The holiday season yields plenty of opportunities to spread cheer, merriment and show gratitude to those that play significant roles in your life – including your employees. One of the most appreciated ways to express this is by giving the green light to let loose and socialize. We’re talking, of course, about hosting a company holiday party. Everyone can let their hair down, put work aside, and get to know each other on a more interpersonal level.

Regrettably, many corporate employees dread their annual holiday party because, well, they simply aren’t fun. Perhaps people feel as if they’re walking on eggshells, or maybe the environment doesn’t feel like a place where people can truly let their guard down around their superiors. Here are some helpful tips to help you throw a successful holiday party that your staff will look forward to each year.

Read, ‘How to Retain Top Talent: 4 Helpful Tips’ for more insight on boosting employee morale.

How to Throw a Company Holiday Party

1. Your party is a gift to the staff

Employees should NEVER have to pay to attend a company holiday party or any company-sponsored event. This is the company’s time to thank and reward employees for their hard work throughout the year.

2. Invest in good food and drink

Every party is focused on food and drink. Reach out to local caterers and ask them to send a catering menu. Be sure to do your homework and read reviews before picking the caterer. Be mindful of any dietary restrictions of employees and their guests; provide gluten-free and vegetarian options.

3. If alcohol is served, provide alternatives and arrange for safe transportation

Everyone wants to have a good time, but nobody wants to watch an employee get wasted. A way to limit alcohol intake is to provide employees with a set amount of drink tickets for the night. On the other hand, chances are you have employees that don’t drink, so be sure to provide non-alcohol alternatives. If alcohol is served, arrange for taxis or other modes of transportation for employees to get home safely.

4. Create an inviting atmosphere

Allow employees to separate work and fun. Rent a space off-site and hire a band or rent casino games to create a fun atmosphere. If you cannot rent space off-site, decorate the existing space to create a warm vibe for the party. You can still create an atmosphere that feels like you are not at work and bring in a band or DJ for entertainment! If the budget is tight, rent a speaker and play music from a phone.

5. Make attendance voluntary and on company time

Make attendance voluntary and don’t begrudge employees for not wanting to come. Additionally, make sure you host it toward the end of a workday, so employees don’t have to give up their weekend time or call babysitters in order to participate.

6. Ask for feedback and ideas from what your employees actually WANT

After the party, conduct a brief survey to gain feedback and future ideas from employees. After all, the party is for your employees. Be sure to have open-ended questions on the survey so that employees can leave names of future caterers and entertainment options.

The company holiday party is all about showing gratitude for employees, so make it about them. There’s no need for longwinded speeches from management or executives. Just put on the music, put out the food, and let people relax!

Interested in more about holiday parties? Check out these blogs:

To learn more about restaurant employee-related topics check out our HR blog series for your business and employees. For questions on restaurant insurance coverage available to you, contact a Society agent near you.