Retention & Engagement

3 tips to designing a holiday party that your employees will love

Employees Celebrating

Each year, as the holidays approach, executives across the country find themselves scratching their heads about how to host a holiday party that will engage and reward their employees. If your company’s holiday party didn’t quite hit the nail on the head this year, start thinking about how you can revamp the process for your next company holiday gathering.

At Sandstorm, we hold a holiday party that totally suits our company culture. In doing so, we discovered certain aspects that make our annual celebration particularly successful. Here are three tips to help you pull off the ultimate holiday party next year!

1. Everyone Loves a Tradition

Honoring holiday traditions is one of the reasons this time of year feels so special. Make your company holiday party a tradition by repeating the same awesome event year after year. For example, we host our holiday party on the same day of the week (more on that later) at the same restaurant every year. This regularity makes it easy for employees to plan to attend months in advance AND cuts down on the planning (aka unnecessary decisions) you need to put in every year.

2. Make Sunday your Fun Day

We found early on that people’s calendars get very full around the holidays, especially Fridays and Saturdays. Luckily, there is one night of the week that people don’t usually schedule events…Sunday. So, in order to make the party work for everyone’s schedule, we put ours on a Sunday every year. In addition, we make the following Monday Pajama Day – employees are not expected in the office until 1 pm and wear their pjs and slippers to work. It may sound crazy, but after a late night out (there is an after party after the party) the idea came up and voila! – that too became one of our traditions. It is one of our employees’ favorite days of the year now.

3. A Game They’ll Be Talking About All Year Long

The Sandstorm holiday party has assumed an almost mythic quality around the office thanks to our annual game of Dirty Santa. This is a gift-exchanging game (the “Santa” part) that allows Sandstormers to “steal” gifts from each other (the “Dirty” part). It is a great way to create a shared memory among your people. The stories that come from this game are often retold around the office for months, and they are one of the first things we reminiscence about when it comes time for our next holiday party. Get the full rules to Dirty Santa here.

These are three ways we have been able to use our holiday party to enrich our company culture. After all, when one of your three core values is “Have Fun” – you tend to take your party planning duties very seriously!

Does your company have yearly traditions employees look forward to? Leave them in a comment below to share.

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Avatar About the Author: Sandy Marsico

Sandy is the CEO of Sandstorm Design®, a Chicago-based digital experience agency that is highly collaborative, analytical, and nimble in our approach to user experience design (UX), digital marketing, and Drupal web development. With 1500…

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