One day each December, employees at the Phoenix, Ariz.-based Professional Health Care Network take a few hours out of their workday to celebrate the holiday.
It’s a fun, casual affair where employees are given a chance to unwind, enjoy each other’s company and receive holiday party gifts.
“We sit in round tables with five to six people and we do an activity,” said Billing Specialist Gladys Ramirez, describing the annual tradition. “Normally we build a ginger bread house and then the managers vote on it and the winners receive a gift card. They give us thanks (for our hard work) and then we get food.”
It turns out, Ramirez and her colleagues are in good company. According to a 4imprint survey about business holiday parties, nearly 77 percent of respondents say their company will host a casual or business casual party in 2018, rather than a more formal affair. In fact, the percentage of large companies hosting a business-casual holiday event jumped 41 percent from 2015 to 2018.
More celebrations, less formality
According to the survey, more employees in 2018 will ring in the holidays with coworkers. But those parties are becoming less formal. In 2015, more than 38 percent of employee holiday parties featured either black tie or formal wear—a number that has dropped significantly in 2018. The biggest shift in this area comes from large companies. In 2015, 12.5 percent of respondents from large companies were planning a black-tie event. This year, none of the respondents planned such a formal affair.
This shift might be related to party location. More than 37 percent of parties are now being held onsite—as opposed to 19 percent in 2015.
Invitation lists get a trim
Business holiday party planners also are making another shift. This time, to the invitation list. Nearly 50 percent of holiday party invitations will go only to employees, up from 38 percent in 2015. Family gatherings are the least common type of party, with only 6 percent of parties including family members.
With an employee-only focus on holiday parties, some organizations like the nonprofit MCAS Beaufort Military Spouses’ Club are also choosing to give back to the community.
“Every year around the holidays we host a senior citizen’s tea,” said Lauren Williams, president of the South Carolina-based organization. “It’s a completely free afternoon of entertainment, with lunch and tea at the officer’s club on base. Last year we had dancers, and a variety of local businesses donate things for the event every year.”
While all senior citizens who wish to attend are welcome, the majority of them are former military members, specifically Marines.
“A lot of them are coming from senior facilities in the area—and it’s their one night out for the year,” Williams said. “They come onto base and get dressed up.”
MCAS isn’t the only group at the base to donate their time, though. Some of the Marines also donate their Saturday to play a very special role. Each woman who attends is escorted by a Marine in uniform. “It just transforms their demeanor,” Williams said.
In addition to an afternoon out and donations from local businesses, MCAS also delighted partygoers with special holiday party giveaways. Each attendee received a logoed ornament.
Holiday party gifts a win for all
From décor to employee apparel to holiday party giveaways, promotional products also are becoming more popular at holiday gatherings, with nearly 55 percent of respondents including promotional products in their holiday celebrations.
“The gifts with the company logo are normally a big hit because we personalize it a bit,” Ramirez said.
“We add name tags, and one year they bought tree ornaments and attached (the name tags),” Ramirez said. “Another year, they bought Santa-pants baskets and put a tumbler and candy in them. That is actually how we find our seats, based on where our names are.”Healthy holiday gifts last throughout the year!
Survey results revealed that companies throwing a holiday party frequently give holiday party gifts, with almost 60 percent offering non-monetary gifts, roughly 39 percent giving monetary gifts, and almost 27 percent giving performance bonuses.
Even among companies not throwing a holiday party, half will offer monetary or non-monetary gifts to their employees.
Goodwill that lasts throughout the year
While the holiday gathering and holiday party gift-giving happens between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day almost 90 percent of the time, the good will lasts all year long. “As early as August, I get phone calls asking when next year’s party is,” Williams added.
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