RIEVA LESONSKY (Rieva Lesonsky)
The holidays are upon us, and I’m sure many of you already planned your company’s holiday party. But for those of you (like me) who haven’t, there’s no more time to waste. (I do hope you’re having a party considering all that you and your employees have been through in the past few years of economic ups and downs—you all deserve to celebrate.) But of course, you’ve got to be realistic. Fortunately, it is possible to get festive without breaking the bank. Here are seven ideas to get you started.
1. Do it in the daytime. Inviting employees’ spouses or significant others can double the cost of your party. Instead, hold a daytime party for employees only. Have lunch at a nice restaurant or hotel and give your staff the rest of the afternoon off (with pay) to get some holiday shopping done. Employees will appreciate the time off, as well as the fact that they won’t have to drive long distances or find a babysitter.
2. Don’t be boring. Make sure the event itself features lots of fun, interactive events to build team spirit. You can have a gift exchange, hand out year-end awards, hold a costume contest or play karaoke—whatever fits your business’s vibe.
3. Get personal. Depending on the size of your staff (and your house), and how close you all are as a team, consider holding the party at your home. You’ll save on the cost of a more costly restaurant meal, and employees will love the personal touch of being invited to your home. You can really cut costs, and make it a potluck. (Consider carefully if you want your staff to see how and where you live.)
4. Make it meaningful. In today’s economy, everyone is aware that many people are in need. Consider volunteering with your team at a local charity in addition to (or instead of) a party.
5. Barter. If you know other businesses that provide party-related services such as a local restaurant, event planner or deejay business, see if you can trade products or services with them instead of paying cash for your party. You can also barter with local retailers or restaurants in exchange for gift cards for your employees.
6. Think outside the box. Your holiday party doesn’t have to be in November or December. Hold your event in January, and you’ll likely pay less for room rentals, deejays, catering, etc. Employees with packed schedules in December will appreciate it, too.
7. Say thank you. In addition to the party itself, make sure each staff member receives some type of personal thank-you from you. Depending on your budget, that could be paid time off, a gift card or cash, or simply a thoughtful handwritten note about why you value them as part of your team.