It’s holiday season again. And your boss just handed you the responsibility of the holiday party. Where to start?
Below are a few simple tips on how to pull off the perfect corporate event.
- Set budget and stick to it. This may be determined for you, or your boss may want a prospective outline.
- Set expectations. Is this going to be a fancy affair or a simple after work get together?
- Assess your corporate culture. I have worked in companies that have had a corporate culture where employees would maybe want one or two glasses of wine tops, and only on special occasions, and I have also worked in an organization that it was common place for coworkers to meet after work and casually have a few beers. Likewise, if your office is pretty casual, a sit down, black tie affair probably isn’t going to mesh with your day to day. When deciding where to have the get together, it is important to choose a location that reflects your organization. Which brings me to my next point…
- Location, location, location. Although it is tempting to have your corporate party in your office (hey it is free!), let me assuage you to not. Here’s why: most employees are not going to let loose and enjoy themselves in the same location where their spreadsheets are waiting for them the following Monday. No one wants to feel on edge and not enjoy themselves (which is easy to feel in a professional setting) at this event that you are putting money into to specifically celebrate your employees outside of a professional situation. Like it or not, your location sets the scene for the night, so choosing a place that reflects the corporate culture of your organization is paramount. When you go to view venues, make sure to discuss price, how long you can use the space, and what kind of cleanup is provided or needed.
- Plan early. This allows you to invite and accommodate as many employees as possible. You cannot have an event with the goal of fostering a bonding event between your employees and coworkers if no one shows up. It is important to set a date early, and put out occasional reminders.
- Delegate responsibilities to your team early. If you are getting help planning this event, make sure responsibilities, instructions and your agenda is clear. The quickest way to sink an event is to have loose ends. That being said, as long as the important things are in place (think food, drinks, music), most things will go unnoticed.
- Shop around and taste some options. Your food should be economical, respectful of your budget, and should be befitting of your event. Will it be a buffet, a plated affair, or simple hor d’oeuvres?
- Talking Points. Will you have a speaker? Most corporate events will. Usually it may be as simple as the boss getting up and saying a few words, or a special keynote. If you plan on having a speaker and your event is going to be somewhat large, you will need A/V equipment, so it is important to set that up with your venue, or plan an alternate way to get a mic there. Many venues will provide A/V equipment if asked, so discuss that when you are initially scouting for locations.
- Music sets the tone. Will you be hiring a band, simply putting on an ipod as background music, or getting a DJ?
- RSVPs are a must. It is pretty difficult to purchase enough food and beverages if you don’t have an idea of the number of employees that intend to show up. Along these lines, consider name tags or badges, it will remove some of the awkwardness of not knowing the name of a person you have been working with for a while.
- Consider Giveaways. Although it may seem frivolous, setting aside a bit of your budget for a giveaway isn’t a bad idea. It bolsters attendance, create excitement, and give guests something to look forward to.
- Thank your guests. Make a point to thank them for coming to your event, at the event, as well as after. Pro tip, some (often free) online RSVP services will thank your guests for you.
Finally, enjoy yourself. You have just taken a major undertaking and pulled it off without a hitch.