For many employees, the Christmas party is a key date on the corporate calendar. It is a time to celebrate the festive season with colleagues in a fun setting and let your hair down. For the business, it’s a chance to wave goodbye to a productive year and reward staff for all their hard work.
For CEOs in a new role who find themselves organising their first festive event, the pressure however, might be on to plan the party well. Not only do they need to organise an enjoyable get together, they need to ensure that they get the balance right when attending as the CEO in a relaxed setting. Ideally, the best corporate party is a win-win for you, your staff and the company. This article has the following tips to help you strike the perfect balance.
As this is your first year hosting the company’s Christmas party, it’s an important event that you might want to stamp your personality on. The event is a fantastic opportunity for you to begin shaping the company culture you want, so choose a theme that reflects who you are and how you want to present yourself to the company. Your new employees will be meeting the real you and even eating, drinking (and dancing!) with the person behind the professional!
When it comes to choosing the theme, setting a budget, catering and picking a venue, be sure to engage in the early planning stages and be clear about what you want from the party. This can be done by choosing specific Christmas entertainment, food and music that aligns with your personal and professional opinions, but make sure you arrange an inclusive event for everyone.
To help ensure your first seasonal social is a success, there are some practicalities to consider whether you want to host it in the office or hire a venue. Once you have picked the setting, consider contingency plans like hiring a corporate marquee if it requires an outside area that needs to withstand the elements.
You’ll then need to decide the date and preferably pick one that fits into most people’s working week and schedule. For today’s remote-working patterns, a mid-week evening might work well. Although some of the time-consuming but finer details might not fall to you, it’s a good idea to delegate someone to send out the party invites for at least four weeks. In addition, they might want to email and circulate reminders perhaps one week and, again, one day before the event to boost attendance. By starting these preparations early and delegating tasks, you’ll demonstrate that you want colleagues to attend and that the party is important to you.
It is crucial that you organise a budget ahead of arranging your party and stick to it. Last year, 36% of businesses decided to cut back on party expenditure due to the cost-of-living pressures, high inflation and rising energy prices. In your role as CEO, you want to ensure that your budget is realistic and responsible, rather than spending too little or going over the top.
As this is your first one, the temptation might be to ‘push the boat out’ and spend more than you should to win the popularity stakes, but this is a bad move. Instead, research the expected costs for food, drinks, entertainment and decorations and approve the major expenses early on. You’ll also want to make sure your budget fits the numbers on your guest list. If you want to go all out with the festive decor and make your corporate party as Christmassy as possible, opt for low-cost lights, poinsettias, snow and fake trees for seasonal fun. Consider investing in small presents to thank staff for their hard work.
Hosting your first Christmas party as a CEO can benefit you and your business. It is a great morale booster, and shows how much you value staff. In turn, your employees appreciate the company investing time and resources in the event, especially if other companies are cutting back.
Organising corporate events allows teams to celebrate targets met and shared goals which cement a sense of accomplishment and motivate employees going forward. Socials can help foster a healthy company culture that you’re aiming for as an onboarding CEO. In fact, as the new face at the top, it’s more important than ever to have gatherings away from the workplace, and the fact you’re having a party says a lot about you as the incoming person in charge.
Hosting a party also strengthens intra-office relationships. It enables colleagues from different departments or levels who don’t normally interact during work to mingle and connect. In a relaxed setting, colleagues can gain an insight into you as the new CEO as well as each other, building a greater and united front for the business and boosting future healthy collaboration. Dedicating your time, energy and investing in a celebration also shows staff they are valued, fostering a positive culture.
As a CEO, this festive event is a great chance to meet staff you haven’t met and you’ll want to make a good impression. It’s important to lead by example and this applies to social events just as much as to serious meetings. So from the start, greet your staff in a friendly manner and circulate as much as possible.
If you’re giving a speech make it heartfelt and if you’re presenting any gifts or awards, take the time to congratulate and praise your employees by name. Most importantly, as well as bringing employees together, your annual Christmas party is an occasion for you to show your human side. So, let your true personality come out and balance your toasts and speeches thanking staff with the right level of sincerity and humour. Thank staff for their efforts this past year and share your enthusiasm for achieving more together. It’s also a good idea to attend the whole event and to try and mingle with everyone. Remember, at all costs, to avoid the dreaded pitfalls of a festive party!
Hosting a Christmas party delivers many benefits for a business and its leadership. It’s a chance to boost employee morale, strengthen work relationships, motivate staff and show appreciation for their efforts. Employees who feel valued through celebratory events like this are more loyal, engaged and productive.
For CEOs and leaders hosting their first party in a new role, it’s an opportunity to connect with employees on a more personal level. By attending the full event, giving a great speech and highlighting the success of individuals and the company as a whole, you’ll make your event a memorable one.