So to clarify, we're not talking boss with the lampshade on his head kind of party. We're talking the all-out bash that everyone talks about for years to come - only to be topped by next year's extravaganza.
Now that that's out of the way...
When the recession hit in 2008, companies of all shapes and sizes were hit hard which meant a lot of things that didn't directly contribute to their bottom line were seen as expendable - this included that event of the year. The company holiday party. Companies like Google, Marc Jacobs, and others simply couldn't justify the expense or even the optics of (what's seen as) frivolous spending. Over the last decade, companies have had time to rebuild and emerge from the rubble. In the last couple of years, we have seen a resurgence of the Company Holiday Party and the big guys seeing the value in staff events that connect and show their appreciation for their employees - really, how much they are valued.
So is this the year? Is this the year you bring it back? Or do it up bigger than ever? Whether you're an experienced planner or on the social committee, we've got some inside tips for every budget that will make it a night to remember and keep everyone talking (and not just about Chad and Karen in the supply closet).
But first, why?
Because it's fun is totally a legit answer but it's not the whole answer. Whether it's to celebrate employee achievements, team-building, or to simply increase employee morale, there is always a goal you are trying to accomplish. This goal will essentially guide your whole planning process and keep you on budget by axing elements that don't contribute to it. You probably don't need that bouncy castle (or maybe you do?).
Get the Party Started with Unique Spins on Classic Entertainment.
One of my favourites is a DJ combined with a sax player or other solo musician. These unique combinations add extra intrigue and excitement for your guests and are totally Instagram worthy. This gives them something familiar that they may not have seen before.
Alcohol is often a factor, a social lubricant of sorts - but you want to add an aspect of control by restricting the bar to beer and wine? Raise the bar (literally) with aerial wine pouring. These seemingly weightless performers are both practical and entertaining and definitely leave a lasting impression.
Food with Thought.
It's always great to start with a theme. If your event has a theme that isn't dedicated to a specific cuisine it can be a great way to bring in a very diverse menu that is still cohesive and can please your diverse attendees. For example, decade parties lend well to this. Also, consider your service style. Maybe this year you move away from the rubber chicken dinner. Food stations are a great way to mix it up and bring in the diversity. Maybe an oyster station for the more adventurous? A burger bar for the more traditional? A poke or sushi station for versatility (can be vegetarian as well)? When it comes to food your options are limitless and a great caterer will be able to design a menu that is as unique as your guests are.
Light it up!
Set the tone with an exciting light show with cold spark pyrotechnics (fire safe) to start things off. People want to be wowed. they want to feel a part of something special. And above all, they want an experience from work that they'll tell their friends and family about that is actually positive. A cool light show that highlights your brand and celebrates the arrival of your employees can accomplish all three.
See what I mean?
Timing is everything.
Remember, this is your opportunity to get people out of the office to enjoy themselves and to get to know each other in a different setting. Set the start time that gives them the opportunity to get out of the office a little early on a Friday. You may have a lower turn out if you try to take up to much of their "me" time and have it on a Saturday and perhaps if you have it on a weekend and you'll end up with a lot of hangover nursing if you go for a weekday.
Safety Tip: If you are serving alcohol, stay safe and provide taxi chits :)