Because the economy has forced them
to cut benefits and freeze salaries, many
organizations are struggling with low
employee motivation. While there are
many solutions, however — rewarding
employees with recognition awards, for
instance, or giving them perks like long
lunches and flexible schedules — perhaps the easiest fix during the holiday
season is this: Throw a party.
According to a 2009 survey by HR con-sultancy Watson Wyatt — now Towers
Watson — only 37 percent of large U.S.
employers planned to organize a holiday
party last year, compared with 47 percent
in 2008 and 70 percent in 2007. It’s easy
to see why: In the throes of the recession,
organizations that had to make layoffs
were in no position — and no mood —
This year, however, after nearly two
years of doing more work with fewer
resources, organizations can’t afford not
to celebrate, as holiday parties can help
increase morale, strengthen teamwork
and boost retention by showing workers that they’re valued and appreciated.
When they’re positioned as a celebration
of the year’s achievements, they also can
reinforce successful work behaviors.
Luckily, although the return on holiday parties can be great, the investment
doesn’t have to be, according to Jeana
Drish, director of catering and convention services for the Doubletree Chicago
Magnificent Mile, who offers these tips
for planning a frugal yet fruitful holiday
1. Schedule strategically. One way to
cut back is to choose lunchtime or
mid-afternoon to celebrate. Because
weekend evenings book up easily,
lunches and late afternoon cocktail
parties are more cost effective, giving
organizations more room to negoti-
ate rates with venues and caterers.
For the same reason, those opting
for a January event also save.
The Gift of
Every year without fail there’s a hot new
holiday toy on retailers’ shelves. In 1983
it was Cabbage Patch Kids. In 1996 it
was Tickle Me Elmo. In 1998 it was Furby
and in 2006 it was the Nintendo Wii.
Whatever it is this year — Bananagrams,
Zhu Zhu Pets or Silly Bandz — kids and
parents alike are sure to clamor in droves
Of course, adults have their own must-