Holiday parties make 'cents'

In an uncertain economy, is the holiday office party worth the price tag? A new survey by The Creative Group shows a majority (59 per cent) of advertising and marketing executives believe the annual corporate shindig is a good investment. About one-quarter (26 per cent) of respondents disagreed, and 14 per cent said their firms don't have holiday celebrations. For firms that will be decking the office halls, the biggest draw is being able to mingle with coworkers, according to 64 per cent of those interviewed.

The Canadian study was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service providing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on more than 250 telephone interviews – approximately 200 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 50 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.

Advertising and marketing executives were asked, "In your opinion, do you think your year-end office holiday party is worth the money your agency/firm invests in it?" Some 59 per cent responded “Yes”, while 26 per cent disagreed and 14 per cent noted their companies did not hold holiday parties.

What were the most common reasons they felt employees attend an organization’s  year-end holiday party? Top reasons included :

  1. 64 per cent said to socialize with colleagues;
  2. 17 per cent felt it was for the free food and entertainment;
  3. 10 per cent want to network with higher-ups; and
  4. 7 per cent felt it was due to a sense of obligation.

"Hosting a year-end party is a great way for employers to thank their staff for their hard work and provide them time to bond with colleagues," says Lara Dodo, regional vice president of The Creative Group. "With a little creative thinking and input from employees, companies can organise a successful holiday gathering that builds team morale and camaraderie."

5 Tips to Plan Your Holiday Bash

The Creative Group offers five tips for hosting a successful holiday bash on any budget:

1.  Ask for input. Invite your team to suggest a theme or location for the event. After all, they have the best handle on the types of activities and venues they'll enjoy most.

2.  Time it right. Weekends in December book up fast for employees and location sites might not have availability. Consider scheduling the event in late November or on a weekday during or immediately after work hours; and give staff plenty of notice so they can "save the date."

3.  Build party buzz. Generate excitement by sending out periodic e-mails or including mentions of the upcoming soiree in your company's internal newsletter. Encourage interested employees to help promote the event and plan the décor.

4.  Play games. Don't be afraid to break out board games or stage a Guitar Hero contest during the party. These types of activities are a great way to encourage interaction among staff, spark some friendly competition and even elicit a few laughs.

5.  Express your appreciation. Reserve a few minutes during the event to verbally thank employees for their hard work and loyalty throughout the year. While you don't want to engage in too much "shop talk," you should let your team know how valuable they are to you.

The Creative Group specializes in placing a range of highly skilled creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals with a variety of firms on a project and full-time basis. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group's award-winning career magazine, can be found at