Ho, oh - no? Employees divided on office holiday parties

How are you planning on celebrating the holidays this year?

Ho, oh - no? Employees divided on office holiday parties

It’s been one hell of a year. From pandemics to lockdowns to rising mental health concerns – we’ve earned the right to let our hair down and have some fun. However, as the festive season approaches, HR leaders are divided over whether or not to have a holiday party.

Recent research from Robert Half found that a lot of workers are ready to skip the virtual celebrations – with 43% claiming they want an in-person party and 40% saying they’d rather have the time given off. What’s more, nine percent would like HR leaders to help them organize a charity event and just eight percent actually want a virtual get-together.

So, what should HR leaders do to please all their teams and round off 2021 in style?

“Employers who’re considering hosting an in-person gathering or holiday celebration this year need to take public health guidelines into account; attendee wellbeing should be the number one priority for any organization,” Deborah Bottineau, district director, Robert Half Canada, told HRD. “Whether events will be in-person or virtual, it’s important for managers to ask their staff for input into how they would like to celebrate, including encouraging interested employees to take part in planning and promoting the festivities. Year-end celebrations also provide an excellent opportunity for managers to recognize the hard work of their teams by incorporating employee recognition into whatever is being organized.”

HR leaders should consider other options – not just jump to a virtual celebration. As the research found, only a small minority of employees actually want a virtual party. Instead, consider organizing a charity event – or show your gratitude through personalisation and individual rewards.

“For managers looking at alternative ways to show holiday cheer and recognize their employees, personal gestures, such as handwritten thank-you notes, are a thoughtful way to show appreciation for their hard work,” added Bottineau. “Employers can also consider giving their teams more opportunities to unplug by offering extra time off or shortened workdays during the holidays. In addition, gestures like reallocating the money that would have been spent on a party to holiday bonuses or a meaningful corporate donation can go a long way to boosting employee satisfaction, engagement and loyalty at the end of what has likely been a long year.”

How are you celebrating the holidays in your office this year? Tell us in the comments.

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