There are plenty of great reasons to throw a party for your company or small business. Company parties build morale, encourage connections between employees, and offer a welcome break from the daily work routine. It gives employees something to look forward to, shows your gratitude, and creates a sense of success and prosperity.
A business that throws a party for its employees inspires confidence and gets employees invested in the company’s future. But how do you create a party you know your employees will love to attend?
Pick the right time
You’ll want to schedule your party well ahead of time — but not all times of year (or even day) are created equal. While many companies like to throw a year-end bash or Christmas party to coincide with the holidays, that might not be the best time. The holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year’s can be stressful and exhausting, and the thought of another social obligation may not appeal to everyone. Instead, consider throwing a party after the new year, when employees have had a chance to recover. A January bash can energise your workforce and set a great tone for the upcoming year.
Also, if you’re throwing a party just for employees (and not spouses or partners), consider throwing a daytime party instead of an evening event. Employees will enjoy having a day or afternoon off with pay (instead of possibly attending after a workday), and they’ll appreciate not having to arrange for child care.
Choose a great venue
Sure, the break room might be the cheapest place to have a party, but chances are it won’t create a memorable event. If the budget allows, throw your party at a nice hotel, lounge, or restaurant. Maybe find a novel venue like a local brewery. Serve up a buffet or tapas-style appetisers to help keep everyone happy, and hold an open bar to show off your generosity and gratitude.
If possible, arrange transportation — ridesharing, carpooling, or even chartering a bus. Any step you can take to make attendance easier will pay off with your employees. Hire some entertainment, like a DJ or live performance. For a truly memorable event, hire a photographer, hold a raffle, and give away small goodie bags to everyone who attends. You can take even hire a professional organiser or party planner to package the entire event for you.
But a party doesn’t have to break the bank! If budget is a major concern, you could always change the venue to your home. This will add a much more personal touch to the party, and create a sense of connection and trust with employees. Instead of a live DJ, ask an employee to create a killer Spotify or iTunes playlist. Instead of restaurant food, arrange a potluck.
To really make your party successful, you should foster a sense of anticipation and excitement. Schedule and announce a date, time and venue as soon as practical — but that’s just the beginning.
If you’re celebrating a major milestone or accomplishment, take steps to elevate your party above the everyday casual event or office get-together. A themed event, lakeside picnic, or nightclub outing will be far more memorable and exciting. Create flyers, banners, or distribute personal items that send a message: this is not your ordinary company bash.
One great way to help create excitement is to put together a team to help you plan the event. These should be employees who are already invested and passionate about creating a positive experience for the employees. Set clear-cut goals and responsibilities for the team. This will not only take the load off your shoulders, but get the employees themselves working toward the party’s success.
A critical part of hosting a successful event is accepting that mistakes will happen. Unexpected circumstances will arise. Obstacles will be thrown in your path. Not everything will go according to plan, no matter how carefully you planned. The key is to maintain a positive attitude and not let a setback or problem ruin the event for everyone. Be flexible, take problems as a challenge to be met, and focus on creating a positive, memorable experience.
Show your gratitude
Company parties are great for office morale and bonding, but they’re also a great way for you to say thank you to your employees. A thank-you speech can be a satisfying and inspiring way to top off a party.
But if you really want to make your event a next-level success, consider adding a personal touch. Give your employees hand-written notes telling them how much they mean to the team. If possible, add a gift card, some paid time off, or other small favour to the note.
Throwing a company party can be challenging. It pays to both plan carefully and be flexible. But with some hard work and forethought, you can put together an event that will leave your employees happy, motivated, and eager for the next year’s event.