on office parties

© Flickr user Silly Jilly

That data is not unique. Another analysis puts the number of people who’d rather skip the bash and get a bonus at a whopping 90%. One survey even showed that 37% people would rather have daily gourmet coffee or tea instead of the big event!

In summary, we’re not going to tell you that a yearly shindig is always a good idea or always a bad idea. Instead, you should do something which has more power to increase productivity and satisfaction than anything else: Ask your employees. Send out an anonymous survey. Do a quick poll. Distribute this blog post. Start a discussion.

Great organizations aren’t the ones that throw the best parties. They are the ones that truly engage their people. Try reaching out to yours. You might be surprised at what they have to say.

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