The Office Christmas Party: The Dickens Way
IN Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, he introduces Mr. Fezziwig, a character whose kindness, generosity and affection for his employees contrasts with Ebenezer’s Scrooge’s attitude towards business and personal ethics.
In the book, Fezziwig had an annual ball around Christmas where he gave his employees a platform where they could let their hair down. It was his way of thanking them for their hard work over the year.
Almost two centuries after the book was first written, the Christmas party has become a permanent fixture across the world, from Africa to Asia to the Americas and beyond, with many companies irrespective of size getting involved in the festivities. Unfortunately, there are varying definitions about just what a party should entail.
“Yeah, our Christmas party holds on the last Friday before Christmas in whatever conference room happens to be free. They order in pizzas and drinks and that’s it. No one wants to attend but it’s mandatory so people generally spend half an hour and leave.” This was the story a client told me about her office Christmas party!
There are lots of reasons to scale-back on the office Christmas party – from poor financial performance to oil prices to currency devaluations and stock exchange slumps. Having said this, this short-sighted approach will cost you more in the long run, because by scaling back you ignore the single most important reason to have the Christmas party to end all Christmas parties- Employee engagement.
When people ask me what employee engagement means I always say: “It’s an employee’s decision to apply his discretionary effort to the company’s goals, to accept those goals as his/her own and wholeheartedly commit to achieving them.” The key word in this definition is “discretionary” For only when an employee feels valued and engaged do they go above and beyond the transactional paycheck = 8 hour attitude of a typical employer/employee relationship.
Employee engagement has never been as important as it is now and Christmas parties are an important way to help improve employee engagement. A truly engaged staff force is a loyal, productive, innovative staff force.
Now imagine the Christmas party scenario I gave at the start, only this time staff are so excited because they know their company has invested in a memorable party that the ladies go out and buy new outfits, the men rent tuxes and everyone leaves work a little early because they want to get dolled up for their night. I know it sounds like I am describing the prom- but a good Christmas party should be as memorable as the prom- and what’s more you’ll still be raking in engagement dividends well into the new year.
If you are looking for an experience, something different, and are trying to save costs this year, a shared office party might just be the answer. It removes the burden of responsibility of organising an end of year event, takes away the pressure of trying to find a new theme year on year that fits into your organisational culture and is a great way to network and meet new clients and still remain within the confines of your own party.
Afterall, Christmas is the season of goodwill and is a key milestone in every organisation regardless of religion or beliefs and with the feeling of giving maximised at this time of the year, it is important that you select the right product to reward your employees this Christmas for a job well done. This is why we created the The Unofficial Christmas party, a shared end of year celebration for all corporate organizations that will give business owners a platform to reward their staff with a high production value Christmas party without the hassle and expense of going it alone and with considerably more glamour and style that most companies can manage on their own.
• Victor-Okigbo is Executive Producer, The Unofficial Christmas Party (TUCP).