Holiday Party, No Holiday Party. What is Your Vote?

Emily Bryson York, reporter for the Chicago Tribune, covers the topic of holiday party plans in a recent edition.  Front and center is a survey result where 68% of companies plan to have a holiday party which, while up slightly over 2009 and 2010, is significantly down versus the 90% that held holiday parties in 2007 (SOURCE: Challenger, Gray and Christmas Inc. survey of 100 human resource professionals).  For small businesses, the decision to host a holiday party may not be as touchy given that the expense is not one that will likely break the bank.  However, the question is worth thinking about.  What’s your point-of-view?

Clearly, the economy has caused businesses to rethink the expense of holiday parties.  As Ms. Bryson York writes, “Just like the millions of American households that have felt the economic pinch, companies have adjusted their holiday plans, opting for simpler, smaller celebrations.”  Or, none at all.  Are holiday parties a waste of money?  Arguably, in some cases, they are not.  Consider those industries where client relationships are part of their bread and butter, like PR firms or organizations focused on the hospitality industry.  Holiday functions are a natural event to solidify and to drum-up new business.

Small businesses might be wise to consider the following questions: 1) does the party include spouses and partners to reflect its gratitude to all who are impacted by the job, 2) would employees rather have the cost of the party dropped into their paychecks and spend the extra time with their families, and 3) is holding the party consistent with your business’ other approaches to purchasing, eg. is the expense reviewed carefully to control costs?  We at HRInsights want to know, is there a right answer?  Tell us.

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